Bots undergoes third diamond trade compliance review

Mpho Tebele

Gaborone –  Botswana has pledged to be as transparent as possible to the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) regulations, as it undergoes a third peer review.

The southern African country, which is rich in mineral deposits especially diamonds, made the pledge during a recent visit by a delegation representing KP to review the country’s Kimberley Process compliance and whether diamond trade is done legally.

KPCS imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as “conflict free” and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade.

The Minister of Minerals, Sadique Kebonang informed the KP delegation that Botswana, as member of the Kimberly Process, will continue to be as transparent as possible in diamond trade.

He said Botswana, as a leading diamond player in the diamond trade, would comply with the dictates of KPCS. Kebonang said Botswana would avail information to inspectors and be as transparent as possible when required.

“Over the years, we have benefited from this process and we will continue to demonstrate our commitment to it,” Kebonang said in an interview on the sidelines of the meeting.

According to the minister, Botswana could not afford to conceal any information demanded by the review team, as it was dedicated to improving its standard by putting into use the advice that would come from the recommendations arrived at.

He added that “we will do what we need to do to ensure that we are compliant all the time and improve where necessary. We will avail any information that the visiting peer review team may require”.

Kebonang said 2017 is yet another time for submitting Kimberly Process reforms, which take into consideration key areas that need to be improved and emerging issues.

The KPCS delegation and Kebonang together with senior officials from his ministry discussed human rights issues, disclosure of synthetic diamonds, and civil society representation.

Deputy permanent secretary in Kebonang’s ministry, Moremi Phiri was optimistic that the visit by the team would be beneficial to the country after receiving the recommendations. He added that the past two reviews had been successful and therefore he was hopeful that even the current one would be successful.

The leader of the delegation, Partridge Sibanda, said they would share their recommendations with Botswana after the completion of the review exercise.

“The Kimberly Process allows members to share information and look up from up from one another as part of their effort to ensure that they are compliant.

“We will make suggestions and share comments with relevant authorities in Botswana where we think there is need for improvement,” he said.

Botswana’s first Kimberly Review was in 2004, the second one in 2011 and the latest is the third review by the delegation that was in the country recently.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is a system for controlling exports and imports of rough diamonds, which allows nations to legally sell their production in international markets.

The delegation assessed whether diamond production from the country’s mines is done legally, and meets the care and preservation of the environment and that it is not linked to human rights abuse.

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