Zimbabwe diamonds saga takes another twist


-DRC chairman gives Marange go ahead to export its diamonds

The Zimbabwe diamonds saga has taken another twist with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme chairman Mathieu Yamba allowing Zimbabwe to export its rough diamonds from Marange with immediate effect.

There was, however, an immediate backlash with the United States threatening to deal with any company or country that buys the Marange diamonds because one of the major partners at the Marange Mines, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, is under United States sanctions.

The US said it will publish the names of companies that buy Marange diamonds on its State Department website and will ask its Office of Foreign Assets Control, which administers the Zimbabwe sanctions, to look more closely at these transactions.

Canada also said the Marange diamonds are still illegal and it will explore all its options under its domestic laws to ensure that Marange diamonds, rough or finished, are not imported into the country.

Yamba gave Zimbabwe the go-ahead to export its diamonds last Saturday. He said Mbada and Canadile could export their stockpile as well as current production, excluding the 2007-2009 stockpile.

He said he had reached this decision because it was clear that there was not going to be any consensus on the Marange diamonds.

The last KP plenary in Jerusalem in November last year failed to reach a decision on Zimbabwe, but the country was however given a conditional agreement to sell its diamonds in January but declined the offer saying it wanted an unconditional agreements since its mines met the KP guidelines.

Yamba said Zimbabwe should be allowed to sell its diamonds until the intercessional meeting in Kinshasa from 20 to 23 November 2011. He said the KP monitor will verify the continued compliance of the Marange mines.

Zimbabwe is reported to be producing between 1 million and 2.5 million carats a month and they are reportedly getting into the market outside the KP system.

Here is Yamba’s letter in full:

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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