At least 400 buyers and 133 companies have attended Zimbabwe’s latest local diamond auction with more expected in future sales, organisers said today.
Johan Erikson, managing director of Botswana diamond marketing firm First Element, organisers of the auction, told delegates attending a two-day diamond conference in Harare that international buyers had responded well to the tender, which closed yesterday.
“We truly believe in the success of the current tender. We shared with the people your diamonds and they loved them. The feedback we got from the tender facility is enormous,” he said.
Erikson, whose company was awarded a two-year contract to market the country’s diamonds after handling Zimbabwe’s first three tenders in Antwerp, Belgium, said holding auctions locally benefited mining companies and downstream industries including airlines and hotels.
He said there was need for the country, which currently has 12 diamond viewing rooms, to build permanent tendering facilities in Harare and for companies to bring in more gems if they run out during an ongoing auction.
“The diamond tendering facility is up to standard and can compare with the best in the world,” he said.
Erikson said his company would transfer skills to locals by the end of its contract to enable them to polish and sell diamonds.
He said the country had potential to fetch more money for its diamonds depending on the footprint which determined the price and called for more exploration work in the Marange area where alluvial stones are reportedly running out.
Recently, Marange Resources and Diamond Mining Company held local auctions where 25 valuators from 12 companies participated.
Zimbabwe has so far conducted four diamond auctions outside the country; three at the Belgium based Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and one in Dubai, earning over $110 million.
But the country is still battling to recover $45 million in diamond revenue which was seized in Belgium after the last tender in September when the European country allowed South African firm, Amari Platinum Holdings, to recover part of a $500 million debt owed by state owned miner, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). – The Source