Zim readies for African diamond producers meeting
Harare (New Ziana) – From being treated as a pariah in the global diamond industry in the not too distant past, the remarkable work that Zimbabwe has put in to shrug off the undesirable tag is paying off, and will be on show in Victoria Falls when it hosts the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) extraordinary council of Ministers meeting from Wednesday to Friday this week.
Zimbabwe is currently the ADPA deputy chair and will assume chairmanship from Tanzania at that meeting.
Concurrently, Zimbabwe is also the deputy chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) and will again this year take over chairmanship of the global diamond watchdog, laudable milestones for a country whose diamond industry has in the past quoted a lot of controversy, albeit for malicious reasons.
Some Western countries opposed to the land reform programme, which the government implemented in 2000, bent on isolating the country as punishment sought to prevent it from selling its newly found gems by accusing it of violating human rights in their extraction.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development touted the Vic Falls meeting and last year’s elevation to ADPA deputy chair as one of the fruits of Zimbabwe’s re-engagement agenda.
“At the 7th council of Ministers meeting 2021 held virtually, the Republic of Zimbabwe was nominated to be the incoming chair of ADPA after Tanzania. The nomination falls in line with the National Development Strategy 1 on engagement, re-engagement and international relations,” the Ministry said ahead of the meeting.
“Zimbabwe as a country has made efforts to continue to engage with the international community through its ADPA membership.”
The pending assumption of chairmanship of ADPA and the KPCS, two crucial organisations in the global diamond industry, is also testament of the remarkable transformation that the Zimbabwe diamond sector has undergone in recent years.
Zimbabwe, which is a founding member of ADPA, is expecting to push through a strong agenda during its tenure as chair, including by formulating strategies to improve the African diamond industry.
“As the incoming ADPA chair in 2023, the Republic of Zimbabwe is expected to carry out the following mandate, among others: ensuring that African diamond producers present a united voice on the international diamond scene on matters which affect them and promoting cooperation and information sharing amongst ADPA member countries,” the Ministry said.
Other ADPA members include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Central African Republic, Botswana, Ghana, Guinea, Togo, and Tanzania.
Speaking at a KPCS pre-inspection workshop late last month, Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Onismo Mazai-Moyo said the recognition by ADPA and the KPCS was a signal that the international community was beginning to accept Zimbabwe as a serious player in the global diamond industry.
“The elevation to take over the vice-chair of the KPCS is really an honour to us and it shows that slowly the international community is beginning to grow confident in Zimbabwe and of course grow confident in the way we handle our diamonds and the way we relate to all stakeholders in the areas that we operate and the markets that we sell,” he said then.
The local diamond industry is expected to contribute US$1 billion to the targeted US$12 billion mining income by 2023.
Firm growth is expected in the sector this year, as it regains its sparkle following production challenges experienced in the past.
For example, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), the country’s largest diamond miner, has set a production target of over 5 million carats this year, while others including Anjin and Murowa are expanding production capacities to drive growth in the sector.
ZCDC, along with Anjin, Murowa and Alrosa are the four companies licensed to mine diamonds in the country.
However, Alrosa is still at the exploration stage.
Zimbabwe is also currently conducting a self-assessment exercise of the entire local diamond value chain, in preparation for a mandatory KPCS evaluation next month.
A Kimberley Process team will be undertaking a review visit to Zimbabwe between May 8 and 13, with the last one having been conducted in 2012.