Wednesday, June 02, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) NGO attempts to stop diamond sales

NGO attempts to stop diamond sales
By: Cletus Mushanawani
Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 1:20 pm

A MUTARE Non-Governmental Organisation monitoring the mining activities at the Chiadzwa diamond mines is waging a war to scuttle efforts by the Government to have rough diamonds from the area certified for exports.

The Centre for Research and Development, whose director, Mr Farai Maguwu managed to meet the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme's diamond monitoring advisor for the Chiadzwa diamonds Mr Abbey Chikane at a Mutare hotel on Tuesday and presented a damning report on activities at Chiadzwa diamond mines.

His report said they had gathered enough evidence that security loopholes at Canadile Miners plant in Chiadzwa were costing Zimbabwe about 2,000 carats per day through smuggling of the diamonds.

"Company employees have overtaken illegal panners and security forces in supplying diamonds to local and foreign buyers who descend on Chiadzwa daily in search of the precious stones. Much of the stones are stolen at the Density Medium Separator, popularly known as The Plant," claimed Mr Maguwu in his report.

"The porous security at Canadile is one of the several indicators of the failure by Zimbabwe to meet the minimum standards of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme," he added.

When approached for comment, Mr Maguwu was not at liberty to shed more light on his deliberations with Mr Chikane.

There are also claims that diamonds are still finding their way out to the neighbouring Mozambique where buyers are camped, a move that prompted Mr Chikane to visit the Forbes Border Post to check the security systems in place there.

However, in an interview after touring Forbes Border Post, Mr Chikane, said he was impressed by the improvements he had noted at the Canadile Miners plant when he toured it earlier during the day.

He also commended Canadile and Mbada for working hard towards meeting the KP requirements.

"I had the opportunity to visit the broader Chiadzwa neighbourhood. I have had a fruitful trip and managed to meet all the necessary stakeholders. I have noted a lot of improvements at Canadile and they have upped their operations. They have done a good job, the same as Mbada to meet the minimum certification requirements.

"I have spent a lot of time at Chiadzwa and I have to rearrange my meetings with other stakeholders, NGOs included. I have also have a fruitful trip to the border (Forbes Border Post) where I meet officers and this brings to an end my visit to Chiadzwa," said Mr Chikane.

The visit to Chiadzwa and Mutare was the second time for Mr Chikane in three months after visiting in March to get first hand information on the operations of Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners.

He was accepted as the KP monitoring advisor for the Chiadzwa diamonds by the Government in February after Zimbabwe had rejected a European monitor in January.

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