THE Zimbabwe government has initiated a self-assessment exercise of the entire local diamond value chain, in preparation for a mandatory Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) evaluation in May, and is aiming to set a high benchmark of compliance to the requirements of the global diamond watchdog.
A Kimberly Process team will be undertaking a review visit to Zimbabwe between May 8 and 13, 2022. The last review was conducted in 2012. The KPCS is an international, multi-stakeholder initiative created to increase transparency and oversight in the diamond industry in order to eliminate trade in conflict diamonds.
Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Polite Kambamura told a stakeholder preparedness workshop on Wednesday that the self-assessment was being done in coordination with civil society and industry players. “As the vice-chair of the KPCS, it is important that Zimbabwe sets a benchmark of compliance to the maximum requirements of the KPCS,” he said.
“As part of efforts to ensure that the KPCS review is a success, the ministry of Mines is coordinating a self-assessment exercise which started at the beginning of March this year. This will help us assess the state of our readiness for the KPCS review visit.”
Explaining progress registered in the self-assessment exercise, chief director mining development in the ministry, Mercy Manyuchi said: “To date, several visits and engagements have been done with Anjin Investments, the Forbes Border Post, through Zimra. We have also done RZ Murowa, the mine site as well as their diamond sorting house here in Harare. We have also engaged Alrosa.
“The exercise is still ongoing so that when we get to May 2022, we will be ready as a country. Upcoming visits include going to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company as a well as the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport which is the main port of exit for our diamonds.” Manyuchi said the evaluation team would include experts from South Africa, as the team leader, Angola, the DRC, the United States, the European Union, civil society, and the World Diamond Council. “It is a big team of experts and we need to be ready as a country,” she said.
A KPCS local representative told the workshop that since the last review in 2012, Zimbabwe had made strides in addressing recommendations from the last report. Some of the areas that Zimbabwe had improved on included tightening security in mining areas through the use of the latest technologies such as drones. “The upcoming review visit is an opportunity for the Zimbabwe diamond industry to showcase the commendable strides taken since 2012 towards enhancing KP compliance,” the representative said.
Meanwhile, Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Onismo Moyo touted Zimbabwe’s impending ascension to the chairmanship of the KPCS and the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) as a major milestone for a country whose diamond industry quoted a lot of controversy in recent years, albeit for wrong and unproven reasons.
“The elevation to take over the vice-chair of the KPCS is really an honour to us and it shows that slowly the international community is beginning to grow confident in Zimbabwe and of course grow confident in the way we handle our diamonds and the way we relate to all stakeholders in the areas that we operate and the markets that we sell,” he said.
“Also, the fact that we are going to take over the chairmanship of ADPA, next month is another signal that the international community is beginning to accept us as a serious player in the industry.” The local diamond industry is expected to contribute US$1 billion to the targeted US$12 billion mining income level by 2023. — New Ziana