Mining minister
Martin Kabwelulu
 
Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 April 2010

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will make the cleansing of all rough diamonds compulsory before export from mid-June this year, according to a document provided to Reuters by the country’s mines ministry.

Reuters quotes analysts here as saying that this move could raise the value of stones exported by the world’s No. 2 exporter by volume, but could also exacerbate the vast central African country’s deep-rooted smuggling problems.

In the decree signed on 15 April, DRC mining minister Martin Kabwelulu established the “obligatory de-oxidization of raw diamonds before export,” making cleaning compulsory before stones are valued and taxed. The final article of the decree, which was provided to Reuters by coordinator of the mining ministry’s technical office Dona Kampata, states that the measure will take effect 60 days after it was signed.

According to the government’s Centre for Valuation, Expertise and Certification on precious minerals, DRC exported 17.9 million carats of diamonds worth US$245 million (R1.8 billion) in 2009. The centre’s chief valuer Jean-Pierre Amuri told Reuters that systematic cleaning could boost the value of exports by 20 to 25%.

However, some analysts fear that the new regulation will encourage exporters who do not want to bear the cost of cleaning to smuggle their diamonds out of the country.