Zimbabwe is planning to auction its diamonds in Shanghai and Dubai as alternatives to Antwerp in Belgium, where it says its diamonds were being under-valued, state media reported Friday.
Zimbabwe sold its first diamonds in Antwerp last December after the
European Union lifted years-old sanction placed on the southern African
nation's government mining arm - Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC) in September.
In Antwerp auction, around 300,000 carats of Zimbabwean gems were
sold for around 10.5 million U.S. dollars. Officials lamented the low
revenue as the gems were considered of low quality.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted by state newspaper the
Herald on Friday as saying that government officials are studying the
chances to sell the gems through the Shanghai Diamond Exchange or the
Dubai Diamond Exchange.
"All this is to discover the true value of our diamonds," Chinamasa said.
State news agency New Ziana on Thursday reported that First Element, a
Botswana registered company responsible for Zimbabwe diamond auction in
Belgium, disclosed that the second auction for Zimbabwean gems at
Antwerp will be held from Feb. 12 to Feb. 24 this year.
Zimbabwe is estimated to have produced 11 million carats of diamond
in 2013. The bulk of gems were mined by seven companies operated in the
diamond-rich eastern region of Marange.
Income of raw diamond export has been instrumental to Zimbabwe's
mining sector boom since 2010. The government has urged the industry to
set up diamond cutting and polishing facilities to optimize the revenue
from the precious stones.