By Vladimir Mzaca
Zimbabwe will hold two auctions this year to sell its stockpile of diamonds mined between 2006 and 2009. The country was granted permission to conduct sales and export diamonds by the Kimberley Process at a meeting in Brussels last year.
The meeting was a sequel to the one held earlier in Jerusalem where a stalemate was reached on the Zimbabwe issue. However, Zimbabwe did not have a representative at the November 29 meeting because the Minister of Mines was on leave.
“No one attended the Brussels meeting but we got a letter confirming that we had complied with the Kimberley Process’s minimum requirements, so Mbanda and Canadile were given permission to go ahead with their operations,” said the Deputy Minister of Mines Gift Chimanikire.
Chimanikire said the two companies will go ahead with their operations but under the watchful eye of the Kimberley Process. If their operations fall below the minimum requirements, they could be stopped. New miners coming into the fray have to submit their papers and within 15 working days – if granted permission – they could start operations.
In the past few years Zimbabwe has been trying to get recognition to sell its diamonds to the international market legally. However, reasons that range from human-rights abuse to political instability earned the Zimbabwean gems the tag of being blood diamonds.
In the past, the chaotic production at Marange diamond fields and smuggling resulted in monitoring by the World Diamond Council. In July last year, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme agreed that diamonds from Marange could be sold on the international market. Times Live.co.za