Zimbabwe has entered the top 10 league of the world’s gem-producing countries. The country is now ranked as the seventh largestt diamond-producing nation in the world, according to global rankings released on Friday.
According to figures released by the diamond regulator, Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), and reproduced by US trade gem regulator, Rapaport, Zimbabwe produced diamonds worth $334-million last year and is now ranked seventh in the world.
The rankings show that Botswana is the world’s top gem producer with $2.5-billion, followed by Russia, which produced diamonds worth $2.38-billion, and Canada, with diamonds valued at $2.3-billion.
South Africa comes in at fourth position after its mines produced gems worth $1.8-billion, while Angola produced $976-million and is rated fifth.
Namibia is now ranked sixth after producing $744-million.
Zimbabwe has been operating under strict and tight KPCS monitoring. This is because most of the country’s diamond earnings are from the alluvial Marange or Chiadzwa fields which the KP and the Western world has been blocking from selling diamonds internationally.
There are, however, other diamond mining operations around the country.
During the period under review, global rough diamond production by value rose by 39% year-on-year in 2010 to $12-billion, according to the KPCS.
The value figure was still below the peak year of 2008, when production totalled $12.73-billion.
In terms of carat volume, rough diamond production rose by nearly 7% to 133.12 million carats. The average price per carat produced rose by 30% to $90.13.
According to Zimbabwe’s 2011 national budget, the country’s mineral resources contributed 4.9% of GDP and 65% of its exports in 2010.
By any definitions, this makes Zimbabwe resource-rich.
In June, the country was allowed to sell its diamonds under close KPCS monitoring amid heavy protests from the US, Canada and the European Union.
The KPCS, which evaluates and monitors international diamond trade to prevent the selling of conflict diamonds, started when Southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000 to discuss ways to stop the buying and selling of blood diamonds.