Archive for May, 2010
by Admin on May 28th, 2010
Zimbabwe suspended all diamond exports from the country, including those recovered at Rio Tinto’s Murowa and the River Ranch diamond mines. The decision was made until Kimberley Process (KP) certification compliance issues out of the Marange have been sorted out.
Still, smuggling continues from the mine as documents confirm that two Dubai-based firms, Zardiam and PureDiam, have exported about $12 million of rough from Marange between January and April, despite a KP suspension on Marange exports.
KP monitor for Marange Abbey Chikane visited Zimbabwe this week to further assess the various operations at the mine before making further recommendations. The Marange issue is expected dominate the agenda at the KP intercessional meeting in Israel June 21-23.
To learn more about conflict free diamonds: http://www.whiteflash.com/diamonds_info/t/all_about.aspx?articleid=783
by Admin on May 13th, 2010
Jewelers of America expressed deep concern over recent reports that Zimbabwe has approved rough diamond exports to Dubai, in violation of an agreed work plan. JA President Matthew A. Runci Called on the Kimberley Process (KP) to not authorize any further shipments of goods originating from the Marange.
The situation poses a challenge to the KP. When first framed, the system sought to battle exports of rough by rebel forces. Following the grave human rights violations in the Marange diamond fields, the KP has drafted a compromised solution that was agreed upon by the government of Zimbabwe.
While the human rights violations were by a legal and recognized government, the reported deaths of some 200 people led to an international ban on exports from Marange diamonds until a monitoring system - the Kimberley Process Joint Work Plan (JWP) - is in place.
However, as a sovereign state that is a member of KP, Zimbabwe has the legal right to issue KP certificates, which it did. The exports, first reported last week by Chaim Even-Zohar, included multiple shipments of rough diamonds to Dubai since December 2009 and April 2010.
Following this development, Runci sent a letter on behalf of JA members to Stephane Chardon, chair of the Kimberley Process Working Group on Monitoring (WGM). In the letter, Runci expressed JA’s belief that the KP should not authorize the resumption of shipments of any goods from Marange until there is renewed assurance by the WGM that corrective measures have been taken.
by Admin on May 13th, 2010
The Kimberley Process (KP) has just launched a Facebook page, joining the rank and file of social media. The organization began uploading materials in mid-April, and started to invite the community to Like the page this week.
The KP page includes links to related articles, background information about the process and issues relating to conflict diamonds. The launch is the initiative of KP chair, Boaz Hirsch.
KP is a joint governments, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.
The trade in these illicit stones has fuelled decades of devastating conflicts in countries such as Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.
by Admin on May 7th, 2010
“Zimbabwe must not resume diamond exports from its troubled Marange diamond fields without prior permission from the Kimberley Process certification scheme,” warned Global Witness following a ruling by the Zimbabwean High Court that cleared the way to selling some 129,000 carats of loose diamonds.
On Monday, The High Court in Zimbabwe ruled that the government can start selling diamonds mined from claims belonging to Africa Consolidated Resources’ (ACR) in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Justice Bharat Patel dismissed an ACR application, which sought an interim order prohibiting the sale of diamonds mined from the disputed diamond fields by a number of government companies.
Following the High Court decision, the Minister of Mines, Obert Mpofu, told state media, “We are going to benefit from our diamonds whether with the KP or not.”
The Kimberley Process called for a halt on the exports following reports of grave human rights abuses in the diamond fields, including murder, rape and forced labor.
KP sent a review mission to investigate and an action plan was drafted with Zimbabwe. It included the appointment of a KP monitor. According to Global Witness, there is no sign that the country has implemented the necessary reforms.
“What has been taking place in Marange is unconscionable and there is no way that exports should restart until the government can prove that it has taken the necessary action to end the abuses and hold the perpetrators to account,” said Global Witness campaigner Elly Harrowell.
“If the government goes ahead with its plan to sell diamonds without prior approval from the Kimberley Process, it will be in breach of its commitments and should face suspension. Member states will need to act swiftly if they want to maintain the credibility of the scheme and protect consumer confidence in the international diamond market,” said Harrowell.
by Admin on May 7th, 2010
The High Court in Zimbabwe ruled yesterday (Monday) that the government can start selling diamonds mined from claims belonging to Africa Consolidated Resources’ (ACR) in the Chiadzwa diamond fields, reports The Herald.
Justice Bharat Patel reportedly dismissed, with costs, an ACR application filed on April 9, which sought an interim order prohibiting the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Mbada Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd and Canadile Miners from selling the diamonds mined from the disputed Chiadzwa diamond fields.
In his ruling, Justice Patel said that while ACR had failed to meet the High Court’s requirements of urgency, the exploration company could be compensated for any losses they might incur through the sale of the diamonds in the event ACR succeeds on appeal.
Justice Patel also said that ACR’s declared urgency of application “fell away” because it had been based on an intended visit by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme monitor, Abbey Chikane, who was scheduled to arrive between April 6 and 8. However, Chikane did not visit on the anticipated dates, reports The Herald.
“In the instant case, the applicants seek to secure the safe custody of all diamonds mined from the claims pending the appeal in the Supreme Court. Assuming the validity of their title to the disputed claims, it seems to me that the harm that they apprehend is purely pecuniary and not such as to be deemed irreparable,” Justice Patel was quoted saying.
by Admin on May 7th, 2010
U.S. senators Russell Feingold, Johnny Isakson and John Kerry introduced the Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act aimed at updating current U.S. policy and specifically addressed diamonds. The bill would amend the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZDERA) to lift funding restrictions on Zimbabwe for fiscal year 2010. The U.S. provided nearly $300 million to Zimbabwe in assistance during 2009, according to Feingold’s statement.
While the amended update continues support for ZDERA, this bill calls for the continued review and updating of sanctions against certain individuals. “It also encourages new action to address illegal activities involving diamonds in Zimbabwe that are reportedly fueling abuses and undermining democratic progress. Specifically, it urges the Obama administration to consider new sanctions on individuals overseeing these activities and to press for Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Kimberley Process. Zimbabwe’s continued participation in the Kimberley Process undermines the integrity and important work of that process,” Feingold said.
In addition, the bill would allow the U.S greater flexibility and leverage when engaging with the international financial institutions on Zimbabwe. The 2001 act restricted U.S. support for any international loan, credit or debt reduction to Zimbabwe until the U.S. president certifies that certain political conditions have been achieved in the country.
“This restriction currently has no discernible impact as Zimbabwe can only be eligible for such international support when it deals with its arrears, which now total billions of dollars,” Feingold said.
“Nonetheless, this restriction has become a powerful symbol and it functionally ties the hands of the state and treasury departments to actively engage with the International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and other institutions to develop plans for supporting Zimbabwe’s longer-term recovery when there is a genuine transition,” according to Feingold. “Our bill would amend ZDERA to allow for such engagement, making U.S. support conditional on the proposed assistance itself, specifically whether there are sufficient controls for transparency and oversight, and whether funds will be administered by ministries that have demonstrated a commitment to reform.”
Amending current policy too would undercut President Robert Mugabe’s propaganda, Feingold added. “Over the years, Mugabe and his allies have conveniently portrayed ZDERA as a symbol of Western hostility and blanket sanctions on Zimbabwe. While those allegations are clearly false, the changes made by our bill will go a long way towards ensuring they have much harder time spinning this lie and deflecting responsibility from their own disastrous policies.”