Sunday, October 17, 2021

Chamber of Mines Okays’ Botswana move to clean Zim diamonds tainted image

A move to allow Zimbabwe to sort and value diamonds at Diamond Training Company has been hailed as a great move despite the country’s controversial diamonds past records.

International organisations such as Global Witness has in the past linked Zimbabwe diamonds from Marange diamond fields to human rights violations and violent atrocities that occurred in Zimbabwe.

Though Global Witness is convinced that Zimbabwean diamonds are conflict diamonds Botswana Chamber of Mines is optimistic that a move to sort and value diamonds in Botswana could boost the industry.

Botswana Chamber of Mines, Chief Executive Officer Charles Siwawa is convinced that if there is check and balances such as Kimberly Process Certification Scheme there is no need label diamonds from Zimbabwe as conflict diamonds since they will have been vetted out.

‘If countries comply with KPCS process why should countries be put out from business  when such countries  qualify in the whole KPCS  process since those diamonds have been qualified as diamonds that are conflict free,’ said Siwawa .  

He said that where diamonds are marketed legitimately all process that deals with Kimberly Process Certification Scheme are followed.

He said that whenever diamonds are marketed legitimately where it fit the KPCS no one should castigate individual countries.

‘’If at one point Zimbabwe diamonds fit the process then there is no need to castigate them since the process will have vetted them out’ added Siwawa.

Siwawa indicated that if the countries comply with KPCS why those countries are put off the market since they have followed the right process.

He said that he is not privy to information on whether DTC has expansion mandates such as dealing with aggregating diamonds from other countries.

Siwawa indicated that since Zimbabwe was Botswana’s neighbour there is nothing wrong with Botswana supporting Zimbabwe diamonds if the whole process followed KPCS process which satisfies that such diamonds are conflict free.

‘’On my own I think that it will help DeBeers to have a better control of the market by considering marketing other producer if they have that mandate. I am not quite sure if they have a mandate to market other diamonds from producers,’ added Siwawa.

He said that if they have to open for other producers from the rest of Africa this will help to grow the business.

Siwawa indicated that it will make more sense if DTC was to grow if there is an offer from other countries to aggregate diamonds.

‘When we start a business it should grow. If we allow other countries to bring their diamonds there will be more benefits to the country, ‘added Siwawa. 

He indicated that the country can benefit from this move if they can consider aggregating diamonds from other countries .Siwawa indicated that this can create other secondary downstream industries and get taxes from this diamonds.

DTC Botswana Corporate Communications Manager Kago Mmopi indicated that for now DTC mandate is to aggregate diamonds from Debswana.

He said that about government intention could have been premised on the basis that both countries are in negotiations were at government to government level.  He said that the current contract only allows them to aggregate and sort diamonds from Debswana until 2020 when the contract ends.

Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa indicated last month that his countries was interested in sending its vast diamond to Botswana for processing, cleaning and polishing before being sold.

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