Artisanal miners in
the Marange diamond
fields in Zimbabwe
 
Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 September 2010 – The government of Zimbabwe has proposed a regulation requiring that the three diamond miners which are operating in the country sell at least10% of their gems to local polishers and processors.

“We are now looking at the modalities of implementing the new regulation,” secretary for mines Thankful Musukutwa said here in a telephone interview.

“All stones cut and polished in Zimbabwe will have to be certified by the Kimberley Process,” Musukutwa added. “Six licenses have been awarded to Zimbabwean cutters and polishers for a US$20 000 (R146 000) fee,” the mines secretary said.

River Ranch (Private) Limited mines near Beit Bridge in southern Zimbabwe. Murowa Diamonds in Zvishavane, also mining in the south, is owned by Rio Tinto Plc and RioZim Limited, and a third deposit in the eastern Marange fields is mined by Mbada Mines (Private) Limited and Canadile Miners (Private) Limited in joint ventures with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

The Kimberley Process is an initiative by governments, industry and civil-society groups to certify diamonds as conflict-free, according to its website. So-called conflict diamonds are rough gems that have been traded by rebel movements to finance wars against governments, including those in Angola, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch alleged in June 2009 that Zimbabwe’s military may have killed as many as 200 informal miners working at the Marange diamond fields. The campaign group had called for a ban on Marange diamonds unless Zimbabwe adhered to Kimberley Process standards.

Diamonds from the Marange fields were sold at auction with Kimberley Process certification for the first time in August this year.