South Africa announced that it will export less rough diamonds and keep more rough diamonds within the country and manufacture it themselves. They’re taking their cue from Botswana which has had this type of very successful beneficiation program in place for its citizens over the past three years.
South Africa is expecting to have its institutions and regulations in place by August 2007 to ensure that more diamonds are cut and polished in the country.
The country’s Minister of Minerals and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica, outlined to parliament on May 30, 2007 how South Africa will add value to its precious stones and metals locally, government news website BuaNews Online reported.
“We are developing skills in the jewelry sector for our people to be able to take leadership roles and for the provinces to be able to play a supporting role when we start implementing the Diamond Amendment Act, the Second Diamond Amendment Act and the Precious Metals Act,” the website quoted the minister as saying in her first budget vote in her new portfolio.
These amendments, she explained, would usher in a more representative South African Diamonds and Precious Metals Regulator to replace the South African Diamond Board.
President Thabo Mbeki reiterated, in his state of the nation address in February, government’s plans to establish a State Diamond Trader that will purchase 10 percent of diamonds from local producers and sell them to local cutters and producers.
South Africa is the world’s third largest diamond producer by value and exports approximately $2 billion worth of diamonds annually.
Sonjica explained that the Diamond Exchange and Export Centre will monitor the export of diamonds while the State Diamond Trader would make diamonds available solely to diamond beneficiators, BuaNews reported.
“All these institutions will be in place when the president promulgates these pieces of legislation, which is expected to be not later than August 2007,” Sonjica said.
Sonjica added that the State Diamond Trader would open in Johannesburg but later move to Kimberly, “to make Kimberly the real diamond hub of South Africa.”
South African mining giant De Beers has reportedly agreed to assist with management and technical skills and asset provision for the program free of charge for a three year period.