HomeNewsZim exports 7,1m carats

Zim exports 7,1m carats


Zimbabwe exported 7,15 million carats of diamonds in 2011 through 148 Kimberley Process (KP) certificates as restrictions on exports from the Marange area curbed sales.

The Kimberley Process cancelled 44 certificates in the year, the organisation which monitors trade in diamonds, said in its annual country report.

“The year 2011 remained a difficult year for rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe due to protracted restrictions on exports produced from the Marange area, leading to the cancellation of many certificates,” according to a statement from the process.

According to the KP, Zimbabwe did not experience any fraudulent certificates in 2011 and has never experienced fraudulent certificates since the commencement of the KPCS in 2003.

“Despite the administrative decision on Zimbabwe November 2011 adopted by the Kinshasa plenary meeting that allows rough diamond exports from the Marange area, the export process still remains constrained by sanctions imposed on the country by some KP participant states,” KP said in its report.

Access to Marange is controlled by Zimbabwe security forces and data is rarely released.
Several closely held mining companies from South Africa, China and Dubai dig diamonds in the area in joint ventures with State-run Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC).

The United States, European Union, Australia and New Zealand have imposed trade restrictions on Zimbabwean companies including ZMDC over accusations of human rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

In its report, KP said last year 99 accused persons were arrested for illegal possession of rough diamonds resulting in the recovery of 1 205,56 carats.

New York-based Human Rights Watch in 2008 said at least 200 people were killed by security forces in Marange in an operation to remove illegal miners.

The Marange diamond fields were seized from UK-based African Consolidated Resources Plc in 2006.

The fields were then divided between Mbada Mining Limited, Canadile Mining and China’s Anjin.

Rio Tinto Plc’s Murowa Mine and closely held River Ranch Mine in Zimbabwe aren’t subject to Kimberley Process scrutiny because accusations haven’t been made against them.

ZMDC chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa on Monday told NewsDay that new measures by United States and the EU requiring processors of rough diamonds to disclose the origin of the gems had put a squeeze on local diamond firms operating in Marange.

He said the measures were meant to deal with the country’s diamonds that were finding their way onto the international market despite economic sanctions slapped on the companies.

“Our major diamond market is India, as it is the largest cutting and polishing market. What America has done is to ask for the source of diamonds,” Masimirembwa said.

Last month, Finance minister Tendai Biti revised downwards the 2012 Budget to $3,8 billion due to non-performance of diamond revenue.

Treasury had projected $600 million from proceeds of diamond sales by year end, but official figures show that only $41,6 million have so far been channelled to government coffers.

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