Zimbabwe’s diamond miner ZCDC resumes sales, reports record 2021 output

Zimbabwe diamonds

Zimbabwe’s biggest diamond miner says it will resume its monthly auction April, ending an eight-month hiatus caused by COVID-19, after a record year of production in 2021.

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) beat its production targets for 2021, hitting fresh records and recording its first ever profit.

“We have sizeable parcels for sale and the ultimate quantum per sale is determined in consultation with our selling agent who is Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe,” ZCDC Chief Executive Officer Mark Mabhudhu said.

ZCDC auctions are held monthly.

Last year, ZCDC produced four million carats, better than 2.3 million carats in 2020 and exceeding its 3 million carat target for 2021. This saw ZCDC declaring its first ever profit since it started operating in 2015. The company projects a further increase in output this year.

“For 2022, we are set to not only achieve, but exceed our diamond production target by more than 40% when compared to the 2021 baseline target,” Mabhudhu said.

Russia conflict: impact on Zim diamonds

Mabhudhu says the Russia-Ukraine conflict has “far-reaching consequences” for many businesses.

Russia’s Alrosa, the world’s biggest producer which is currently prospecting for diamonds in Zimbabwe, is one of the Russian companies placed under Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict. But curbs on Russian gems may increase demand for ZCDC’s own stones.

“Russia’s Alrosa is the world’s largest producer by volume (30%) and any slightest disruption to their ability to play in the market distorts a lot of market factors including the supply of diamonds,” he said

“Without being overly confident about demand going up, it may end up creating the supply gap which may drive demand for our product as well that of other players. We however don’t wish for the worst case, but if it happens, we will be able to sell our production according to plan. 

Zimbabwean diamonds have faced restrictions in the USA, a key gem market. In 2019, the US held a shipment of Zimbabwean diamonds claiming they had been produced through forced labour. Tiffany & Co, the leading American luxury jeweler, also stopped stocking Zimbabwean diamonds over human rights concerns.

Buyers for next month’s sale are drawn from Dubai, Israel, India and South Africa, Mabhudhu said.

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