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AWDC applauds Zim for conducting local auction, adopting Antwerp tender system

11 november 2014
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) said the Zimbabwean government’s initiative to start organizing local diamond auctions is a positive step towards the building of a strong and robust future of the country’s local diamond industry.
AWDC chief executive Ari Epstein told a diamond conference in Harare, Zimbabwe that this development would also benefit the international diamond industry.
He said the current global demand for Zimbabwean goods was very significant and the past rough diamond tenders in Antwerp and Harare had demonstrated this as the case.
"Prices fetched at the tender are truly indicative of the successes resulting in the highest revenues for Zimbabwean goods," said Epstein.
Zimbabwe and AWDC had previously clashed over the diamond prices recorded at the second Antwerp auction held last February.
Zimbabwe said the tender attracted an average price of $72 per carat compared to $76 per carat recorded in Dubai thereafter.
However, the AWDC boss told Rough & Polished at the time that the February auction attracted an average price of about $80 per carat.
He said despite the ‘superior’ Antwerp prices not all the goods sold were optimally cleaned and sorted.
Zimbabwe’s mines minister Walter Chidhakwa – reacting to the AWDC boss’ comments – insisted that the figures his ministry gave were accurate.
“I really do not know what he (Epstein) is talking about. We still stand by the report that we issued after the auction that the diamonds were sold at $72 per carat,” he told the weekly Sunday Mail.
“What we know is that they (Antwerp) want to prove that they are better than Dubai. They should do so in a better way.”
Meanwhile, Epstein praised Harare for adopting the Antwerp tender system as its main model to maximize revenues of its natural resources.
 “Through the Antwerp tender system, which was copied all around the world, you (Zimbabwe) have achieved a lot for your people in one and half years than a lot of countries have after more than 40 years into the diamond industry,” he said.

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