Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
Zimbabwe says it is greatly honoured to have been elected vice chair for the World Kimberley Process for 2022, at a time when local diamond production is scaling new records.
The election was done in Moscow, Russia on November 12.
The World Kimberley Process was established to ensure that all global diamond mining and sales are done legally.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando told The Herald on the sidelines of garlic sales in Gutu on Saturday that following its election as vice chair of the World Kimberley Process, they were now looking forward to hosting the intersessional and the plenary meetings in 2023.
“For Zimbabwe, it’s really a great honour to be the World Kimberley Process vice chair,” said Minister Chitando.
“We are very excited. You know Zimbabwe is participating fully in the various committees of the organisation but being elected vice chair is a momentous occasion.
“The practice is that the vice chair eventually becomes the chair and we look forward to hosting the over 300 people that attend the intersessional and plenary meetings. It is a huge honour for us as a ministry and as a country.”
Zimbabwe’s election is also seen as an endorsement of the Second Republic’s desire to engage and re-engage all nations of the world guided by the mantra, “Friend to all and enemy to none”.
Further, it comes as Zimbabwe has introduced a raft of business friendly measures under the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.
The reopening of the economy and ease of doing business reforms have been acknowledged by the World Bank.
Minister Chitando said the Kimberley Process is a global organisation established by the UN to prevent the illicit flow of diamonds.
It has three main stakeholders namely: the World Diamond Council, civil society and governments.
Eighty-two countries are members of the World Kimberley Process.
Day-to-day affairs of the Kimberley Process are done by six committees which meet on a monthly basis.
They then report to the intersessional and plenary meetings.
The intersessional meeting is held in June while the plenary takes place in November.
The chair hosts both meetings, and Zimbabwe should have its chance in 2023 when it is expected to have assumed the position of chairperson.
When Zimbabwe becomes vice chair next year, Botswana will be the chair, and it is expected that Harare will then take over the chairperson’s post in 2023.
In terms of diamond production in Zimbabwe, Minister Chitando said the two main producers – the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) and Murowa – were doing “extremely well”.
“In October, the ZCDC recorded the highest ever production of over 700 000 carats.
“This year, we look forward to ZCDC producing over 4 million carats and we project that by 2023, ZCDC will be doing more than 7 million carats on its own.
“Murowa is investing in a US$450 million project in terms of plant expansion. The plant will be commissioned next year, and also an underground mine.
“So really the diamond sector will achieve the US$1 billion budget in terms of the US$12 billion mining sector contribution,” said Minister Chitando.
Other diamond miners are Anjin and Alrosa .
Anjin has begun production, said Minister Chitando while Alrosa, the world’s biggest diamond producer, has a project in Bubi, Mwenezi and Tsholotsho.
“Alrosa is still doing exploration. They have a pilot plant in Tsholotsho and they will also establish another pilot plant in Malipati.
“So it’s all looking bright for the diamond sector,” said Minister Chitando.