Zimbabwe’s biggest diamond producer has shifted almost all of its sales to Dubai, targeting cutters, polishers and traders and eliminating middlemen.
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co. has auctioned 4 million carats of stones so far this year in the emirate, up from 850,000 carats for the whole of 2022. The state-owned miner is targeting revenue of $1 billion by 2030, according to Sales and Marketing Manager Enock Moyo.
Three auctions held in Dubai have attracted an average of about 150 buyers, at least five times the number for sales in Zimbabwe, said Moyo, adding that better quality diamonds have also helped. Selling rough stones in the United Arab Emirates has also eliminated the middlemen that used to bid in auctions in the southern African country.
“For us, Dubai has been a game changer,” Moyo said in an interview.
The switch in sales to Dubai comes amid a slump in global diamond prices. Buyers in India — the industry’s biggest customers for rough stones — have been putting pressure on the largest miners to rein in supply. Last month, Russian diamond giant Alrosa PJSC said it was halting all sales until November.
The Zimbabwean producer expects gem prices to firm up by early next year.
The UAE already ranks as the No. 3 export destination for Zimbabwe, after South Africa and China. It’s the biggest buyer of the nation’s gold and the second-largest buyer of tobacco.
ZCDC, located in the eastern district of Marange, is targeting output of 5.3 million carats this year, up from 4.3 million last year.
The company has also teamed up with Russia’s Alrosa to form a joint-venture that’s exploring for gems at Chimanimani and Mwenezi.