Surat Rough Diamond Sourcing India Limited, a consortium of 1 500 diamantaires which signed a deal with Zimbabwe in October under which it was to be guaranteed US$1.2 billion worth of rough diamonds a year from Marange is now desperate after its government ruled that no one should purchase Zimbabwe’s diamonds because they had not been cleared by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
The diamantaires have decided to appeal for support from the Gujarat government because they are short of raw materials to sustain the cutting industry. The Times of India says that though they are getting raw material from giant mining companies like Russia’s Alrosa, De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company (DTC) and Rio Tinto, this is grossly insufficient and has reduced the polished diamond production by more than 30 per cent.
Diamonds from Marange were expected to create 250 000 jobs in Surat, but the deal was scuttled first because the SRDSL entered into a deal with a company that does not have any diamonds. The only person who was part of the deal who had access to diamonds was Lovemore Kurotwi, a director of Canadile but his company has now been allegedly kicked out of Marange and Kurotwi is facing charges of fraudulently acquiring the diamond claims in Marange.
The deal had been signed in anticipation that Zimbabwe would be cleared by the KPCS at the plenary meeting in Israel at the beginning of November but there was a stalemate with Western countries insisting that Zimbabwe should not be cleared because of its human rights violations.
African diamond producers argued that the country should be allowed to sell its diamonds because its mines were KP compliant. They accused the West of barring Zimbabwe from selling its diamonds to protect Canadian and Australian producers.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United Nations Chitsaka Chipaziwa said Western countries were barring Zimbabwe’s diamonds simply because the precious stones were not under their control.
Zimbabwe is reported to have diamond reserves that could constitute more than 25 percent of the world’s previous gems.
Industry experts fear that the continued barring of Zimbabwe’s diamonds from the open market could benefit China which already operates one of the mines in Marange. China is aiming to beat India as the diamond cutting and polishing centre.