MUTARE– Government has not included artisanal diamond mining in its policy because of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme stringent international compliance requirement meant to curb flow of conflict gems.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company Roberto DePretto revealed that that government has no plans to integrate artisanal miners due to the stringent compliance mechanism set by the KPCS.
He said while government is looking towards increasing exploration activities in Chiadzwa, this will be done through joint ventures with four companies listed in the Diamond Policy, with prospects of artisanal mining still far off.
“In terms of artisanal mining the Diamond Policy does not specify that, it doesn’t mention artisanal mining, diamond mining is very different to gold mining where you have a lot of artisanal mining, in diamonds because of the Kimberly Process it’s very difficult to control the sources of those diamonds.
“We have to be absolutely sure where those diamonds are coming from, if people are taking them out of conflict zones to Chiadzwa or they are taking them from the DRC or any other conflict areas.
“If this happens that means the end of Zimbabwe selling its diamonds because we will be seen as laundering conflict diamonds, so I think we are not going to see artisanal diamond mining any day soon, but certainly more joint venture companies working in Chiadzwa area,” said DePretto.
However despite government’s stance, illegal artisanal mining of diamonds is rampant in Chiadzwa says director of the Centre for Research and Development James Mupfumi.
“What is driving illegal artisanal mining in Marange and generally in the whole country is resource capture by the elites which has caused resource deprivation for the common man, the elites are coming through as investors and the revenue they get from the mineral is not cascading to the fiscus (there is no transparency) and the community,” said Mupfumi.
The KPCS is a joint government, industry, and civil society initiative, established in 2003 to prevent conflict diamond from entering the mainstream rough diamond market by the United Nation General Assembly Resolution 55/56 following recommendations.