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Kimberley Process Chair Authorizes Marange Exports

Mar 21, 2011 7:47 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... The Kimberley Process chairman has unilaterally authorized Zimbabwe to resume exports of diamonds mined at the Marange fields.

“With immediate effect, Zimbabwe is hereby authorized to resume exports from the compliant mining operations of Mbada and Canadile (Marange Resources),” Mathieu Yamba, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) wrote in a letter sent to Kimberley Process participants and observers, obtained by Rapaport News.

Yamba added that the exports will include the stockpile of diamonds held from the two concessions as well current production. He did not authorize exports of diamonds mined between 2007 and 2009, held by various other sources.

Sources noted that the U.S. has objected to the decision and sent a note to the Kimberley Process authorities in India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stating that it would view any shipments proceeding as a result of the decision as non-compliant. Reports indicate that the European Union (EU) have also raised an objection.

The U.S. warned that it would publish the names of companies taking delivery of these goods on the State Department website to ensure that U.S. companies are aware of potential non-compliant goods that may be in their supplier’s stocks, and ask the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers U.S. sanctions, to look more closely at the issue of these transactions.  

OFAC has listed the Zimbabwe Minerals and Development Corporation (ZMDC), the state run parent company which owns Marange Resources, on its sanctions list.

Negotiations to allow the exports failed at the Kimberley Process plenary meeting in Jerusalem in November 2010. Further talks broke down in January after Israel, in its capacity as 2010 chair, initiated a final effort to bring all Kimberley Process members into written consensus regarding the ‘Jerusalem agreement’ proposal. Following an initial announcement by Israel’s chairman Boaz Hirsch stating that consensus had been reached; Yamba subsequently reported that consensus had in fact not been achieved.

In his most recent letter to Kimberley Process members, Yamba stressed that the Kimberley Process’s working group for monitoring (WGM) would work to gain consensus regarding the draft administrative decision on Zimbabwe at the forthcoming intercessional meeting. He added, however, should the parties fail to reach consensus, “exports shall continue until the administrative decision is passed.”  



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