Billion dollar diamond deal off

The billion dollar diamond deal which would have seen Zimbabwe selling rough diamonds worth $1.2 billion a year to the Surat Rough Diamond Sourcing India Limited is off, according to the Times of India.

The deal which was announced with a lot of fanfare in October last year was signed by the Surat consortium of about 1 500 diamantaires led by chairman Ashit Mehta and the Zimbabwe Diamond Consortium whose chairman Supa Mandiwanzira is a journalist and does not own any diamond mine.

The ZDC was formed just two days before the signing of the memorandum of understanding.

Mehta told the Times of India that said the MOU with ZDC had now been annulled as it was only for two months.

The deal was signed a month before the crucial Kimberley Process Certification Scheme plenary meeting in Jerusalem which was supposed to give Zimbabwe the go-ahead to export its diamonds from Marange.

The meeting failed to reach an agreement. Zimbabwe was given a conditional go-ahead in January this year but has declined the offer saying it wants to sell its diamonds without any conditions because its mines are compliant with the KP guidelines.

Zimbabwe is therefore effectively barred from exporting its diamonds from Marange.

The Times of India  also says the Surat consortium had signed the deal with the wrong people. It should have signed the deal with the diamond mining companies that are involved in joint ventures with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

Surat is desperately in need of rough diamonds. The Marange diamonds alone would have created 250 000 jobs in Surat according to reports.

Zimbabwe is going ahead with its diamond mining expansion in Marange despite the KP ban.

Three mining companies, Mbada, Marange Resources and Anjin are operating in the area.

Reports say two other companies, Pure Dian from the United Arab Emirates and Sino-Zimbabwe have been granted licences.

ZMDC chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa said the parastatals had received more than 150 applications from local and international investors who want to licences to operate in Marange.

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