Zimbabwe in diamond talks with Botswana: state media

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-14 00:09:07|Editor: yan
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HARARE, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe is holding talks with the Botswana government to explore the possibility of it sending its gems to the neighboring country for cutting and polishing, state broadcaster ZBC reported on Tuesday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa revealed this while touring the Diamond Trading Company of Botswana at the conclusion of his two-day state visit to Botswana on Tuesday, ZBC reported.

During the tour, the president said if the talks between the government of Zimbabwe and Botswana government are successful, Zimbabwe will send its diamonds to Botswana for cutting and polishing, the ZBC said.

Zimbabwe has been exporting its gems in raw form due to lack of beneficiation capacity.

The country is planning to resume diamond auctions this month, having suspended sales in February 2017 after the government in 2016 merged operations of seven companies that were mining gems in Marange in the eastern part of Zimbabwe.

The government of former president Robert Mugabe accused the companies of lack of transparency and accountability, and of prejudicing the state of about 15 billion U.S. dollars in potential diamond revenue.

Some of the companies took the government to court over their forced eviction from the diamonds fields.

Zimbabwe started commercial diamond production in Marange in 2010. Over the years, diamond production at the fields has declined sharply from 12 million carats in 2012 to 1.8 million carats in 2017, according to industry figures.

Miners have blamed dwindling alluvial diamond deposits and lack of technology at mine conglomerates for the low production.