Mozambique Speeds Up Diamond Controls Plan

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 8:50 am (UTC-5)
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Mozambique says it is speeding up plans to join an international program designed to prevent the sale of so-called blood diamonds.

The state-run Noticias newspaper reported Monday that the government hopes to join the Kimberley Process Certification program by December.

Mining Minister Esperanca Bias said the government hopes to start mining diamonds soon and “should not lose time” in joining the Kimberley Process.

The newspaper reported that currently there are 27 companies and individuals prospecting for diamonds in Mozambique under 40 separate licenses.

The Kimberley Process was created in 2003 to end trade in diamonds that are mined and sold to finance armed conflicts.

Diamond fields in Mozambique's neighbor Zimbabwe have been at the center of a long-running controversy over reported abuses by the Zimbabwean military.

Human rights groups say the military seized control of the Marange fields in 2008 and then used beatings and torture to force civilians to mine the diamonds.

Critics have called for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Kimberley Process but Zimbabwe has continued selling Marange diamonds either through Kimberley-approved special sales or smuggling.