'Zim in line with KP process'
Harare - Zimbabwe has made progress in complying with the requirements of a diamond watchdog body, a state daily reported Wednesday as the Kimberley Process retreats in Namibia.
"We strongly believe that as a country, we have done all in complying with the requirements of the process," Mines Minister Obert Mpofu was quoted as saying by The Herald at Kimberley Process annual meeting.
His remarks came as civil society groups, which are part of the process, are demanding the suspension of Zimbabwe's international diamond trade, after a Kimberley team documented "horrific" abuses by the army against civilians in the eastern Marange diamond fields in July.
Mpofu said the situation in the vast diamond fields was rapidly changing as the government had engaged two investors to exploit the alluvial gems, adding that Zimbabwe had yet to receive promised 'technical support' from the KP.
"The government has engaged two investors to work in partnership with the ZMDC (Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation) in the exploitation of Marange diamonds," Mpofu said.
"Security has been erected around the plant and mining areas. Double fencing is being used with electric fence forming integral part of the fencing system."
The Kimberley Process, named after a South African mining town, was created in 2003 with the aim of curbing the flow of "blood diamonds" into the mainstream market.
About 70 diamond-producing countries, industry groups and civil society organisations form part of the Kimberley Process, which is meant to stop diamond sales from benefitting armed groups.