Recently the government approved the Zimbabwe National Diamond Policy to regulate and to ensure accountability in diamond mining, the policy saw only four firms being approved by the government to undertake diamond exploration and mining in Zimbabwe, any other entity wishing to mine diamond will do so after entering into a joint venture with one of the approved companies.
BY Dickson Rudairo Mapuranga
Some experts believe that the future of the mining industry in Africa rest in the hands of Artisanal and Small scale miners (ASM), thus encouraging an open door policy for ASM to be considered in mining diamond.
Lately Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) which is one of the approved firms to mine diamond in Zimbabwe was reported to have indicated that they made a decision to bring in artisanal miners into diamond extraction in order to boost production.
One expert said that ASM is a source for poverty alleviation, it is fair to note that the entire African continent has to recognize the contribution of ASM in the mining industry, where some belts are not viable for Large Scale Miners, ASM’s contribution is needed, and therefore the government should consider ASM in diamond mining.
An adept in the diamond industry said that, what is important is not so much on ASM although some affirmative action is needed to bring wealth into the hands of communities, the process of awarding the four should just be an awake to the need for inclusivity. Capacity of companies is something that should be considered as diamonds play a vital role in economic resuscitation, an oligopolistic situation for now works. However, it is important to note that with proper systems to monitor them, diamond production and deposits discoveries can be up in no time using ASM.
Small scale miners believe that if they can be allowed to mine gold which is more complicated than mining diamond, therefore, the move to block them would be unjustified. However, gold is something that most ASM are familiar with, and has been mined by Africans from the inception, diamond had been known but the issue is ascertaining value, thus, through ASM a lot of wealthy might be lost due to ignorance.
According to some miners, giving diamond mining licenses to ASM was never a wise option, the gold mining permits they have are questionable too, and they don’t invest in mineral exploration and don’t spend in increasing their mines. Some are holding large deposits but have no money to invest, ASM in gold mining are celebrating for producing very little, with no vision of becoming bigger and produce more.