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WDC Did Not Give Zim a 'Green Light' to Sell Rough

Jun 28, 2010 12:10 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... In a story published by the Zimbabwe Guardian today, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu was quoted as saying that the World Diamond Council (WDC) "has given Zimbabwe the green light to sell its diamonds, a move that would see the country contributing 25 percent of the world’s diamonds."

WDC's president, Eli Izhakoff, however, told Rapaport News that the story is "erroneous and absolutely not true. A green light can be given only by the Kimberley Process (KP)."

Despite this fact, the Guardian story further stated that "The approval by the WDC is a slap in the face of the KP and further discredits that organization."

Mpofu has been claiming that Zimbabwe is prepared to sell rough diamonds from its Marange fields, where human rights abuses have been reported. Today's Guardian article also ran his comments on a KP compliance report from the scheme's Zimbabwe monitor,  Abbey Chikane.

"The report was professional and was well received at the [Tel Aviv] meeting," Mpofu said. "The civilized countries accepted Chikane’s report, although the hostile nations rejected it.”

“The Western countries are a consortium of looters and for us to expect support from these countries would be naivety of the highest order," the Mines Minister continued. "We will no longer engage them when it comes to our diamonds. The hostile countries are determined to derail economic development. In any case, if they were credible, they could have recused themselves from deliberating on our diamonds because they have personal interests. All the noise and screams from the West is because they want to benefit from our rich mineral resources."

The story reported that Zimbabwe has more than 4 million carats of diamonds worth up to $1.7 billion, all of which are awaiting export, with the diamonds currently stockpiled by Mbada Holdings and Canadile Miners.

LH

Tags: Abbey Chikane, Compliance, Jeff Miller, Kimberley Process, Marange Fields, World Diamond Council, Zimbabwe
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