A Kimberly Process review team is expected in Zimbabwe this weekend to follow up on the deal struck last month in St. Petersburg, Russia, to allow Zimbabwe to export diamonds from the controversial Marange field.
Sources said the team comprises ministers from African diamond producing countries, South African Kimberly monitor Abbey Chikane and members of the Kimberly review mission to Zimbabwe. The team's mandate is to ensure Harare is fulfilling a work plan document set at a Kimberly meeting in Namibia last year.
The Kimberly review team will inspect the controversial Marange diamond field of eastern Manicaland province, the Forbes border post between Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and visit Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Mining, two firms working under a joint venture arrangement with Harare that has been questioned as lacking in transparency.
Sources said villagers in Marange have reported more police officers and troops in the area as the government moves to clean up operations ahead of the inspection set as a condition for certification of Marange diamonds.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said the Kimberly team will examine and certify all diamonds produced by Mbada and Canadile between May and August of this year. He said buyers have been invited from all over the world and that monitor Chikane will certify all of the diamonds purchased in the export auction.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga said he hopes the Kimberly team has a broader mandate that will also focus on continuing human rights abuses in and around the diamond fields and the need to end military control of the Marange diamond zone where extrajudicial killing and forced labor have been alleged.