The Government will in future not announce diamond sales for security reasons and in line with international standards governing marketing of the precious stones.

Zimbabwe last month sold 1,1 million carats of diamonds from the two companies mining in Chiadzwa – Mbada and Canadile, after industry regulator the Kimberly Process Certification System allowed a once-off supervised sale while it checked levels of compliance with minimum production standards.

The KPCS had last November banned sale of the gems after some Western countries and civic groups alleged human rights violations in their production.

In terms of the agreement that the Government reached with the KPCS, a second supervised sale would be conducted this month after which if the regulator was satisfied, the country would be allowed to resume sales without conditions.

KP appointed monitor to Zimbabwe, Mr Abbey Chikane is expected in the country to certify another batch of diamonds for the second sale.

Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary, Mr Thankful Musukutwa refused to disclose the dates when Mr Chikane would be in the country nor when the second sale would be conducted.

Mr Musukutwa said diamond sales should be private like anywhere else in the world. “Conducting a diamond sale should be a private thing.

“It is not a good thing to publicise it for security reasons,” he said. “In other countries they do not publicise such events. That is not the way to operate the diamond industry. This is the ideal position we want to take,” he added.

He said diamond buyers preferred to bid for the precious stones far from the prying attention of the media.

Keeping the lid on future sales did not mean that Government was hiding something, as maintaining the requisite security standards was critical towards successful diamond sales, he said.

“It is not to say we do not want to share information, but security concerns are forcing us to be silent on that issue,” Mr Musukutwa said.

Contacted earlier on to confirm dates when Mr Chikane was due in the country for the certification process, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu was evasive. “I do not know when he will be coming. Speak to him he will tell you,” he said.

The government grossed US$54,5 million from the August supervised sale after the two mining companies in which it owns 50 percent took their share.

(Source)