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Zimbabwe's controversial diamonds to be tendered this week

By IDEX Online

Diamonds from Zimbabwe's controversial Marange area are being tendered this week after receiving the Kimberley Process's go ahead. KP did not make the decision publicly known, creating confusion in the market.

diamonds-plead

The Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) is holding a tender in Harare this week offering an estimated 400,000 carats. Also holding a tender is the Chinese owned mine Anjin, which is tendering some 500,000 carats.

While Anjin was never accused of any wrong doings, DMC was under KP scrutiny and one of its owners, ZMDC, is under US economic sanctions. ZMDC holds a 50% stake in DMC, placing DMC and its goods under US sanctions as well.

Tentative approval of the exports was given in November at a KP meeting in Kinshasa, which conditioned exports on meeting KP standards, as verified by the monitoring team. The two monitors are Abbey Chikane and Mark Van Bockstael.

Last month, Chikane and Van Bockstael submitted their report, stating in their final conclusions:

"Based on the documents provided and on the findings during the compliance verification visit to the Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) Mine at Marange and the Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) Sorthouse in Harare from 9-10 December 2011 and from 5-7 January 2012, the KP Monitoring Team on Marange concludes that all operations and procedures are deemed fully KPCS compliant on 16 January 2011."

Finding DMC compliant, the KP Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) approved exports from DMC's mine. The WGM has not made a public announcement, and the approval spread by word of mouth from the miners to possible bidders, mainly Indian and Israeli rough diamond traders and manufacturers.

Two other Marange miners, Mbada and Marange Resources, are also in the process of offering goods, about 350,000 carats each.

The total value of the goods, estimated to average about $40 per carat, is $64 million.