The Kimberley Process (KP) has given Zimbabwe the green light to sell the diamonds mined at the controversial Chiadzwa fields between 2007 and 2009, a government minister has said.
Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development Gift Chimanikire yesterday said the decision was made during a KP meeting in Brussels, Belgium, last month.
“The resolution was that Mbada and Canadile had complied with the KP hence we were given the go- ahead to sell the diamonds,” said Chimanikire.
“That came as a result of the Brussels meeting so we have known that for some time now.”
A government official who refused to be named said Zimbabwe had delayed in disposing the diamonds after Mines minister Obert Mpofu objected to a clause which would have allowed the country to be suspended from trading on the strength of a report generated by any two member countries highlighting abuses or violations in Chiadzwa.
The Chiadzwa diamonds have divided KP member countries with others calling for banning of the exportation of the gems citing reports of continuing human rights abuses and smuggling.
Abbey Chikane, a South African diamond expert and founding chairperson of the KP, was appointed to monitor Zimbabwe as it implemented measures to meet requirements of the watchdog.
After his second visit to the country to check on compliance, Chikane certified that Zimbabwe had met requirements of the KP and should be allowed to sell its diamonds.
KP’s focal point person in Zimbabwe Shamiso Mtisi said it was important to ensure civil society was given unlimited access to Chiadzwa to enable it to monitor what was happening on the ground and ensure that the country stuck to its end of the bargain.
“There is a need to include small-scale miners in mining the alluvial diamonds from Chiadzwa,” he said.