23 March 2011

Zimbabwe: World Diamond Council Urges Caution Over Chiadzwa Trade

The World Diamond Council (WDC) has urged all international diamond dealers not to trade in stones from Zimbabwe's controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields, until their legal trade status has been clarified.

The warning comes after the new chairman of the international trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), unilaterally gave Zimbabwe the green light to start exporting Chiadzwa diamonds.

According to the US based Rapaport Diamond Trading Network (RapNet), KP Chairman Mathieu Yamba, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said exports from the two "compliant" mining firms in Chiadzwa could resume "with immediate effect."

But the WDC said in a statement on Tuesday that it "understands that a number of KP participant countries, including the United States, Canada, Israel and the European Union are seeking clarity on procedural issues surrounding this release and have indicated that exports should not be permitted until these issues have been explained and resolved."

"While the World Diamond Council welcomes and applauds Mr.Yamba's efforts to bring an end to the apparent impasse that currently exists regarding the status of production and stocks from (Chiadzwa), the WDC advises members of the international diamond industry to refrain from trading in and exporting goods from the region, until the situation and the status of these goods becomes clearer," the WDC said in a statement.

Rapaport News meanwhile reported on Monday that the US has objected to Yamba's decision to allow the exports. US representatives have apparently sent a note to the KP authorities in India and the United Arab Emirates stating that it would view any shipments from Zimbabwe as non-compliant. The US has also warned that it would publish the names of companies taking delivery of the diamonds on the State Department website to ensure that all American companies are aware of potentially non-compliant goods.

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