Zimbabwe expects $600 million from diamonds

AP News
Posted: Nov 24, 2011 11:11 AM
Zimbabwe expects $600 million from diamonds

Zimbabwe's finance minister says he will plow $600 million in new revenue from diamonds into the nation's ailing health, water and power services.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti says since the world diamond regulatory body eased controls on diamond exports this month he has been promised the money next year, and "I pray it will be more."

Biti presented the national budget to lawmakers Thursday. He said the diamond exports will enable proposed government expenditure in 2012 to reach $4 billion.

Massive diamond deposits were discovered in eastern Zimbabwe in 2006 but exports have been restricted. Rights groups described them as "blood diamonds" amid evidence of killings and human rights violations, but this month the Kimberley Process control body said Zimbabwe now met minimum standards allowing for legalized exports.