Zimbabwe has sold diamonds from its Marange mines worth almost US$100 million at two auctions held in the first quarter of this year according to information released today. The first auction was in Belgium in February where it sold 960 000 carats and the second in Dubai last month. It sold 381 000 carats. The two auctions netted US$99 million. The country is expected to produce anything up to 16 million carats this year. Zimbabwe has been selling its diamonds through middlemen because of sanctions by the European Union and the United States. EU sanctions were lifted last year following pressure from Belgium which felt it was losing out. The United States sanctions are still in force. The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has promised the best prices for Zimbabwe diamonds and will help with beneficiation. Zimbabwe is now among the top five diamond producers in the world and is likely to produce a quarter of the world’s diamonds in future.