Surat Diamond Association (SEA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South African government in Johannesburg to start a direct trade of rough diamonds from the country. As per the MoU, rough diamonds from the mines of South Africa will directly reach the traders of Surat and Mumbai under Indian-African trade and investment promotion.
Apart from this, those interested in starting manufacturing units in South Africa will also get support in terms of visa, logistic facilities and other services from the South African government.
South Africa is one of the major exporters of rough diamonds in the world with over 60 per cent of stones coming from their mines. On the other hand, Surat is a major diamond polishing hub with eight out of 10 rough stones produced in the world being cut and polished in the city.
The initiative has been taken by a South African businessman of Indian origin, Mohammed Amir Mirza, who hails from Kosamba village in Surat district. A delegation of diamond merchants from Surat, led by SEA Secretary Kiritibhai Shah, had visited South Africa last week on a invitation by Mirza, who is the founder of the Indian-African trade and investment promotion and a special adviser in Black Business Chamber of South Africa.
They signed the MoU with Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane, Minister of Mineral Resources, Republic of South Africa; Sipho Manese, Chairperson of South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator and Mirza, in presence of other government officials in Johannesburg on November 14.
Shah said till now the rough diamonds of South Africa used to reach through different countries of Europe and Dubai. “Due to this, their price was high. But, with the direct trade, there will be a price drop of around 12 to 15 per cent,” he said, adding they will form a company to source rough diamonds from South Africa.
“We will also do a survey of 300 diamond traders in Surat to find out their requirements in terms of quality and quantity. We will again visit South Africa with the its report.”