SRDSIL's deal worth $1.2 bn with Zimbabwe a let down

For the promoters of SRDSIL needed to sign the deal with the mining companies operating in Zimbabwe as the mines are joint ventures between private investors and government-owned companies. But Surat consortium led by its chairman Ashit Mehta signed the deal with Zimbabwe Diamond Consortium (ZDC) chairman Supa Mandiwanzira, a journalist by profession who has no diamonds to sell. The ZDC was formed two days ahead of signing of the MoU.

“The MoU with ZDC has been annulled as it was only for two months,” said Ashit Mehta, chairman of SRDSIL.

Now that the official export of rough diamond from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond field is caught in an imbroglio over the non-clearance from Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPSC) and the DTC officials keeping a close watch on its clients in Surat, who are part of the diamond consortium, the sightholders want to bid adieu to the consortium.

De Beer’s rough diamond marketing arm DTC had recently issued notices to all its sightholders advising them not to purchase any diamonds from Marange diamond fields that do not carry the authority of the Kimberley Process (KP).

The DTC said, “If any of our sightholders, acting alone or as part of the diamond consortium, is found to have purchased goods from Zimbabwe outside of the KP, then we would consider this as the breach of Best Practice Principle (BPP) requirements, a consequence of which could be to remove that sightholder from our list.”

“The deal was just a propaganda hoax. The DTC is keeping a close watch on all the sightholders in Surat,” said a DTC sightholder and one of the members of SRDSIL. “Even if the KP would have cleared rough diamonds from Zimbabwe, we would not have got it as the deal was struck with a person who doesn’t deal in diamonds.”

Nirav Jogani, official spokesperson of SRDSIL, said, “It is too early to predict the fate of SRSDIL. None of its members has backed off. Once Zimbabwe gets KP clearance, we may sign a fresh deal with some mining company there.”
-Times of India