7 February 2012 – Up to 1.5 million carats worth of diamonds are being auctioned this week by companies allowed to mine the controversial Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe.
New Zimbabwe reports that one Chinese company, Anjin Investments, will tender about half a million carats while another, Diamond Mining Corporation, will offer up 400,000.

Two other companies, Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources, are each expected to put about 350,000 carats up for the auction which will likely attract rough dealers and merchants from India and Israel.

Zimbabwe is expected to realize about US$46 million from the auction.

MINING.com reported at the end of June the seemingly unilateral decision by the chairman of the Kimberly Process,  the international diamond trade watchdog, to allow Zimbabwe to resume diamond exports has been rejected by among others the United States, Canada and Israel.

However, New Zimbabwe reports that verification by third-party monitors in December and January concluded that mining operations in the area were compliant with KP standards.

The article also notes that Zimbabwe diamonds, at $40 a carat, are cheap compared to other countries selling the gems at $100 a carat, which is attracting interest from the world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat, India.

Zimbabwe is set to become the world’s leading producer, with an expected volume of 40m carats per year worth some $2bn annually from the rich deposits in Chiadzwa and Marange.

The troubled country, emerging from years of hyperinflation and political turmoil, was however barred from selling diamonds because of alleged human rights violations and has built up a stockpile worth $4bn–$5bn.