Recent developments in the diamond rich Chiadzwa area will not compromise Zimbabwe’s standing with the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), a Cabinet minister has said.
An international body charged with preventing the trade of conflict diamonds, the KPCS, has in the past banned Zimbabwe from selling its diamonds on allegations of human rights abuses in the Chiadzwa area. Following the Government directive for all mining firms in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani to immediately cease operations last Monday, fears are abound that the country might once again attract attention of the KPCS as it fends off illegal panners from the area.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa assured the nation that adequate measures had been put in place to ensure that operations in Chiadzwa remained compliant with KPCS regulations. The minister said he had already advised the KPCS of the Government’s intention to consolidate diamond mining firms into one company.
“The idea will be to give confidence to our colleagues in the KPC that we remain compliant, that our systems remain compliant,” he said.
“Naturally what is portrayed in the media will be read across the world. It has just added to the amount of work that we must do to convince people. But I am not worried because it is a job that as Zimbabweans we must do. When you take an action it will have consequences, intended and unintended consequences and when you take an action you must be prepared to deal with both intended and unintended consequences.”
He said under the envisaged set up, a standardised system that meets international standards would be put in place.
“Diamonds are international, so we must therefore comply with international rules and regulations,” he said.
Minister Chidhakwa added; “We do not want to go back to 2006. Nobody wants to go back to 2006. In fact the planning of this was to make sure that we do not create a vacuum from a security point of view.”
Zimbabwe is in the process of consolidating diamond companies into one entity in which it will hold a 50 percent stake.
The process, which is expected to increase transparency and revenues, has, however, been met with resistance from the majority of the diamond miners prompting the Government to shut them down, after they had also neglected to renew their permits.
Companies that were closed down include Anjin, DMC, Jinan, Mbada and DTZ-OZGEO. – New Ziana.