Friday, July 16, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) State to control all diamond mining

COMMENT - This is absolutely historic. Political independence started in 1960-1964, and for Zimbabwe in 1980. 2010 is the start of economic independence. Zimbabwe leads the way.

State to control all diamond mining
By: Our reporter
Posted: Thursday, July 15, 2010 6:34 pm

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti said Wednesday that the government had agreed that all diamond mining would have to be undertaken by the state, and that all revenue would have to go into the national treasury. Minister Biti was referring in parliament to the Chiadzwa alluvial diamond fields, the wealthiest find in the world in a century.

"There is consensus in government that there has to be a new Diamond Act that says alluvial diamond mining in Zimbabwe be conducted by and through the state," he said in a mid-term review of the national budget.

The new law would also ensure that all income from diamond sales would immediately be transferred to the national coffers.

Mr Biti said 30 million US dollars worth of Chiadzwa diamonds were sold last year, of which treasury has no record, he said.

His remarks indicated a dramatic change in direction in government policy over the management of Chiadzwa, whose diamond are currently not being exported awaiting the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme's greenlight.

Mr Biti's remarks also came as the Kimberly Process was meeting in St Petersburg, Russia to try and settle disagreement over the report by a special KP monitor Mr Abbey Chikane in May that recommended that Zimbabwe had met minimum conditions to start exporting.

Human rights organisations that form part of the KP have been fighting to keep Zimbabwean diamonds outside the KP process.

Mr Biti -- who earlier this month said Zimbabwe did not have blood diamonds -- said that that the state will not allow the issuing of mining licences that would result in the proliferation of small diamond companies.

The finance minister said the new diamond measures would go a long way to resolving the country's economic problems.

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