Why Kimberley’s bright idea to fight illicit mining fell down a ...

Ideas

Why Kimberley’s bright idea to fight illicit mining fell down a groot gat

The mining formalisation scheme could have served as blueprint before violent zama-zamas muscled in

Tanisha Heiberg and Helen Reid

The first SA project to bring illegal miners into the formal fold has been plagued by violence in diamond capital Kimberley, dealing a major blow to national efforts to stem a booming illicit trade.

The project was launched 18 months ago in Kimberley, the site of a 19th-century diamond rush that lured fortune-seekers from the world over. Mine owners granted more than 800 unlicensed, or informal, small-scale miners the right to legally mine about 1,500 acres of diamond-rich waste fields.

The aim of the government-backed scheme was to curb illegal mining and black-market trade of diamonds, and serve as a blueprint for future attempts elsewhere in SA, not only in the diamond sector, but also potentially manganese, gold and chrome...

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