SA diamond chief earmarked for Marange job

diamond__womanHARARE Diamond trade watchdog Kimberley Process (KP) is recommending seasoned diplomat and experienced industry regulator Abbey Chikane as ......
(Pictured: Woman shows large diamond The KP has recommended appointment of South African Diamond Board chief Abbey Chikane as Marange mo

monitor for Zimbabwes controversial Marange fields, The Zimbabwean on Tuesday learnt this week. A former chairperson of the KP and current head of the South African Diamond Board, Chikane is expected to oversee implementation of decisions of last Novembers Swakopmund plenary meeting in Namibia which produced a Joint Work Plan under which Zimbabwe pledged to comply with minimum requirements of the KPCS.

He is also a director of the World Diamond Council which has slammed the KPs handling of the Marange saga where the diamond trade watchdog has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses at the military-controlled fields.

If approved by Harare, Chikane would be bound by terms of reference crafted by the KPs Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) after last years Namibia meeting.

His role would include working with Zimbabwes Ministry of Mines tom ensure compliance with KPCS standards as well as supervising exports of Marange diamonds.

The monitor will be expected to produce quarterly progress reports on the Joint Work Plan implementation to the WGM, with copy to the KP Chair and the Ministry of Mines of Zimbabwe.

In order to prepare these reports, the monitor must have full and unhindered access to all relevant diamond production and processing sites as well as to all relevant stakeholders from the point of mining to the point of export, including representatives of government, industry and civil society, read part of the terms of reference.

He would also conduct KP certification of Marange diamonds under the supervised export mechanism.

Prior to each export, the KP Monitor would examine, at the request of the Zimbabwean Ministry of Mines, diamonds shipments from any producing areas in the Marange diamond fields with a view to confirm whether they meet KPCS minimum requirements and confirm their certification for export.

Under the supervised export mechanism, the Ministry of Mines would notify the KP monitor via e-mail or fax, with a copy to the chair of the WGM, when a shipment for export from one or more of the producing areas in Marange is prepared and ready for certification.

The monitor would be required to visit Marange production sites once every month to conduct export certification of the stones.

The terms of reference are however silent on the location of the monitor, only saying he would need ministry notification to allow him sufficient time to travel to Harare and the mine sites and carry out the examinations.

The KP monitor would be expected to conduct thorough examinations of individual shipments and their chain of custody with a view to confirming their compliance with KP requirements.

If he assesses that an export shipment has been produced and prepared in accordance with KPCS minimum requirements, the KP Monitor would confirm the certification on a KP certificate with his signature and stamp, and will digitally photograph the certificate and shipment.

A specimen of the monitors signature and stamp will be circulated to the KP chair for distribution to KP participants and the rest of the diamond industry.

But in the event that he discovers that an export shipment has not been produced and prepared in accordance with KPCS minimum requirements, the monitor will provide to the Ministry of Mines with a written report stating the reasons, including any possible means of remediation.

Any such export would be held until remedial action is completed after which the monitor would re-examine the export.

But industry experts say the monitors presence would not prevent smuggling or human rights abuses at Marange, also known as Chiadzwa.

The monitor has to be specifically invited by the Zimbabwe government any time that the government is ready, observed one industry expert.

The experts say the monitor may not be there to oversee day-to-day operations at Marange, leaving the door open for illegal activities to continue.

According to the terms of reference, the monitor would only need to confirm that the administrative procedures have been followed correctly.

Post published in: Economy

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