Friday, July 09, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE, REUTERS) No significant loss from diamond ban, says Rio

No significant loss from diamond ban, says Rio
By: Reuters-TZG
Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 5:33 pm

GLOBAL miner Rio Tinto said on Thursday it had not suffered significant loss from Zimbabwe's ban on diamond exports and the interruptions to shipments from the country were limited.

Zimbabwe banned all diamond exports on May 28 until stones from Marange fields were certified by industry regulators. The ban has caused limited interruption to shipments, a Rio spokesman told Reuters. There has been an impact (on finances) but it is not significant for Rio Tinto, he said.

Rio Tinto is in discussions with the inclusive Government of Zimbabwe and is hopeful of resolving the ban shortly.

Rio Tinto owns 78 percent in Murowa mine, which produced 124,000 carats last year.

Article continues below

Murowa, together with privately owned River Ranch, are both certified to export diamonds by the Kimberley Process (KP) certification scheme, an international initiative to ensure trade in diamonds does not fund violence.

Zimbabwe is in a dispute with the KP over the Marange diamonds but this week said it would soon start exports of the stones after regulators from 70 countries failed last week to agree to suspend trade in diamonds from Zimbabwe.

Early this year, Zimbabwe's government published rules that force foreign-owned companies to sell at least 51 percent shares to indigenous people.

Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere recently said the rules had been revised to encourage investment, but the indigenisation quota is yet to be set.

We are encouraged by the approach of the new government but seek greater clarity around the investment environment before investment decisions can be considered, the Rio Tinto spokesman said.

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