The diamond evaluator is responsible for rendering technical advice to the government and relevant industry stakeholders on valuations, pricing and market fluctuations of diamonds in accordance with the laws.
Government suspects that big local miners are double-dealers who do not fully declare accurate amounts in diamond sales and other necessary processes, thus resulting in revenue losses while the mines rake in huge sums of money.
The mines on the other hand are discontented that the government is contemplating to bring on board a diamond evaluator to, among others oversee all the necessary transactions and other processes involving diamond sales as well as revenue allocations.
This was announced by the Minister of Mining Serialong Qoo, during a media briefing on Monday.
Lesotho is one of Africa’s significant diamond producers, hosting major diamond mines like Letšeng Diamond which is ran by Gem Diamonds, Kao Mine, operated by Namakwa Diamonds as well as Mothae Mine which is ran by Lucapa Diamonds Mine and Liqhobong Mine operated by Firestone Diamonds.
Mr Qoo said his ministry has been allocated a budget estimated at M25 million to cater for the appointment of the diamond evaluator. The allocation comes from the department of projects in the Ministry of Planning and Development.
“Yes, we suspect that we are losing huge sums of money from the mining industry considering the way things are done at the moment. So what we are doing at the moment is to verify that we are indeed being swindled by the mines,” he said.
He was, however, quick to note that the mines are not happy with the development, adding that the government is ready for a fight because it is time for all transactions to be clear going forward.
“What is happening right now is that the mines provide us with all the information regarding recovery and sale of diamonds and we accept it without digging deeper into what they are saying.