South Africans To Buy Zimbabwe's Controversial Diamonds

The South African Diamond Precious and Precious Metals Regulator(SADPMR), has informed the international gem regulator, the Kimberly Process of its decision.

“South Africa has taken a position in support of Zimbabwe regarding exports of rough diamonds,” said a statement to SADPMR members signed by Dithuso Kgari, in-charge of KP corporate communication.

“On that note, we will accept imports of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe.”

The announcement by SADPMR comes at a time when South African mines minister has already rallied Pretoria’s support for Harare to trade its diamonds.

Last week, The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) said the Kimberley Process (KP) should allow Zimbabwe to sell her alluvial diamonds to avert an imminent shortage of the gems on the international market. WFDB, which is headquartered in Belgium, was formed in 1947 to provide markets to countries trading in rough and polished diamonds.

Zimbabwe, whose diamonds from the Chiadzwa fields reportedly can satisfy about 25 percent of world demand, has been barred by KP from selling the stones on alleged human rights violations. This however contradicts a decision taken by the diamond watchdog last year that gave the southern African country the green light to auction its precious stones.

WFDB president Avi Paz said in a statement that the global market and the sector as a whole would be severely strained if Zimbabwe remained banned.

Last year, Zimbabwe sold diamonds worth more than US$200 million from the first two publicized sales after satisfying the KP requirements. Currently, there are three miners exploiting the alluvial diamonds namely, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin and Marange Resources are only extracting and stockpiling the stones.