Zim diamond mines among best in Africa: KPCS
DIAMOND operations in Zimbabwe are among the best in Africa, a Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) official has said. KPCS chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem, who was in Zimbabwe on a familiarisation tour of the country’s diamond industry, said this after touring mines in the Chiadzwa area of Marange, Manicaland province. The KPCS, an international body charged with preventing the trade of conflict diamonds, has in the past banned Zimbabwe from selling its diamonds on allegations of human rights abuses in the Chiadzwa area.
Despite regaining KPCS certification, Zimbabwe has continued to receive undue criticism over the years mainly from Western sponsored Non-Governmental Organisations who are keen on preventing the country from benefiting from its gems, as this could see it overcoming effects of the illegal sanctions imposed on it as punishment for implementing agrarian reforms to correct a colonial legacy.
Zimbabwe extracts alluvial diamonds mainly from the vast Chiadzwa fields which, when they were discovered in 2006, were touted to have capacity to supply 25 percent of world demand.
A frenzied rush followed the discovery of the diamond fields and when the Government moved in to secure the area and restore order, it was accused of violating human rights.
“The mines in Marange are in one of the best conditions compared to other mines in Africa,” said Bin Sulayem.
Early this year, Zimbabwe started consolidating diamond mining operations into one company, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in which the Government became the major shareholder with 50 percent, while private firms which previously owned the ventures share the remaining 50 percent.
When diamond companies in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani refused to comply with the directive to form one company, the government ordered them to cease operations, raising fears that the country would once again attract sanctions from the KPCS.
Zimbabwe’s diamond sector had been widely expected to spur economic revival, but it has largely under-performed.
Rough diamond output for 2016 is expected to fall way below projected target of six million carats, following a dismal performance during the first half of the year in which only 972 000 carats were produced
The Government was targeting to sell around 500 000 carats per month, bringing in around $30 million per month into its coffers. — New Ziana
KPCS chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem