By Ashley Bailey
, Monday, September 25, 2006
The Indian Department of Commerce has set off a series of initiatives with major diamond producing countries in recent months, focusing on Russia in particular. According to published reports, members of the Indian Ministry have initiated discussions with officials in Azerbaijan, Canada, Ghana, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, Uzbekistan and Venezuela and intend to hold talks with envoys of Australia, Congo, and Angola.
The Department's actions are in-line with planned strategies to make India the global hub for the diamond market.
Prospects appear promising for joint India and Russia ventures. India is the largest processing center of rough diamonds and Russia is one of the largest producers of rough diamonds, so officials believe cooperation by direct trade would be to the mutual advantage of both nations.
Proposals to South Africa are centered on India's competitive estimated cost of cutting and polishing diamonds, which is $10 per carat compared to $40-60 per carat in South Africa, due to a shortage of skilled labor. With rough coming to Mumbai from South Africa, cutting and polishing could happen in India with finished jewelry being exported back to South Africa.
Proposals to Venezuela center on mining, processing and marketing of relevant products such as a joint venture in the gold and diamond sector.
India is also considering investing in Canada's diamond mines, as Canada currently accounts for 13.5% of world diamond production on a value basis.