Zim di­a­mond mines among best in Africa: KPCS

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle -

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

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