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KP Monitor Says Zimbabwe Is Compliant

Jun 8, 2010 7:07 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Zimbabwe has met the minimum requirements to gain Kimberley Process (KP) certification for diamonds from its Marange fields, Abbey Chikane, the KP monitor for the country, told Rapaport News.

Chikane could not comment further at this time, but confirmed that a report from his visit to the country in May recommends that the KP clear the Marange stones for exportationa.

It is unclear whether all operations at Marange, including those conducted by Mbada Diamond and Canadile Resources, have met with the organization’s required standards in full or in part. Questions also remain regarding the diamond inventory that was recovered at the field prior to KP monitoring.

The approval comes two weeks before the KP's intercessional meeting, which will be held on June 21 in Israel, with Zimbabwe’s participation in the KP Certification Scheme (KPCS) expected to take center stage at the event.

Chikane was appointed to monitor activity at Marange in March as part of a joint work plan designed by both the KP and Zimbabwe's government to bring the mines in line with international standards. The government recruited Mbada and Canadile to partner in operating the Marange mine after the country faced suspension from the KP, following reports of government-instigated killings and human rights violations in the Marange fields.

During the suspension period, however, there were numerous accounts of continued smuggling from the mine. Rapaport News obtained documentation showing that at least 276,838 carats of diamonds from Marange were exported to Dubai by the state-owned Marange Resources in the first four months of the year. In addition, Rapaport News has learned that approximately 600,000 carats of additional Marange stock are about to be exported to various destinations without certification.

A previous report by Chikane showed that between October 2006, when the government first took over the mine, and February 2010, 4.4 million carats of diamonds were mined at Marange, 1.6 million carats of which were sold, leaving 2.76 million carats of inventory still waiting to be exported. Mining has continued in the Marange fields since February.

According to AFP, in his latest report, Chikane urged diamond-producing countries in southern Africa to help Zimbabwe regulate artisanal mining, appraise its diamonds and provide security in the fields, as Zimbabwe faced difficulties in managing a number of challenges there.

"The economic situation in Zimbabwe renders the government incapable of dealing with some of these challenges," AFP quoted the report as saying.

The government has increased its pressure on the KP to clear the diamonds ahead of the June meeting in Tel Aviv, banning all diamond exports, including from Rio Tinto’s Murowa mine and the River Ranch mine, until the organization approves the Marange exports. It also arrested Farai Maguwu, the director of the Centre for Research & Development (CRD) for allegedly passing on sensitive information to Chikane during his visit.

Maguwu is scheduled to appear in the Harare magistrates’ court on Monday, June 8, Zimbabwe's News Day reported.

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Tags: Avi Krawitz, Abbey Chikane, Avi Krawitz, Dubai, Government, Israel, Kimberley Process, Marange Fields, Rio Tinto, Zimbabwe
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