Sugar Chagonda in Moscow, Russia
Zimbabwe has been commended for embracing the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) Standard by the Kimberley Process (KP) a development which has witnessed a significant reduction of reports of violence and other forms of social ills in the Marange diamond fields.
The submission was made by the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (KP CSC) Coordinator Mr Shamiso Mtisi during the official opening of the Kimberley Process Plenary in Moscow, Russia this week.
Addressing delegates to the 2021 Kimberley Process meeting, the KP CSC Coordinator gave an account of what he termed a reality check of what they have observed among communities impacted by diamond mining in various countries.
“In my own country Zimbabwe, we have witnessed some promising developments. The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has become the first diamond mining company to embrace the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). The IRMA seeks to answer the global demand for more socially and environmentally responsible mining. It offers independent third-party verification and certification against a comprehensive standard for all mined materials.
ZCDC is undergoing a self-assessment in preparation for IRMA auditing. This is commendable”, said Mr Mtisi.
IRMA standard is designed to support the achievement of four overarching principles for an organization and these are, Business integrity, Planning and managing positive legacies, Social Responsibility and Environmental Responsibility.
According to Mr Mtisi, throughout the past year the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition has invested resources in grassroots monitoring of diamond mining in various countries. They have been mapping the socio-economic and human rights impacts of artisanal, small and large-scale diamond mining in 8 African countries, namely Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe. In countries where they don’t have civil society members, such as Angola, Mozambique, India, UAE, Tanzania and Botswana, they were doing remote monitoring through online sources and local contacts.
In October this year the Government of Zimbabwe commissioned a tripartite national level KP Compliance Self-Assessment process which is still underway evaluating compliance with Kimberley Process minimum requirements. Lessons learnt are expected to be shared with the KP membership.
The KP Plenary meeting agenda under the Chairmanship of Russia is focusing on the finalization of key initiatives considered to be a priority in advancing sustainable development of the global diamond industry. These include digitalization of KP certificates accompanying export-import operation with rough diamonds, and explore the principles of Responsible Sourcing as the best practice for the industry. Another topical issue is the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) where an expert mission is expected to be sent to evaluate the country’s compliance with minimum requirements with KP Certification.
The Kimberley Process will also consider the applications of new countries to join the organization which are Qatar, Kyrgyzstan Republic and Mozambique.The Zimbabwe delegation is being led by Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando.
The delegation comprises the Attorney General Mr Prince Machaya, Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) Mark Mabhudhu, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) General Manager Tongai Muzenda and representatives of Civic Society Organizations.