Russia’s diamond loss could be Zimbabwe’s gain

Mark Mabhudhu
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HARARE (Bloomberg) – Zimbabwe’s biggest miner of rough diamonds sees Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as triggering far-reaching consequences for the global gem industry and possibly lifting demand for its own stones.

Russia’s Alrosa is the world’s biggest diamond producer by volume at 30% and the slightest disruption to its ability to supply distorts the market, according to Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) CEO Mark Mabhudhu.

“It may end up creating the supply gap that may drive demand for our product, as well as that of other players,” he said in an interview on Monday. “However, we don’t wish for the worst case, but if it happens we will be able to sell our production.”

Zimbabwe is targeting $12bn of mining industry revenue by 2023, and state-owned ZCDC plans to contribute $1bn of that, Mabhudhu said.

The company produced 2.3-million carats of diamonds in 2020 and 2021 and the miner operating in eastern Zimbabwe had 4-million carats of output, surpassing its target of 3-million, he said. That resulted in profit for the first time since its inception in 2015.

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

ZCDC will resume diamond auctions in April after an eight-month hiatus as a result of the coronavirus and expects buyers from Dubai, Israel, India and SA.

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

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