|As part of the Kimberley Process's (KP) "Africa Initiative" program, the United Arab Emirates KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem recently paid a visit to Zimbabwe.
In the country's capital, Harare, Bin Sulayem reportedly met with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, government ministers and senior mining officials.
"As the country has faced many challenges in its past, we wanted to experience how the rough diamond industry of Zimbabwe was developing and what challenges it might be facing today," says Bin Sulayem, as quoted by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) of which he is the Executive Chairman. "On meeting with H.E. President Mugabe, we heard his views about the Kimberley Process and how it was imperative for his country's diamond industry to continue working closely with the KP, as Zimbabwe looks towards a sustainable future in rough diamond production and export".
Zimbabwe was re-admitted to the Kimberley Process in June 2011, following a 2009 suspension, and remains a key player in the African diamond mining and production industry.
More recently, the Zimbabwe government decided to restructure and consolidate its corporate approach to the management of diamond mining and export. This fundamental change, whilst clearly a matter of internal policy, was instigated as the country's diamond production operations remained compliant with Kimberley Process mandates.
Commenting on the restructuring and consolidation of Zimbabwe's diamond mines, Zimbabwe's Minister for Mines and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa noted that, "We became aware of certain internal matters, involving transparency of reporting, in a corporate sense, which is why we, as government, decided to create a more consolidated approach to our internal diamond companies' structure. With these changes in place, we are confident of a resilient and robust diamond business future."
Bin Sulayem visited the diamond fields of Chiadzwa, in the Marange region of Zimbabwe, and commented that, " ...What we've observed is a holistic and professional approach to mining operations. Security, along with a very stringent approach to health and safely was apparent - and, in talking to production management and workers, there exists a strong feeling of commitment and adherence to the systems in place under Kimberley Process mandates", said Bin Sulayem, as quoted by the DMCC. Ahmed Bin Sulayem's ‘Africa Initiative' is part of an overall strategy to engage with KP family members with a view to supporting their membership of the Kimberley Process.