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Inside the Marange diamond field
03:14 - Source: CNN

Watch the full story of the Marketplace Africa’s team inside Marange diamond fields at Friday March 16 1945, Saturday March 17 0245, 0515,1515, and Sunday March 18 0015, 1515 (All times GMT).

Story highlights

CNN granted exclusive access to the controversial Marange diamond fields

High voltage barbed wire fences surround the diamond mines, where workers are searched

Four Zimbabwe companies now can sell their diamonds on the international market

The human rights organization Global Witness called the decision "shocking"

Mutare, Zimbabwe CNN  — 

After weeks of negotiations with the government, CNN’s Marketplace Africa show has been granted access to the controversial Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe.

Some experts believe that Marange is the largest diamond discovery in generations but the find has been dogged by allegations of human rights abuses and corruption going right to the heart of Mugabe’s government.

There are four diamond companies operating in the area. With a large delegation of government minders in tow, CNN was first taken to visit Marange Resources. It is exclusively owned by the state-run company, the Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Corporation (ZMDC).

Security is tight. High voltage barbed wire fences surround the diamond mines and the processing plant’s equipment. Several full body searches are done as you get closer to the sorting area where the diamonds are picked from the dirt.

To avoid “leakages”, as it is called - or, in other words, worker theft – the diamonds are kept in a glass case and the sorters use gloves to drop the diamonds into an underground vault. The company says at no point in the extraction process does a human being touch any of the diamonds.

The mining manager of Marange Resources, Munashe Shava, tells CNN that “between our three plants we can produce a minimum of 200,000 carats every month.”

All four mining companies - Marange, Mbada, Anjin and DMC - ha