Abbey Chikane, the out of control and all sorts Kimberley Process (KP) Monitor for Zimbabwe, has reportedly returned to that country on his own initiative last week and has cleared a batch of Marange diamonds for export. KP did not approve the resumption of such exports and the Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) had not sanctioned Chikane’s mission.

The fate of Zimbabwe’s diamond exports were not decided on at the recent KP Plenary in Jerusalem and therefore the WGM had not sanctioned another mission to country.

Diamond industry sources confirmed to IDEX Online that Chikane had gone back to Zimbabwe on his own and had certified diamonds.

The diamonds had reportedly not left Zimbabwe at the time of writing and it was unclear as to where the diamonds might be headed. Indian industry sources said they were closely watching the situation and were trying to ascertain exactly what was happening on the ground in Zimbabwe.

The value, volume and source of the diamonds that have been reportedly cleared for export by Chikane are also not known at this time.

Stephane Chardon, chairman of the WGM, said, “I am not aware of Mr. Chikane’s personal travel plans.” When asked whether goods had indeed been certified in Zimbabwe, Chardon replied, “Not by the Kimberley Process.” He went on to say, “The KP is in close contact with all the major stakeholders involved in this issue and we are working towards a negotiated settlement.” He declined further comment.

The country has three different stockpiles of goods. Diamonds mined in 2007-2009 by illegal miners, diamonds mined by Canadile and Mbada since that time and until May 28, 2010 when Chikane made his first mission to Zimbabwe and goods mined since the last auction in September.

Diamonds mined between the end of May and mid-September were approved for exports and were auctioned in two batches – in August and in September.