South Africa's diamond beneficiation industry is now outpacing its diamond mining industry and must look abroad to maintain its supply of rough diamonds, Rough and Polished reports. The country's official State Diamond Trader became aware of the shortfall and is seeking to procure rough stones abroad, but at present it is only licensed to provide local value-adding operations with home-grown gems.
According to local regulations, the SDT may purchase up to 10% of the diamonds harvested within South Africa's borders, but most of these do not the necessary standards required for diamond beneficiation, and these regulations are not up for review in the coming months. The needs of South Africa's diamond cutters are quite strict: they desire stones that can be converted into round 1-carat-plus SI1+-quality I+ color gems. In the past fiscal year, a mere 6% of the carats mined in South Africa satisfied these diamond industry demands.