There was a time when Zimbabwe was reportedly producing over 25 percent of the world’s diamonds and many thought it was the beginning of greater times for the country.
Things just fizzled out and for almost a decade now, the local diamond sector never provided fascinating news.
However, reports that the country is set to assume the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme – KPCS in 2023 and that it has been nominated as the incoming chair of the African Diamond Producers Association for 2022 is likely to see eyes being turned on Zimbabwe again.
The KPCS is a multilateral trade regime established in 2003 by the United Nations General Council to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds. Under the KPCS, member States implement safeguards against shipments of rough diamonds and certify the diamonds as “conflict free”.
Zimbabwe’s diamonds have previously been suspended from trading internationally on allegations of conflicts at the diamond fields, with some global players classifying them as blood gems.
Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, in a post cabinet brief this week, said Zimbabwe was elected vice chair of the KPCS for 2022 at the plenary meeting held in Moscow from 8th to 12th November, 2021.
“By practice of the Kimberley Process, this means that the country will automatically take over the chair of the KPCS in 2023,” she said. “Cognisant that Zimbabwe will take over the chair in the year that the KPCS holds its Review Cycle, preparations in that regard will also commence,” the Minister said.
Mutsvangwa, however, thinks that the appointment of the country on the global diamond network reflected the endorsements of Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement drive with all nations of the world.
“The Zimbabwe is Open for Business Mantra has resulted in increased respect for the country. Zimbabwe is currently a member of all the working groups and committees, with the exception of the committee on rules and procedures. This has further reinforced Zimbabwe’s profile and respect,” she said.
The KPCS works as a tripartite body with the current setup having: Industry (represented by the World Diamond Council,) Civil Society Coalition and Governments.
Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe will immediately start preparations to take over the chair and run the secretariat in 2023 and preparations will also commence for the hosting of the two annual meetings of the KPCS in 2023, namely the Intercessional and Plenary, Establishment of a skeleton secretariat to start learning from other countries in hosting the chairmanship and secretariat.
In the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) for 2022, as the chair, Zimbabwe will ensure that African diamond producers present a united voice on the international diamond scene on matters affecting them.
It will also promote cooperation and information sharing amongst ADPA member States; and formulate strategies to improve the African diamond industry as well as engage African countries who are not members of ADPA.
Zimbabwe’s diamond industry is currently consolidated under the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) that was formed following the March 2015 Government decision to consolidate all diamond mining companies to form a wholly owned government company.
The ZCDC was established as a merger of DTZ-OZGEO, Marange Resources, Kusena Diamonds, Diamond Mining Company and Gye Nyame, when Anjin and several other diamond miners were de-licensed by the government and barred from operating in Marange, in Manicaland province, for alleged impropriety.
During the first half of the year, ZCDC produced 151,3 kg of diamonds with the company achieving a profit of US$26,35 million.
The firm anticipates to produce 3 044 050 carats (608,81kg) by the end of 2021. In the six months period to June 2021, diamond sales yielded US$64 770 207, against a target of US$78 650 000.