Tel Aviv, Israel — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 June 2010 – The government of Zimbabwe plans to begin selling diamond stockpiles from its Marange fields immediately, whether this week’s meeting of regulators of the trade gives the go-ahead for sales or not.
“I would like to take this opportunity to advise that Zimbabwe will be immediately exporting its diamond stockpiles because we are Kimberley Process (KP) compliant and we need the money to drive the economy forward,” minister of mines and mining development Obert Moses Mpofu told a meeting of some 70 KP members here. “We have invited the KP monitor to continue discharging his mandate under the supervised export arrangement.”
The minister spoke at a session closed to the media, but he provided Reuters with a copy of his speech. He later told Reuters: “I am going to sell the diamonds.”
Civil society groups have urged the KP certification scheme to suspend ties with Zimbabwe because of human rights abuses in its Marange fields.
While the meeting was due to end on last night, 2010 KP chairman Boaz Hirsch said delegates had not been able to reach a consensus on Zimbabwe and were continuing to meet. “There has been quite a lively discussion with a whole spectrum of opinions expressed,” he told reporters.
Mpofu voiced concern that some were using the process to keep Zimbabwe’s diamonds out of the market. “Zimbabwe will be contributing more than 30% of the diamonds produced in the world,” he said. “We shall be selling with certificates issued by ourselves and in this regard the KP monitor will be free to supervise the exports.”
The Kimberley Process “’ a certification scheme set up to monitor diamond trade “’ angered human rights groups and diamond traders this month when a monitor it appointed to assess the mining operations at Marange said Zimbabwe had met the minimum conditions set by the regulator, and could start gem exports.
The KP’s meeting in Tel Aviv will be followed by a higher level meeting in November in Jerusalem.