Trade alert as South Africa allows Zimbabwe diamond exports

United States diamond trading company Rapaport has issued a trade alert that the South African diamond regulator is reportedly ignoring Kimberley Process “Zimbabwe sanctions” by allowing imports and exports of KP certified Marange diamonds.

The South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator is reported to have sent out a circular to members saying it now accepts imports of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe.

A spokesman for the regular, however, said the circular had been intended for internal use but had been leaked to the media but said a statement will be issued after a meeting of the KP in Kinshasa this month.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the current chair of the KP and the chair Mathieu Yamba gave Zimbabwe the go-ahead to sell its diamonds at the beginning of the year after a stalemate from the Israel Plenary in November last year but KP members said Yamba had no mandate to do that.

The KP has given Zimbabwe conditions to sell its diamonds because of alleged human rights violations but Zimbabwe has rejected them saying it does not want any pre-conditions because its mines meet KP guidelines.

The South African government has said Zimbabwe should be allowed to sell its diamonds without any pre-conditions. Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu clearly stated the government position on Wednesday in response to a complaint from Democratic Alliance shadow minister for Mineral Resources Hendrik Smit who was querying the regulator’s position.

“On the issue of the Kimberly Protocol, the allegations you are making on the Kimberly Protocol, please do me a favour, read the Kimberly Protocol, understand the regulations and understand the role of the Kimberly Protocol chair. Zimbabwe are compliant. Acquaint yourself with that decision, read the role of the Kimberly Protocol chair,” Shabangu was quoted as saying.

The Surat Rough Diamond Sourcing India Limited (SRSDIL) - a consortium formed by Surat diamantaires to directly source rough diamonds from African nations – has reportedly urged the Indian government to take cue from South Africa.

Surat, the world’s biggest diamond polishing centre is hungry for Marange diamonds as they will create 250 000 jobs in the Indian city.

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