Chiadzwa Diamond Sales Shelved in Zimbabwe

Published on Saturday 9th January 2010

GOVERNMENT yesterday shelved the auction of 300 000 carats of diamonds by Mbada Diamonds to ensure that all requirements of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme are followed.

Besides the need to have an external Kimberley monitor present, there were also national requirements that had to be met before the diamonds could be sold.

Mbada Diamonds, a company formed by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and South African company Grandwell, on Tuesday announced the first sale of diamonds from Chiadzwa at its processing facility at the Harare International Airport.

The company also announced that several diamond buyers from as far as America, Europe, Asia and Africa were already in the country for the auction that was expected to end tomorrow.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Mr Thankful Musukutwa said the auction had been stopped until the correct laid-down process was followed.

"The due process for selling diamonds produced in Zimbabwe involves the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, ZRP Minerals Unit and Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, where diamonds from Marange are concerned. In the case of Mbada Diamonds, this process is yet to happen.

"The Government of Zimbabwe observes and is committed to the administrative decision of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme adopted at Swakopmund, Namibia, during the November 2009 plenary meeting," he said.

Government and the KPCS agreed during the plenary meeting that all shipments from all production sites in the Marange area be subjected to scrutiny and certification by a KP monitor before export.

This had not been followed.

Mr Musukutwa said this was to ensure that the production and export of rough diamonds complied with the minimum standards of the Kimberley Process.

Government and KPCS, he said, were in the process of engaging the KP monitor hence no export would be done prior to certification by the monitor as agreed in a joint workplan.

"The public and the diamond community in particular is, therefore, being advised that there will be no sales or exports of diamonds by Mbada Diamonds and any other affected producers in Marange until all Government regulations and KPCS requirements are observed in their entirety."

Mbada Diamonds' chairman Dr Robert Mhlanga reiterated that his company was ready to sell 300 000 carats of diamonds from the diamond fields in Chiadzwa.

"We have had discussions with the Government and we need to clarify that we are ready to sell 300 000 carats.

"We also have another 300 000 carats of diamonds ready for auction, as we indicated yesterday, next week but subject to the terms and conditions of the Government and KPCS," he said.

Dr Mhlanga said his company had engaged officials from the MMCZ for an independent valuation of the diamonds to be auctioned.

Mr Musukutwa also indicated that the certification process has started while they are waiting for the KP monitor to come to Zimbabwe.

Government and the KPCS have agreed on a Joint Working Plan to be implemented through the ZMDC and investors that include curbing illegal digging in the fields, curbing leakages and smuggling.

The plenary meeting in Namibia agreed that a KP monitor evaluates shipments of raw diamonds from the diamond fields while shipments of the diamonds require certification before export.

Government will also need to make an independent valuation of the diamonds through its arms before the sale or export of the raw diamonds.


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