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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Second Zimbabwe Diamond Sale Date Kept Secret

The Zimbabwe government said it will not disclose the date of its next diamond auction citing security reasons, according to a published report.

The diamond sale was scheduled for September 6, but apparently has not happened. Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary, Thankful Musukutwa, reportedly refused to disclose the dates when Abbey Chikane Kimberley Process appointed monitor is expected in the country to certify another batch of diamonds for the second sale.

Zimbabwe sold 1.1 million carats of diamonds on Aug 11 from the two companies mining in the Marange diamond fields. It was the first diamond sale since diamond sales from Zimbabwe were banned by the Kimberly Process, an organization of governments, diamond dealers and non-government organizations that attempts to combat “conflict” or “blood” diamonds by using a certification process to trace rough diamonds to their origins.

Beginning in 2008, the Zimbabwe army took over the Marange diamond fields forcing out tens of thousands of small-scale miners. These miners were massacred by soldiers and villagers have been beaten, raped and forced to work as virtual slaves.

Some diamond traders and jewelers are still skeptical whether the diamond fields are free from abuse and have instituted their own ban on the purchase of diamonds from  Zimbabwe. Among them are the Rapaport Diamond Trading Network, UK-based diamond jewelry company MasterCut and the Company of Masters Jewellers, the exclusive buyer of MasterCut diamonds

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