The lack of a substantive diamond policy in Zimbabwe is a cause for concern, according to a local civic society organisation.
Centre for Research and Development director James Mupfumi was quoted by Chat263 as saying that Harare was erroneously entering into joint venture agreements guided by an opaque policy that is not publicly accessible.
He said this exposes government to manipulation by international oligopolies, while putting social, economic and environmental rights of the people at the mercy of companies.
"The president has made an undertaking to amend laws and the diamond policy was also part of the legal framework, but in our engagement with government through Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company all stakeholders conference, it was revealed that there was need for a Diamond policy,” said Mupfumi.
"Surprisingly government has since announced that there is a policy regulating the diamond industry which also ensures that communities benefit from directly from diamonds.
"However, there has been queries on the Diamond policy meeting expectations of the locals and these questions remains unanswered despite the coming in of new investors, Alrosa and recently we heard of Vast Resources.”
Mupfumiri said there was need to interrogate current policy interventions and their implications on the mining sector.
Senior legal officer in the Ministry of Mines, Nolwazi Muchinguri said under the current diamond policy regime, government had only approved four companies to exploit diamonds, with other prospective miners obliged to enter into joint venture agreements with the approved four.
"There won't be a license given directly to Vast Resources but will be given to a joint venture company of one for the four companies listed in the policy, we understand the interest is on the community stake for the community," he said.