JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Kimberley Process (KP) chairperson Ahmed Bin Sulayem, has met with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi to discuss the country’s compliance with KP requirements, as well as best practices in rough diamond valuation.
Mozambique is not currently a member of the KP, but has been an aspiring candidate since it presented its membership portfolio in 2012. Following the discovery of diamonds earlier this year in the Massangena district of the Gaza province, local authorities have undertaken efforts to garner more support for its KP candidacy to get clearance to export conflict-free diamonds.
While the country’s economy remains heavily dependent on agriculture, accounting for around 25% of gross domestic product, the export of precious metals and gemstones is emerging as one of the country’s major economic pillars. The discovery of diamonds will add to this vibrant sector, but the size of the Mozambican diamond resources remains undeclared for security reasons.
The country currently faces difficult headwinds that are further aggravated by a regional drought, falling investments levels and rising debt levels.
According to the 'Mozambique Economic Update' report, foreign direct investment (FDI) fell by 24% in 2015, exports declined by 14%, and growth decelerated to 6.3%. There is a need for FDI to accelerate the country’s significant, untapped potential.
Several international mining companies have joined the country’s diamond exploration rush and, as such, receiving the KP stamp of approval would allow the country to export diamonds and spur its economic growth.
“For years, the precious metals and gemstones sectors have been among the main drivers of the country’s growth and given the challenging economic conditions today, it is now more important than ever to extend our support to the Mozambican leaders to help them meet the KP Certification Scheme requirements.
“At this stage, it is critical to ensure they have a firm understanding of best practices in rough diamond valuation thus stimulating better returns for the local population and miners, as well as provide them with a fair share of the country’s newly-found wealth,” said Bin Sulayem.
In a bid to strengthen the country’s KP candidacy and support its application, the Maputo government has approved a number of measures that will come into effect on November 20. These include the creation of a supervising agency, the KP management unit, and a decree which regulates diamond, precious metals and gemstone sales.
Bin Sulayem is currently traversing the continent to enter into dialogue with African countries around the rough diamond trade and strengthening the KP’s mandate.