News / Africa

Regulators Deadlocked on Zimbabwe Diamonds

Zimbabwe's mining minister is vowing to sell diamonds from its controversial fields in the Marange area in southeastern Zimbabwe. International diamond regulators met this week at a conference in Tel Aviv to discuss whether to allow exports of diamonds from Marange, a site of documented violence, corruption and forced labor.

Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told about 70 delegates at the Kimberley Process conference that Zimbabwe needs the revenue from its stockpile of rough stones from the controversial Marange diamond fields to boost its economy.  The Kimberley Process is the world body that guards against the sale of so-called "blood diamonds".

During the conference, Zimbabwe's Kimberley Process monitor, Abbey Chikane, presented a report saying that President Robert Mugabe's government had met the diamond watchdog's criteria for the sale of Marange field diamonds.

According to an Israeli Diamond Industry statement, Russia, India, and all African delegates - except those from West Africa - campaigned for Zimbabwe's Marange diamonds to be certified for legal export by the Kimberley Process.

Human Rights Watch, though, says Zimbabwe should be suspended from the Kimberley Process because it has perpetrated atrocities against some miners in the Marange area.  It says rough stones from Marange should be declared "blood diamonds."  And Partnership Africa Canada, which helped form the Kimberley Process, says the Marange diamonds are controlled by Mr. Mugabe's military, and that such control could undermine Zimbabwe's inclusive government and destabilize the region.

It is unclear how much the rough stones from Marange are worth.  Mining Minister Mpofu told a daily newspaper in Harare this month that the stockpile could be worth between $32 million to $1.7 billion.  A veteran diamond expert in London said this week the value of the rough stones can't be calculated until geological and diamond prospecting work is done on the Marange diamond fields.

Further complicating the issue is an ownership dispute between a British company, African Consolidated Resources, and two new Zimbabwe companies, which are exploiting parts of the mines.

According to Human Rights Watch, so far most of the stones sold from Marange have been smuggled out of Zimbabwe and purchased by foreigners in Mozambique.

The government of Zimbabwe claims that since the diamonds were discovered in 2006, it has not earned a cent from the sale of the rough stones.

Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper, which backs President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, reported last week that Mpofu had established a cutting and polishing unit in Harare and had hired two experienced South African experts to cut the Marange stones.  The origin of cut diamonds cannot be identified.

A larger group of members of the Kimberley Process will meet next in Israel in November, where Zimbabwe's diamonds will be debated again.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid