HARARE, May 6 — The Zimbabwe Diamond and Technology Centre (ZDTC) has unveiled the first batch of state-of-the-art equipment which will enable the country to cut and polish diamonds before exporting them.

The centre signed a multi-million dollar deal with Indian firm Sahajanand Laser Technology Limited early this year for supply of the machinery. Although Zimbabwe is among the top five producers of diamond in the world, over the years it has been losing out through exporting rough diamonds.

ZDTC Chairman Lovemore Kurotwi said here Tuesday that the last batch of the machinery was still awaiting clearance in India and was expected in the country soon. Kurotwi added that the equipment had the capacity to cut and polish all diamonds mined in the country.

“This machinery is for the industry and with this technology one set of laser has the capacity to cut 100 big stones and alternatively 700 small stones per day. If we multiply by the number of units we are talking of
thousands of stones to be cut per day,” he said.

“We are not doing any experiments. All other countries that are mining diamonds have established such centres. It is only us who are the major producers but do not have the machinery to cut our stones.”

At least nine experts from India are in the country to commission and train Zmbabweans to operate the equipment and they would be in the country until the local experts were familiar with the machinery.

He said China and Dubai had also expressed interest in partnering the ZDTC.

Kurotwi said there was a need to merge the seven local companies cutting and polishing diamonds in the country for easier control.

Zimbabwe mines most of its diamonds from the vast Marange fields in Manicaland Province which are estimated to have the capacity to supply 25 per cent of global demand.

Researchers contend that Zimbabwe has the potential to generate over 8.0 billion US dollars and create some 200,000 jobs annually when it starts processing its minerals.