Africa > Southern Africa > Zimbabwe > Zimbabwe diamond exports approved

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe diamond exports approved


 Zimbabwe diamond exports approved

An international ban on Zimbabwe selling diamonds from several of its rich eastern Marange mines has been lifted by the industry's watchdog. The World Diamond Council (WDC) said it welcomed the decision, reached in talks involving the US, European Union (EU) and African countries. The EU and US had blocked previous attempts to lift the ban. It was imposed in 2009 following allegations that Zimbabwean military officers had a stake in the industry.

Europe's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU supported the lifting of the ban because of "a renewed commitment by Zimbabwe to address outstanding areas of noncompliance", the Reuters news agency reports. The agreement was reached at a meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo of the Kimberley Process, a watchdog body which certifies international trade in diamonds to ensure they are not used to fuel conflicts.
'Decisive victory'

In a statement, the WDC said the breakthrough paved the way for the immediate export of rough diamonds from the mining operations of two companies, Marange Resources and Mbada.

Credit also is due to Zimbabwe, the African nations led by South Africa, the US, and a host of individuals and delegates who put in long hours in negotiating the arrangement”  Eli Izhakoff World Diamond Council president

The Zimbabwe government wholly owns Marange Resources and has a 50% stake in Mbada, which it co-owns with South African investors, Reuters reports. Other companies such as Anjin Zimbabwe, a 50-50 joint venture between the Zimbabwean and Chinese governments, will begin to export after a Kimberley Process verification team visits their operations in the next two weeks, it reports.

WDC President Eli Izhakoff described the deal as a milestone.

"[It] demonstrates categorically that the Kimberley Process provides the framework through which the integrity of the rough diamond chain of distribution can be protected, while at the same time enabling producing countries [to] gain benefit from their natural resources," he said.

Mr Izhakoff said the EU had played a key role in ending the deadlock.

"Credit also is due to Zimbabwe, the African nations led by South Africa, the US, and a host of individuals and delegates who put in long hours in negotiating the arrangement," he said.

In June, the DR Congo government - after hosting a meeting of the Kimberley Process group - issued a statement, saying consensus had been reached on lifting the ban. Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper said the lifting of the ban heralded a "decisive victory in the struggle against Western economic hegemony". Zimbabwe stands to earn more than $3bn (£1.8bn) a year from the three Marange mines, it reports.

The ban was imposed in 2009, following allegations that some mines in Marange are controlled by Zimbabwe's military, who channel funds to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Human rights groups also claimed that people were forced to work on the mines and some of them were badly assaulted.

The authorities in Zimbabwe denied the allegations.

Zimbabwe is currently governed by a coalition made up of Zanu-PF and its main rival, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The coalition was formed in 2009, following elections marred by violence. Analysts say it has achieved stability in Zimbabwe, but tensions are rising again ahead of elections expected next year.

Related Articles
  • Winter Maize Gets Lifeline Tagged in Zimbabwe

    2015/06/07 Lowveld sugar producer Tongaat Hulett has revived winter maize production in Chiredzi, with 329 hectares instantly under development to plant the staple crop. This is part of efforts to mitigate effects of successive crippling droughts experienced across Masvingo in recent seasons. The move by Tongaat followed a request from Government and the Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial leadership led by secretary for production Cde Josaya Hungwe. At least 1 000 tonnes of maize will be produced under the project, with harvesting of the winter crop expected around September this year.
  • President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday blamed unemployment in South Africa

    2015/05/24 Admitting he was spewing "poison", President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday blamed unemployment in South Africa for the vicious xenophobic attacks against foreigners there, inclunding Zimbabweans. Clearly revelling in his role as Africa's political grandee and elder statesman, Mugabe claimed that Africa's second biggest economy needed help from its poorer neighbours. "We must help them; they need an extra liberation," said the veteran leader who, at 91, is old enough to be the father of most SADC leaders.
  • Mugabe Off to Russia for Victory Day Celebrations

    2015/05/07 RUSSIA will on Saturday hold its annual Victory Day parade, commemorating the end of World War II in Europe with President Vladmir Putin expected to show off his new Armata T-14 battle tank part other military hardware. Some EU leaders are staying away, protesting Putin's military adventures in Ukraine but China and India will attend, along with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.
  • Sanctions Case to Cost Zim U.S. $10 Million Zimbabwe

    2015/05/02 THE dismissal of an appeal by Zimbabwe's Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana and 122 other people, inclunding top police and army officers inclunding 11 companies "with costs", could cost the country over US$10 million. In dismissing the case, the General Court, second only to the European Court of Justice, said the appellants were correctly identified as being close to President Robert Mugabe's government and its "critical infringement of human rights". Government hired two London barristers, one of them being David Vaughan QC (Queen's Counsel) and an extra, Sarah Lee. QCs are top barristers who can charge on average £5 000 (US$7 500) per hour in legal fees. The Zimbabweans were being instructed by top lawyer Michael O'Kane of Peters and Peters Solicitors LLP.
  • China, will continue to encourage its enterprises and financial institutions in Zimbabwe

    2015/04/28 Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Thursday with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, and pledged support for the African country's socioeconomic development. China, Xi said, will continue to encourage its enterprises and financial institutions to explore mutually beneficial financial cooperation with their Zimbabwean counterparts so as to help fund Zimbabwe's vital infrastructure construction. Beijing as well supports them participating in the construction of Zimbabwe's appropriate economic zones and beefing up bilateral cooperation in such areas as agriculture, manufacturing, education and medical care, Xi added.