The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Chiadzwa Mining Attains International Standards

DIAMOND mining at Chiadzwa has attained international standards and can be used as a model operation, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme has said.

KPCS monitor Mr Abbey Chikane said Zimbabwe diamond mining, which is concentrated in the east of the country, was now fully developed.

The latest KPCS endorsement will come as a body blow to Western nations that have been lobbying to have the Chiadzwa gems classified as blood diamonds to preclude their sale on the international market.

Four companies - Anjin, Diamond Mining Corporation, Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds - are in joint venture partnerships with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa.

Mr Chikane, who has been involved in nurturing mining operations in Chiadzwa to ensure they comply with KPCS requirements, is one of the key speakers at the inaugural international diamond conference to be held in Victoria Falls later this month.

"As the country Kimberley Process monitor, I have been witnessing tremendous change and improvement in the mining landscape in the country. Today, all diamond mines in Zimbabwe have reached international standards and stand as a model for many diamond-producing countries."

Mr Chikane, who also served as the first KPCS chair, said he was "proud" to have been accorded an opportunity to address the Zimbabwe diamond conference.

"I am happy and proud to be part of the conference, which will serve to shed light on the diamond mining activities in Zimbabwe," he said. Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu also expressed hope that the conference will live up to its billing.

"I am proud to see the support of so many international leaders for this initiative. We hope the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference 2012 will give our country the opportunity to show our strength to the international community. The moment has come to explore and unlock Zimbabwe's diamond potential together," he said.

The Zimbabwe Diamond Conference 2012 will be held in Victoria Falls from November 12 to 13.

Top leaders from international diamond centres, including India, Antwerp, Dubai, South Africa, Ramat Gan and New York as well as the Kimberley Process chair, Gillian Milovanovic, will be delivering speeches where 300 delegates are expected to participate.

In addition to mining ministers from South Africa, Angola, Namibia and the DRC, the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference 2012 will also showcase the top leaders from the country's own diamond mining industry.

According to a report in Forbes magazine, Zimbabwe could easily meet 25 percent of the world's diamond demand by value, and 30 percent by volume by 2015.

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