Illegal diamond dealings on the rise

MUTARE - As the once-rich Marange diamond mining companies struggle to pay employees, illegal diamond dealers have resurfaced in Chiadzwa.

The dealers are getting a steady supply of the rare gems through clandestine methods, pressure groups in the extractive sector have said.

The Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela) and Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), watchdogs in the extractive sector, said Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) should therefore embrace miners’ welfare to effectively plug the illegal trade of diamonds.

Mutuso Dhliwayo from Zela and Farai Maguwu, the director of (CNRG), said disgruntled employees are a potent security risk for pilferage and leakages of diamonds.

“Low pay among mining workers will lead to diamond leakages. As civic society groups, we are pushing for miners’ rights to be part of KPCS.

“We are saying, if you do not pay your workers, they will steal from you…they will steal diesel…they will steal diamonds,” Dhliwayo said.

According to Maguwu, illicit diamond mining syndicates between security personnel and artisanal miners is on the rise.

“While illegal diamond dealings never really stopped, it went down when formal mining activities began but they are peaking again.

“As we speak, someone is dying at Mutare General Hospital after he was mauled by dogs after a deal went wrong,” Maguwu said.

Maguwu said the decision by KPCS not to include human rights issues as an area of concern was a letdown.

“There are many facets of conflict…when people are moved from their homes and dumped in a bush somewhere I think those diamonds are conflict laden,” Maguwu said.

The activists said civic society’s influence in KPCS, which also include governments, investors and market players, is limited because of domination by state players.

“Governments’ domination of KPCS is a problem,” he said.

However, Dhliwayo said they get solace in the fact that KPCS’s decisions are by consensus allowing for minority voices to be heard.

Illegal diamond dealings on the riseIllegal diamond sales have been on the rise as companies are allegedly failing to pay workers.

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