The South African Diamonds and Precious Metals Regulator (SADPMR) was told by the local jewellery manufacturing and beneficiation industry that the decline in jewellery manufacturing and diamond beneficiation is due to bureaucracy, a government official has said.
The country’s cutting and polishing industry had declined from a peak of 4,500 two decades ago to as low as 300 in 2018.
“The main concern raised by industry was the red-tape in processing of licenses,” minister of mineral resources Gwede Mantashe told a mining conference in Cape Town on Monday.
He said the SADPMR had, therefore, embarked on a project to prioritise and streamline the application processes.
“The processing time has been reduced significantly, in order to encourage new entrants and investors to enter the local beneficiation industry,” said Mantashe.
The bulk of the country’s polished end-product was being imported and this had resulted in a massive decline in the local industry.
South Africa’s diamond production value jumped 147% in 2017 to $3.1 billion, according to the Kimberley Process.
The country produced 9,68 million carats in 2017 at average price of $319 per carat.