08 November 2023

Elephant Hills, Victoria Falls

  • Hon Vice-President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Rtd. Col. K.C.D Mohadi
  • Hon. W. Chitando, KP Chair and Minister of Local Government
  • Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon Soda Zhemu
  • All Hon Ministers and dignitaries here present,
  • Ms Feriel Zerouki, President of the World Diamond Council
  • KP CSC Coordinator Dr Michel Yoboue
  • Chairs of Kimberley Process Working Groups
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association I want to thank the Government of Zimbabwe for inviting us to speak and for hosting the 2023 KP Plenary meeting here in Victoria Falls.

I also want to thank the Ministry of Mines, together with the Chair of the Working Group on Alluvial and Artisanal Mining for successfully organising, with us as ZELA, the Frame 7 Special Forum on Responsible Sourcing of Diamonds. The Special Forum provided an opportunity for panelists from Government, international business and human rights bodies, civil society, traditional leaders, industry experts and Zimbabwe based diamond mining companies to share experiences on responsible sourcing. It was the first of its kind in the KP in a number of years. The attendance, presentations and discussions were good, although we can improve next time through additional community reach and information sharing.

Based on the Special Forum deliberations, KP participants are encouraged to take measures to implement Responsible diamond sourcing principles at national level through different actions that include—self assessments, third party auditing, capacity building training and adoption of due diligence national laws and policies. We are also calling for inclusion of clear responsible sourcing principles in the KP Review Visit Checklist-Peer Review. This will help in assessing a country’s implementation of best practices. It will naturally help provide companies  and Artisanal and Small-Scale miners across the diamond supply chain with the social licence to operate. Some of the elements to include are; human rights, environmental damage, climate change mitigation, forced labour, child labour, safe working conditions, CSR, corporate accountability and revenue management questions.  

Hon Vice President, Zimbabwe has already demonstrated that Frame 7 can be easily implemented if Government and companies are willing. In this regard, I want to thank Government of Zimbabwe for launching and implementing the Responsible Mining Audit this year. The Audit is meant to assess company compliance with national legislation on labour, environment, social, community issues, governance, and mine safety standards among other things. However, the process can be improved by including civil society and community groups that could otherwise have helped in providing information and share experiences on impacts of mining on communities. Going forward it will be good for the Ministry of Mines to organise multistakeholder forums to share the broad outcomes of the Responsible Mining Audit.

We also noted the interest of Chinese companies in promoting responsible mining standards in the Lithium sector and organising themselves to enhance their compliance with national laws. The Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe Stock Exchange already include ESG reporting for listed companies, Murowa is a member of the Natural Diamond Council and ZCDC is working on an IRMA self-assessment. So Frame 7 implementation should be easy for any country and can be made a mandatory requirement.

As Zimbabwe we need to consolidate the gains in the diamond sector now through learning from others, enhancing implementation of Frame 7 and ensuring that mining and Government officials attend international and regional initiatives such as Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), UN Business and Human Rights Forum and Open Government Partnership (OGP).

In the critical minerals sector, we know that many countries including the EU, US, UK and China are developing different initiatives or policies on responsible sourcing of critical minerals such as lithium, tin, copper and nickel among others. In SADC region DRC, Zambia, Angola, Namibia are participating in some of these initiatives. It is therefore important for Zimbabwe to assess how best to also attract competitive and responsible mining investments in that sector and apply those lessons in the diamond sector.

Hon Vice President, over the past few months I have been agonising over the issue of value addition for our diamonds. We need to Deep Boil and Clean Our Diamonds before exporting them. We are losing Hon Vice President. Our diamonds are undervalued. We need to check the prices we are getting. An industry player told me Zimbabwe could easily become rich if it adequately Boils and cleans its Diamonds. We need to urgently invest in this.

Vice President, during the Special Forum we heard about the threat of Lab-grown diamonds to the natural diamonds sector. KP Participants should take the issue seriously and there is need for African states to fully understand what is making lab- grown diamonds gain momentum. It is failure by the KP to redefine conflict diamonds to allow the KP to curb human rights violations in the diamond supply chain. As I have said before, consumer resistance to unethically mined diamonds and millennial demands for clean diamonds is real and not imagined.

Part of our discussions here in Victoria Falls include discussions on community benefits in African states. We want diamonds to benefit the people and to contribute to national economies in Africa. On this we need more action.

Lastly, Hon Vice President, I want to talk about collaboration and technical assistance within the remit of the KP. In our work we noted one thing that often affect our results and things we push for in Africa: sometimes we call on Government to implement certain reforms or programmes, without understanding capacity constraints. We call on Government departments to reach out to different development partners for knowledge and skills sharing. State entities in the mining sector may need technical assistance which may be available amongst KP partners on the following; valuation of diamonds, drafting of complex mining agreements, establishing cadastre systems, improving mining revenue collection and improving mine level inspections.

Hon Vice President, with those remarks I thank you.

Shamiso Mtisi

Deputy Director

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) (www.zela.org)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.