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Lawmaker says Zim produced 37 mln carats worth $4bln this year

27 november 2012

A Zimbabwean lawmaker from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for democratic Change party (MDC-T) said the country produced 37 million carats this year from Marange diamond fields.
Member of Parliament Eddie Cross told a conference in Harare that the diamonds attracted an average price of $95 a carat, which translates to about $4 billion.
“These estimates are supported by information gathered on site and the current installed capacity at the five active mining operations on site,” Cross said.
His figures contradicted with official reports, which indicated that fewer carats had been mined from Marange this year.
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa said early this month that companies mining diamonds in Zimbabwe would remit $150 million to the country’s Treasury by the end of the year, a decline from $600 million that the southern African country had initially targeted.
He said the low revenue was a result of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country’s diamond mines by the U.S.
However, Cross said this discrepancy proved that the country was losing billions in undeclared revenues.
He said the diamond fields covered an area of about 80,000 hectares, which geologists estimate to contain 2 to 7 billion carats of raw diamonds.
“On this basis, it is one of the largest discoveries of its kind in the world. It has many other unusual characteristics ... the diamonds, although of generally poor quality, contain many very large stones and these have a distinct colour and character,” said Cross.
“We know of one piece sold for $10,6 million in Vietnam, thought to have emanated from Marange.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire, who is also of the same party with Cross, told Studio 7’s Voice of America that the legislature’s report appeared “too exaggerated.”

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished