Diamonds/Kimberley Process


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)

A major gems company has reiterated a trade ban on all diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields despite an official sale last week.

The Rapaport Group said it would expel members of its global Rapnet diamond trading network if they sold them.

Zimbabwe sold $72m (£46m) worth of diamonds in the first release from Marange since the body overseeing trade in “blood diamonds” lifted a ban.

But Rapaport said the Kimberly Process could not guarantee human rights.

The Kimberley Process suspended diamond exports from Zimbabwe last November in response to allegations of atrocities committed by the military at Marange, in the east of the country, in 2008.

But last month, it ruled that abuses had ceased and said Zimbabwe could resume limited exports.

However, there has been concern that Zimbabwe’s army still controls and benefits from the mines at Marange

“There is no assurance that diamonds with KP certification are free of human rights violations,” Rapaport group chairman Martin Rapaport said in a letter to members.

Rapnet claims to be the world’s largest diamond trading network, with members in more than 70 countries and daily online listings of gems worth more than $4bn.

Zimbabwe’s unity government, in power for the last 18 months, has been trying to stabilise an economy hit by rampant inflation and shortages of food and fuel.

Diamonds from the Marange field could see the country become one of the world’s top six exporters and generate $1.7bn a year.

A review of conditions at Marange will be carried out in September by a Kimberley Process monitor, after which Zimbabwe may be able to resume full exports.

The Kimberley Process was set up in 2002 after the diamond trade was accused of fuelling several conflicts in Africa.

(Source)