Zimbabwe Conflict diamonds enter the markets and fuel a decline in rough diamond pricing
Prices of rough diamonds by De Beers and Alrosa in January 2012 in the diamond city saw a decline between 6% and 10%, especially in the low range category because of competition from Zimbabwe stones. Also, the low range diamond boxes of these giant diamond mining companies are selling at discounted rates by up to 25% in Surat and Mumbai. Industry leaders say Zimbabwe diamonds are about 50% cheaper than those from other sources.
Zimbabwe diamonds started to flow into the world’s biggest diamond cutting and polishing hub in Surat from November 2011 after the international diamond regulatory body Kimberley Process (KP) allowed their exports from the controversial Marange fields. About 30% of the diamond pieces currently manufactured in Surat are Zimbabwe stones.
Aniruddha Lidbide, a diamond analyst, told TOI, “The giant mining companies seem to be under price and sale pressure since November 2011, when the Zimbabwe goods started to enter India. India is the biggest consumer of low-range goods and thus the prices are likely to decrease further in 2012.”
De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton account for 70% of the total production of rough diamonds in the world. In 2010, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) estimated the world production of rough diamonds at 133 million carats. De Beers has a share of 26% by volume and 35% by value, Alrosa has 28% share by volume and 25% by value, Rio Tinto has 11% share by volume and 10% by value and BHP Billiton has a 2% share by volume.
The Rs 80,000 core worth diamond industry in Surat has always been a world leader in processing low range diamonds below one carat. In 2010-11, India imported rough diamonds worth $11 billion, out of which more than 50% were of low-range quality. Gems and jewellery exports for 2010-11 jumped 47% to $43 billion from $29.4 billion in the previous year.
As per the diamond industry report 2011, Zimbabwe’s diamond output would continue to grow. It has a stock pile of 4.5 million carats of diamonds valued at $4-5 billion. Currently, Zimbabwe has four diamond mining firms operating in Chiadzwa fields – Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin and Diamond Mining Corporation. The country stands to earn more than US $2 billion per year from three Marange mines that have been permitted to sell so far.
Sanjay Kothari, V-C of Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC, told TOI, “The quality of Zimbabwe diamonds is different from those offered by DTC, Alrosa and even Rio Tinto. It is true that Indians have been benefited by Zimbabwe goods, but this will not trigger any reduction in the rough prices in the long run.”
Article source: The times of India.