Zimbabwe’s fate as to whether it can sell its diamonds from Marange on the open market will be decided tomorrow but there is already a complication- the Kimberley Process plenary which is meeting in Jerusalem has no specific recommendation to act on. A diamond industry expert says the KP review mission which visited Zimbabwe is August made a few dozen recommendations on various issues but refrained from making any recommendation about exports of the country’s rough diamonds from Marange.
While the recommendation might be unnecessary because the compliance of the mines at Marange is no longer in doubt since they have been allowed to make two supervised sales, those opposed to allowing Zimbabwe to sell the Marange diamonds could capitalise on this even though it would not make any sense as the KP would have violated its own principles by allowing the two sales.
But Zimbabwe’s problems do not end there. According to the expert, the secretariat of the Working Group on Monitoring Zimbabwe’s diamonds sent the wrong version their draft report to a number of countries and non-governmental organisations.
Countries such as the United States and members of the European Union are against the sale of Marange’s diamonds because one of the major partners in the authorised mining companies, The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, is on their sanctions list.
Non-governmental organisations have been campaigning for the ban on Marange diamonds not to be lifted claiming that human rights abuses have not stopped and illegal sales that benefit Mugabe’s cronies continue.
Zimbabwe’s Mines Minister Obert Mpofu insists that his country has met all the requirements and will start selling its Marange diamonds in a matter of days.
Two mines are already operating at Marange and a third is coming on stream next month.
The two mines have only been allowed to sell three months’ production yet they have been operating for a year now.