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Kimberly Process Monitor Notes Deficiencies, Risks in Zimbabwe Diamond Operations


Reporting to the Kimberly Process after a fact-finding trip to Zimbabwe last month, KP monitor Chikane said too many government agencies are involved in the monitoring of diamond mining operations and the processing of the rough stones

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme monitor for Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane of South Africa, concluded in a report on his March fact-finding mission that the presence of too many state entities in the controversial Marange diamond field in Manicaland increases the risk of diamond leakages, adding that the absence of paper trails has made the situation even worse.

Reporting to the Kimberly Process after a fact-finding trip to Zimbabwe last month, the monitor said too many government agencies are involved in the monitoring of diamond mining operations and the processing of the rough stones, posing "the danger of diamonds being swapped or stolen in the process." He said most of the state workers lack specialized training.

Chikane also noted inadequacies in the operations of the two firms working the Marange alluvial deposits in a joint venture with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners - for instance, potential "blind spots" in their sorting and valuation facilities.

"Policies, processes and procedures applied at Mbada Diamonds are world class on paper and the company needs to build the necessary capacity to implement them. The company also needs to inculcate a culture of full compliance with Kimberley Process minimum requirements," Chikane writes in the report.

As to Canadile: "There is no visible paper trail to track the movement of rough diamonds from the safe to cubicles. Management of Canadile Miners believes the current paper trail is adequate; the KP Monitor believes the system can be improved."

Human Rights Watch senior researcher Tiseke Kasambala told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that the report supports her organization’s findings and those of other independent observations calling for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Kimberly Process until things are put in order in Marange.

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