Zimbabwe says the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) has failed to be a trustworthy market for Zimbabwean gems after delaying to remit proceeds from a March sale.
Zimbabwe sold 400,000 carats of diamonds in Dubai in March this year and earned 30 million U.S. dollars but the country has not received the money yet.
The diamond auction was Zimbabwe’s third after two other auctions in Antwerp, Belgium in December and February.
The Dubai auction was part of Zimbabwe’s quest to widen its diamond market base as it has also announced plans to sell its gems in Botswana and China.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted by the Sunday Mail newspaper on Sunday as saying that the DDE had failed the test and hinted that the country might discontinue diamond sales there.
“Naturally, DDE have failed the test. Remember, when we went there we were testing the market. Why would we continue selling our diamonds in Dubai under such conditions?” the minister said.
The delay in the remittance of the money is said to be affecting operations of the mining companies that sold the gems. The government had hailed the Dubai auction for offering relatively higher prices than those offered in Antwerp.
A carat in Antwerp fetched 72 U.S. dollars in February’s sale while in Dubai a carat was fetching 76 U.S. dollars. From the 30 million U.S. dollars generated in Dubai, the Zimbabwe government is expecting to get 4.39 million U.S. dollars as royalties.