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World Federation Of Diamond Bourses

Interview with KP Chair and Zimbabwe Minister of Mines, H.E. Winston Chitando

H.E. Winston Chitando

Q. The potential production of Zimbabwe’s diamond mines is enormous. What are the government’s goals for the sector?

Zimbabwe is targeting 7 million carats in 2023 and the sector is set to continue growing based on the exploration activities currently underway. The government has set a USD 1 Billion target for the diamond sector by the end of 2023.

In the Kimberley Process (KP) we are looking at going beyond just meeting the minimum requirements and also implementing best practices recommended under the scheme.

Zimbabwe had a KP peer review in 2021 and some best practices were noted during the visit.

Q. Tell us about the reorganization of the diamond mining sector that you initiated in 2018. Who are the major players? Is all of the rough exported?

Currently, there are three diamond mining companies actively operating; Anjin Investments, RioZim Murowa and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). Alrosa Zimbabwe is conducting exploration activities that we are hopeful will yield positive results.

The diamond sector was reorganized through the consolidation of seven different companies that were operating in the Chiadzwa diamond fields to form the ZCDC. ZCDC is currently the largest diamond mining company in Zimbabwe by volume.

Not all the rough diamonds mined are exported, there is a deliberate policy to encourage local cutting and polishing of diamonds to make jewellery and create employment for the Zimbabwean people.

Q. Has the new structure proved a success? What are its advantages? What challenges have you faced?

The new structure has been a success as witnessed by the increased diamond production in the Chiadzwa region by the end of 2022. The structure has allowed for improved internal controls of the diamond industry which was witnessed by the KP Peer Review delegation in May 2021.

The consolidation of the mining companies has enabled the government to also monitor the operations in the region much more effectively and enabled the minimum negative impact to communities from the mining activities.

Q. Have new diamond deposits been found in Zimbabwe and if so, where?

No new diamond deposits have been found in Zimbabwe, however exploration is currently underway. All the diamond mining companies in Zimbabwe are currently conducting exploration which is at various stages of the exploration cycle.

Q. Going forward, what are the plans for developing the Zimbabwean diamond sector?

The diamond mining sector is on an upward trajectory which has seen production increasing. Plans are to increase production as well as source alternative markets for Zimbabwean diamonds. This is in line with the USD 1 Billion milestone set for the diamond sector

We are looking at increasing the diamond cutting and polishing industry with a 10% quota set aside for local beneficiation, according to the Diamond Policy. The development of this sector is crucial as we focus on value creation and downstream industry from the diamond sector.

Diamonds are highly regulated as they should be and Zimbabwe will continue implementing the requirements of the Kimberley Process as well as pushing beyond the minimum KP requirements.

Q. About the Kimberley Process which you currently chair, what are the main challenges to the KP and how can they be addressed?

The Kimberley Process is facing the challenge of staying relevant to the current world demands in particular with regards to the definition of conflict diamonds.

The Kimberley Process has formed an Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform to work on the challenges facing the body. This committee will be reviewing the definition of conflict diamonds. Furthermore, the committee will tackle how collaboration within the KP on technical assistance may be initiated as well as compliance and governance matters.

Q. Civil society and many members of the diamond industry would like to see the KP change the definition of its mandate from conflict diamonds to other goals, such as protecting the environment, sustainability, and human rights? Do you believe that this can be done in the near future?

There is the need for the KP to evolve with the changing global landscape. The KP is changing. For instance with the adoption of FRAME 7 : Declaration on Supporting Principles for Responsible Diamond Sourcing as Best Practices in 2021 which encourages sourcing of diamonds in a sustainable manner that protects the environment, human rights and labour rights among other factors. This is a step towards the change and we are hopeful more changes to the mandate of the KP are coming. The Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform is part of initiatives to adapt changes in the future and this is underway.

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