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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Zimbabwe Opens Auctions of Diamonds from the Controversial Marange Fields

Zimbabwe held the first sale of diamonds from its Marange fields since international regulators partially lifted a ban imposed after the military violently seized control of the mines, Agence France-Presse reports.

Update: Estimates of the value of the sale vary from £48 million ($74.7 million) to £1.2 billion ($1.8 billion), according to the UK newspaper, The Independent.

About 900,000 carats valued at about $72 million were on sale Wednesday, according to Abbey Chikane, the monitor from the international Kimberley Process, which is charged with preventing trade in "blood diamonds," the term used for diamonds mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, invading army's war efforts, or a warlord's activity.

Buyers from the United States, Israel, Russia, Lebanon and India were at the auction at Harare's airport, some with pilots waiting to jet them out of the country afterwards. Read more

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