Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Call to Value-Add Zim Diamonds

Zimbabwe Diamond Education College has urged organisations dealing with the precious stones to add value to their products before exportation to increase revenue.Speaking at the college's stand at the Harare Agricultural Show yesterday ZDEC's administrative executive Mr Steven Muchenje said diamonds fetch more when they are fully processed. "It is our vision as the first diamond cutting college to impart skills and knowledge to Zimbabweans so that the local diamond industry can rely on local personnel and not foreign assistance.

"The dream to indigenise and create employment cannot be realised unless value-addition knowledge about our natural resources and minerals is imparted to indigenous people," he said. Mr Muchenje reiterated that most Western countries were reluctant to export their expertise to Zimbabwe because their industries and economy were dependent on the supply of raw materials and not processed or finished goods.
ZDEC lecturer Mr Joseph Mutingwendi said the college caters for nine students per class with close supervision from an experienced trainer.
"It is our obligation to provide competitive and entrepreneurship skills to our students in an environment where the lecturer is accessible and flexible to address their challenges.
"We only enrol students that have at least five Ordinary Level passes, but I think in the future we should also adopt an open door policy to enrol students interested in mineral value addition because everyone should benefit from our God-given resources," he said.
ZDEC is at present the only college offering value adding expertise and knowledge for both precious and semi-precious minerals in Zimbabwe. The college offers various training courses such as polishing and cutting (six months), value and grading (3 weeks) and a six-month jewellery course.
ZDEC has state-of-the-art equipment such as lee lapidary, diamond and jewellery machinery used for processing and cutting diamonds and other precious stones.
The Ministry of Education, Arts, Sport and Culture has accredited ZDEC to impart knowledge and know how about value addition of local minerals.
ZDEC's head of cutting and polishing department Mr Nicholas Choto said they entered into an agreement with Lori diamond cutting plant in Armenia to acquire latest technology and expertise about diamond cutting and polishing.

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