Zimbabwe Mining Update

Well, let’s just jump right in: Mining and the president of Zimbabwe is up for discussion.

Let’s go for gruesome and still slightly shocking, first. The Zimbabwe mining industry is a fickle thing. This country, like most in Africa has several minerals that occur naturally and can be mined. Since the Zim economy has been in tatters over the last decade, investing in equipment required to mine has not really been a priority or even just a good business investment. So, not a lot has happened in the last years, in fact many small mines found it cheaper to close down rather than cover the costs. With sanctions imposed on the country it also put a lot of miners off. Obviously Zim Plats does not fall under this equation, but then again most of their share holders are foreigners and they are really just the exception to the rule. In the last year or so, China’s been getting involved and doing quite well as they already have buyers outside the country all set up so investing here and using cheap labour is in fact a good investment. But none of this is really what I wanted to discuss.

In the last week a mass grave has been making headlines. As disturbing as a mass grave is all on its own, the plot thickens: people were being paid to come to the dump site and take a body to pass off as one of their relatives and go burry them somewhere far away or pretty much just anywhere else! Could you imagine, physically taking a body; putting it in your boot or a wheel barrow and moving this dead body somewhere else? Could you imagine now planning a funeral and all the fake mourning for this fake relative of yours that you are being paid to get rid of? Shows you how desperate people have become for money…

By now you’re probably wondering how these two paragraphs fit together, well I won’t hold you in suspense. Basically these bodies that most assumed were part of a government or anti-government cover up were once miners turned diamond smugglers. Many news papers have been covering this dump site as an explanation for the people who went missing during the last elections. Some were saying it was the government killing those who were going to vote against them; others said it was the opposition party resorting to the same tactics and the diamond smugglers thought they were home free as no one suspected them… until now! What supposedly happened was that these dead guys were being told that they would be paid for every diamond they smuggled out of the mine. The theory that they were told they would be killed [or their families harmed] if they didn’t co-operate has not been ruled out yet. As most of you will be aware: diamonds have come under great scrutiny in recent years due to the smuggling cartels surrounding them, so getting a few of these shiny stones out of a diamond mine is not exactly easy! So what did these resourceful smugglers tell the poor [now dead] miners? Simple, swallow it. And they did… and that is also why they were so brutally murdered. What I didn’t mention earlier about this mass grave is that they have been gutted. Someone actually took a knife and hacked into the body of this person they asked to smuggle the goods out only a few hours earlier. They then dug around in their intestines to look for that ingested pebble. Totally gross and really does give blood diamond a new visual image to work with.

It’s pretty messed up and again: all of it just for a few bucks… Ok, this is a bit gross and gory so you’ll have to wait to hear about the president until this feeling in my stomach goes away.

Sharing my view,

AM

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