Beneficiation: A Case for Zimbabwe's Diamonds

Since the start of commercial diamond mining activities in Marange in 2009, Zimbabwe has been exporting thousands of jobs annually through the export of rough diamonds and by frustrating the fledgling local cutting and polishing industry. The government of Zimbabwe has begun to take positive steps towards value addition. In May 2013, the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development released a Draft Minerals Policy. The first aim of the Draft Mineral Policy is to achieve a knowledge-driven mining sector that catalyses and contributes to the broad-based growth and development of, and is fully integrated into, an African market through down-stream linkages into mineral beneficiation and manufacturing. It is however important to look at the economics of exporting rough diamonds and what need to be done to discourage the practices and promote beneficiation. This paper seeks to explore the opportunities for beneficiation in Zimbabwe's diamond sector, analyse the challenges and offer recommendations based on best practices in the region.