Saturday, June 27, 2009

diamonds in Zimbabwe?

My beloved father was an exploration geologist in Zimbabwe. He worked to locate and excavate mineral resources in Zimbabwe over his lifetime working for both foreign companies and the Zimbabwean government. I am quite sure I remember, as I was growing up, him saying that no diamonds had been discovered in Zimbabwe but that he believed they were there and one day he was going to find his diamond pipe and make it big. Well I was surprised to see the article in the NYTimes today about corruption, massacres and human rights abuses in diamond mines in Zimbabwe.

Diamonds in Zimbabwe? Diamonds were only discovered in 2006 in the mine mentioned in the NYTimes article, Marange diamond fields. A search on Wikipedia turned up a couple of entries on diamonds in Zimbabwe. It seems diamonds were first discovered in Zimbabwe in 1997. Father dear passed away in 1998. I wonder if he had heard of this discovery. Judging from the NYTimes article and the references at the end of one of the Wikipedia entries it is a good thing he never did get involved in diamond mining. Literally a cutthoat field to be in. Which reminds me, I still haven't seen the movie Blood Diamond and it is something I have been planning on watching.

In spite of my beloved father's dream of finding his diamond pipe, all this violence surrounding diamonds makes me feel very pleased with the simple gold wedding band I have on my finger.


Blogger Ezra said...

The NYT article is more about the response to a Human Rights Watch report called "Diamonds in the Rough: Human Rights Abuses in the Marange Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe". It is 62 pages.

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses has asked members not to take diamonds from a number of countries where the mining is associated with slavery, genocide, etc. These bans just mean the diamonds get smuggled into legal countries and raise the value in the illegal country. So it helps inflation, meaning people need to produce more diamonds instead of quelling it. Very sad.

There is illegal gold mining as well. Coltran is a mineral once used in computer monitors also with the above problems. As long as minerals have high monetary value (low supply, high demand), people will suffer indignities. One suggestion is to certify the origin from mine to consumer.

10:11 PM, June 27, 2009  
Blogger child_of_africa said...

Wow! Fascinating and frightening! Thanks Ezra.

10:29 PM, June 27, 2009  

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