Chidhakwa told a diamond conference that ended Tuesday in Namibia’s capital Windhoek that collective action was needed against synthetic diamonds.


According to Chidhakwa, diamond producers can eliminate the synthetic diamond trade through a verification process.

He gave the example of how the illicit diamond trade was eliminated through the Kimberley Process, saying the same can be done with synthetic diamonds.

Chidhakwa was responding to Namibia’s mines minister Obeth Kandjoze who had earlier told the same conference that only four out of 13 companies that cut and polish the precious metal are still operating.

Synthetic diamonds are produced through artificial means using materials such as pure carbon that is crystallized in isotropic 3D form.

The market for synthetic diamonds is estimated to be 9 billion U.S dollars, while that of natural diamonds is at 14 billion U.S dollars.

In February this year, De Beers Group executive head of strategy, corporate affairs, business development and technology Bruce Cleaver said synthetic diamonds were threatening the industry.

Namibia is currently the fourth largest diamond producing country in Africa after Angola, Botswana and South Africa.

This year, it is estimated that Namibia will produce close to 2 million carats valued at 937 million U.S dollars.

The leading diamond company is Namdeb, a joint venture between the De Beers Group and the government of Namibia.
Kandjoze also said a few years ago, the diamond cutting and polishing companies used to employ about 2, 000 workers but now just about 700 remain.

According to Kandjoze, this dire situation has been caused by the problems dogging the diamond sector worldwide.
The minister singled out the advent of synthetic diamonds as one of the reasons affecting the diamond sector.

Another speaker, Burhan Seber, said the cutting and polishing industry was collapsing and that they may all be forced to adopt synthetic diamonds.

According to Seber, government of diamond producing countries should intervene and support the cutting and polishing industry.

He suggested that cutting and polishing companies must be accorded a 10 percent discount when they buy rough diamonds produced locally. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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