Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 August 2010
A leading diamond trading network in the United States has barred its members from dealing in stones from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields, saying their certification by global regulators did not guarantee they were free from human rights abuses.
The Kimberley Process (KP) certification scheme, set up to keep ‘blood diamonds’ “’ stones from conflict zones “’ out of global gem trade, last week endorsed the sale of 900 000 carats from Zimbabwe’s controversial Marange fields.
Human rights activists have called for a ban on diamonds from Marange, where Zimbabwe’s army is accused of widespread atrocities after it moved in to guard the poorly secured fields after a diamond rush had attracted up to 30 000 illegal diggers.
Reuters reports from here that the United States-based Rapaport Diamond Trading Network said that although the Marange diamonds had received KP endorsement, it would not allow its members to trade in them.
“Members found to have knowingly offered Marange diamonds for sale on RapNet will be expelled and their names will be publicly communicated,” it said in a statement.
Zimbabwe, which denies rights abuses at the Marange fields, says it has stockpiled nearly
four million carats of diamonds since the start of the year, estimated by state media to be worth US$1.7 billion (R12.7 billion).
The power-sharing government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last year in a bid to end a decade-long political and economic crisis, has said that it hopes diamond revenues can help fix the struggling economy.