Zimbabwe diamonds give $600m boost

2011-11-24 20:23

Harare - Zimbabwe's government expects to take in $600m in additional revenue from diamond sales next year, after a global watchdog lifted its ban on exports, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Thursday.

The windfall will give a 17%t boost to the national budget, which had originally been set at $3.4bn but will now grow to $4.0bn, Biti told parliament in presenting the 2012 budget.

"Our original budget for 2012 was $3.4bn but now we are anticipating additional diamond revenue of $600m," he said.

"We anticipate that we will be able to contain inflation below 5% in 2012," he added.

The Kimberley Process, the global regulator created to prevent "blood diamonds" from financing conflicts, agreed on November 1 to allow sales of gems from the eastern Marange fields, which have been scarred by army abuses.

The decision allows two firms, state-owned Marange Resources and state joint venture Mbada Diamonds, to sell gems from one of Africa's biggest diamond finds in decades but also the site of alleged gross human rights violations.

Human Rights Watch says President Robert Mugabe's army killed more than 200 people in late 2008 in an operation to clear small-scale miners from the area and Kimberley investigators confirmed abuses that resulted in a ban on the region's diamonds.

The ban was lifted after months of tense negotiations.

Under the terms of the deal, Zimbabwe will have to consistently share data with Kimberley monitoring staff, including on the identity of mine investors and steps taken to combat illegal mining and trafficking.

Civil society representatives will also have access to the area to independently verify mining activity.

  • Jack - 2011-11-24 20:59

    Eish, they are so cleva.

      daquan.skillz - 2011-11-25 01:46

      The buyers are there Mr ekfuego. The Indians and Chinese are just salivating, they ca't get enough of these diamonds.

      Hans - 2011-11-25 07:57

      I don' tknow what you guys are complaining about. According to our lovely government, things are very rosy up there.

  • Nyiko Ngobeni - 2011-11-24 21:48

    A clear case of the benefit of nationalization. If the government had given the mine away they wouldn't be getting that much money. .

      Jack - 2011-11-24 22:09

      Please Nyiko, who are the real recipients of the proceeds. Definitely not 99 pc of the population. Mostly Mugabe and his cronies in this case. Not nice that 200 people were killed in 2008 or is it part of the nationalisation idea.

      daquan.skillz - 2011-11-25 01:51

      Let's see: civil servants bonuses, check...diamond soccer league, check..miss diamond beauty peagant, checkoh and I'm proposing to my sweetheart with a Marange stone.

  • Zion - 2011-11-25 06:07

    This is not clear in terms of the Kimberley Process. The Kimberley process and its watchdogs are supposed to monitor and prevent the sale and resale of diamonds and in the Zim case it is obvious that those stones are still blood diamonds and hardly likely to change for years to come. In fact this move by the Kimberley Process management may just give rise to even more human abuses and violence in the concerned areas. The movement of diamonds can be controlled by the K.P. but not that of the Zim Army. Either way innocent people are going to starve and die.

      daquan.skillz - 2011-11-26 01:37

      If the term "bloody diamond" applies to those diamonds that de beers and co. don't control, then yes Zim's diamonds will always be "bloody." However, facts confirm that Zim's operations are superior to those of most certified countries, politics not being a factor. Also please explain to me how people will starve and die if their diamonds are sold transparently under K.P protocol.

  • ifundi - 2011-11-25 09:01

    And how will this benefit the people????? It will all go in Mugabe and the cronie's pockets, not the poor or upgrades to the country. That is a given.

      Juicecard - 2011-11-25 11:16

      Please go to school.The national budget doesnt benefit Mugabe but the populace so the added revenue to treasury is welcome for the nation

      daquan.skillz - 2011-11-26 01:52

      Not only do diamonds boost the budget, they render the sanctions prescribed for Zimbabwe useless, which is the real reason for all this noise.

  • billy - 2011-11-25 09:43

    zim can do greater things and even overtake our ecomomy in years to come, they have the potential to be a great nation.

      kenneth.roselt - 2011-11-25 11:10

      So long as the rot there gets sorted, i agree, but not before then.

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