Sunday, November 01, 2009

Mugabe faces losing gem lifeline

from the UKGuardian

Members of the international diamond watchdog, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), will consider suspending Zimbabwe for at least six months at a four-day meeting after a working party investigated the Chiadzwa fields in the east of the country.

A suspension would in effect stop the Zimbabwean government importing and exporting rough diamonds. However, the scheme is voluntary and the Zimbabwean authorities would be required to enforce it – the same authorities that are said to be heavily involved in illegal smuggling and violence at the mines.

Perhaps more importantly, a suspension would also put the onus on reputable traders and governments not to buy Zimbabwean diamonds,...

The government sent in troops in October last year after thousands of people descended on the site in a modern-day diamond rush. Soldiers beat and killed illegal panners as helicopters hovered above, shooting at miners.

Since then, the military has thrown a huge cordon round the site and is accused of using local people as virtual slaves to dig up the diamonds, which are then smuggled out of the country.

and to make things worse, the UK owners just won a court case when they asked for their mine back

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