Indian firm opens diamond-cutting factory in Russia
MOSCOW: This is the second such factory that Choron Diamonds has opened in the Russian Far East.
A glittering inauguration ceremony was held in Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean coast this week and those who attended included President's Representative to Far Eastern region Konstantin Pulikovski, Primorye regional governor Sergei Darkin, diplomatic officials and executives of the Indian, Russian and European diamond industries.
"We are the first foreigners in Russia to start this kind of venture in the country's highly monopolised diamond cutting industry," said Sunil Gandhi, president of Primorsk Diamond, the Russian subsidiary of his family concern.
"Around 150 Indian specialists will work in the factory in its first year of operation," Gandhi told IANS. He said he also planned to train Russian workers.
"We are planning to produce diamonds worth $15 million in the first stage. The target will be raised to $25 million subsequently. Sixty percent of the produce will be exported to Europe and the U.S. and 40 percent will be sold in Russia."
Twenty machines, each capable of cutting diamonds worth $2 million annually, will be installed at the factory, according to Gandhi.
Gandhi said his company decided to set up a factory in Vladivostok because of the city's proximity to Russian diamond mines, its location at the intersection of various highways as well as its developed infrastructure and cheap manpower.
He said raw diamonds would be bought from the Yakutia region near Vladivostok.
Gandhi's brother Rajesh Gandhi has been running a diamond-cutting factory in Yakutia, a Russian region between Siberia and the Far East, for three years.
Rajesh Gandhi said that the success of the Yakutia plant had encouraged the family to set up another base in Russia.
"It was not an easy decision to start a factory in this remote, cold place where winter rules for most part of the year with an average temperature of minus 25 degrees Celsius," said Rajesh Gandhi.
He added: "But we have absolutely no regrets. We have reaped good results." Rajesh Gandhi said his family were the first Indian businessmen in the area.
India, with the world's largest diamond cutting industry, has lots of benefits for diamond-rich Russia as it can process small size diamonds, he said.
"We have many advantages here. Russians have a lot of love for Indians. We are liked by the local administration and ordinary people. And from the business point of view, we process 0.15 to 0.03 carat small diamonds that Russians or Europeans can not handle."
Rajesh Gandhi said: "We are planning to build a jewellery factory, and if every thing goes right we will hopefully have the plant ready by the end of the year."
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