The illicit diamond trade in Zimbabwe has been reported taking place since October of 2008. At that time, the people of Zimbabwe were entering an unlicensed ‘mine’ to dig up diamonds to sell. However, later that month the army moved in, in force. At least 150 diggers were killed; some were chewed and torn apart by dogs. Only a few survived. Now, only last year an article was written by the Guardian (by Simon Allison) about how the diamonds are not being used to “transform the country’s economic prospects and, ultimately, the lives of its people” but instead “billions of dollars have been lost to private companies with links to the military, the intelligence services, and President Robert Mugabe.” This illicit trade centres on Zimbabwe, and one of the biggest diamond deposits in the world.
There are many types of diamonds, which are mined all over the globe. In northern Russia, there is a large craton Diamond-bearing and barren kimberlite that is very rare. There are also large cratons in north Canada and many smaller ones in southern America. But, more importantly there is a small craton in eastern Zimbabwe. In this craton, there is Barren kimberlite (Fig 3). The locals had been mining for some profits until the government took over in 2009. However, when the government took over the ‘operation’ they allegedly killed over 150 people. More recently, Anjin Investments, a Chinese investment company, has not been fulfilling its agreement with the Zimbabwean government and not paying its royalties. However, even after every foreign mining company’s license was cancelled, Anjin have been allowed back into Marange. This is because Anjin Investments are shareholders include “Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Ltd of China (AFECC) and Matt Bronze” which is an investment company controlled by Zimbabwe’s military. This means that although in the past Anjin has not paid the Zimbabwean government a percent of their profit, they are the only foreign mining company with a license because of military links. Additionally, the Zimbabwean government promised to use the diamond money to better the people, they are still clearly not honouring that promise.
In Africa, and Zimbabwe particularly, reckless diamond mining is unfortunately quite common. For every one carat of diamonds mined, 1750 tons of earth is mined and of 2014, the average engagement diamond ring size is 1.25 carats. In some extreme cases, the abandoned mining pits can cause ecosystems to shut down and collapse. The animals leave the area because of the changing of the landscape and noise pollution and the topsoil (which has the most organic matter and microorganisms out of all of the layers of soil) erodes which leads to the land being almost permanently unsuitable for farming. Additionally, the pits begin to fill with stagnant rainwater and become a popular breeding spot for mosquitos, which can be detrimental, especially in developing countries like Zimbabwe.