Zimbabwe: Diamond conference ends with questions

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Associated Press

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 11:00 AM

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Zimbabwe Diamond Conference, which wound up here Wednesday, was sponsored by President Robert Mugabe's government to highlight its emergence as a major player in the world diamond trade.

Organizers said the conference would to "shed light" on Zimbabwe's diamond mining and to allay widely-held concerns of corruption and looting of the gems.

But the conference raised more questions than answers.

Officials said Zimbabwe can produce between 110 million to 160 million carats of diamonds annually, making it one of the top five diamond producers by volume in the world.

But where the diamond money is going is not clear. The Mugabe government seemed unconcerned about providing clarity on how much is mined or earned at the country's eastern Marange diamond fields. Mines Minister Obert Mpofu dismissed calls for transparency.

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