THE European Union officially lifted its trade embargo on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) with effect from yesterday, paving way for the export of diamonds from Marange Diamond Fields in Manicaland to EU member countries.
In a statement yesterday, Belgium-based Antwerp World Diamond Centre, which facilitates the trade of 84% of all rough diamonds and 50% of polished gems, said it received the EU notification of the lifting of the ban on Zimbabwean diamonds on Tuesday.
The statement reads: “Today (Tuesday) the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) received notice from the Federal Public Service Economy that European Union (EU) sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation were lifted.
“Rough diamonds with Kimberley Process certificates will be permitted into the EU beginning September 25, 2013 (yesterday).”
The centre said as a result of the lifting of the trade embargo, ZMDC was now free to export rough diamonds from its joint venture partners Marange Resources, Canadile, Mbada Diamonds, Kimberworth Investments and Diamond Mining Corporation.
“The rough diamonds have to be packed in a tamper-resistant container and accompanied by a valid Kimberley Process Certificate for entry into the EU. As the world’s most important trade centre in rough diamonds, the AWDC has always respected the EU restrictive measures. Thanks to the support of the Belgian authorities, the decision to lift the restrictive measures will result in diamonds commercialised by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), to be sold at their optimal market value instead of the current lower prices in other markets.”
EU sanctions were originally imposed against President Robert Mugabe and his allies in 2002 on the grounds of political violence, human rights abuses and the failure to hold free and fair elections.
AWDC said the opening of the market for Antwerp-based trading companies would have a positive impact on mining revenue, boost Zimbabwe’s social and economic development and improve transparency in the marketing of the gemstones.
“In addition, this decision will also improve the position of the EU within the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
The EU decision to maintain restrictive measures was incompatible with the decision taken at the KPCS plenary meeting on November 30, 2012, to lift all measures on the trade of Marange diamonds.”
The KPCS was established in 2003 to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough diamond market.