Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kimberley Process approves Zim diamond trade

COMMENT - This is great news for Zimbabwe. It means that if all reports are correct, Zimbabwe's GDP could rocket from $4bn a year to $16bn a year. And in this case, GDP would mean something, because unlike in compliant countries, Zimbabwe's industry is still in Zimbabwean hands. Unlike in Zambia, where the government can't wait to sell parastatals to the Libyan government, Zimbabwe will benefit from it's own economy. It has taken blood, sweat and tears, the derision from the international community, slanderous and racist propaganda, thousands of deaths from cholera through criminal economic sanctions, but Zimbabwe is victorious. Well done, President Mugabe.

Kimberley Process approves Zim diamond trade
By: Itayi Garande
Posted: Thursday, July 15, 2010 7:57 pm

ZIMBABWE has been given the greenlight by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) to trade diamonds from Marange region days after President Mugabe announced that the country will trade with or without that approval.

The issue of exports from Marange, had divided the Kimberley community and the KPCS would have been rendered meaningless by the voluntary 'withdrawal' of Zimbabwe. Heterogeneity is a core and fundamental aspect of the Kimberley Process.

Four western countries of the KPCS (United States, Canada, Australia, the European Union) bowed under pressure from 71 members of KPCS, who supported Zimbabwe's approval after diamond monitor Abbey Chikane produced a report saying the country had satisfied minimum requirements required for approval.

The news was announced today (Thursday) at the 7th Annual Meeting of the World Diamond Council in St. Petersburg, Russia.

"I want to assure everyone that Zimbabwe means business," said mining minister Obert Mpofu from the Russian city.

"We will adhere, we will comply. We will not let you down."

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Guardian on Thursday, Minister Mpofu said Zimbabwe would have gone ahead with trading its diamonds as "it had met the minimum requirements".

"Mr Abbey Chikane approved produced a favourable report and was appointed by the KP. That was enough for us to start exporting our diamonds.

“We expected the best out of the Kimberley Process and they have delivered,” Minister Mpofu said.

“We were always hopeful that we would get the greenlight as we have no blood diamonds in Zimbabwe.”

An estimated $1.7 billion plus worth of diamonds mined from Chiadzwa is currently stockpiled. These will be released as early as next week, according the mines minister.

The stockpile of diamonds mined from Chiadzwa rose to six million carats, up from 4,5 million carats in May this year.

Marange exports had been blocked since last November, after a KP monitoring mission alleged issues of non-compliance and human rights violations.

The Government of Zimbabwe had express concern at the KPCS's position and charged that the Anglo-Saxon world, led by the US, did not want Zimbabwe to export its diamonds because they knew that earnings from the sales would wreck their illegal sanctions.

Zimbabwe's diamond production could match or even surpass the 18 million carats produced annually by Botswana, presently the world’s biggest producer.

In May, KP monitor Abbey Chikane said exports should resume, but the United States, Canada, Australia, the European Union and a coalition of KPCS civic groups blocked an export resumption and disputed the monitor's report.

The four countries also wanted a redefinition of the concept of "blood diamonds" to include Zimbabwe; although the country does not have an illegitimate government and there are no rebel groups in the country.

The agreement was reached after two days of often heated negotiations, which broke down several times. One hour prior to the agreement, some negotiators believed a deal was dead. But now the mood among WDC attendees is jubilant, as many feared Zimbabwe would leave the KP and render it meaningless.

While exports will resume, the plan calls for several review missions to visit the region, and assess compliance with a work plan formulated last year.

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