Arab billionaires target Zim gems - report

2012-11-26 11:45

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Cape Town - Middle Eastern and Asian billionaires have given strong indications that they intend to invest in Zimbabwe's diamond sector, following projections that the country has up to 1.8m hectares of unexploited diamond reserves.

The Zimbabwe Mail online reported on Monday that diamond experts had already hinted that Zimbabwe gems would double world diamond supply by 2015 as Marange precious stones continued to attract some of the biggest players in the world diamond trade.

The billionaires include Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC) executive chairperson Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, who has close links with the super-rich Al Maktoum royal family of the United Arab Emirates, and members of India’s "diamantries", who are a clique of the richest diamond dealers in the world.

Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa confirmed that negotiations with the potential investors had already opened.

"We are indeed holding negotiations with the investors from the Emirates although negotiations are still at an early stage," he said.

Masimirembwa said the possibility of huge unexploited diamond reserves in Marange were high.

"We estimate that there are up to 1.8m hectares of unexploited diamond reserves.

"This is why we need investment to tap this resource," he said.

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