More Zim diamonds set for auction

More diamonds from the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields are set to be auctioned this week, with mounting pressure on the government to put diamonds profits to good use.

About 1.5 million carats worth will be sold from both the Chinese owned Anjin mining firm and as well as the Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) and the joint venture Mbada and Marange Resources firms. The diamonds are reported to be worth and estimated US$64 million.

This will be the second auction since the international diamond trade watchdog group, the Kimberley Process (KP) last year approved the export of Chiadzwa diamonds. This decision followed a two year deadlock on allowing Zimbabwe back into international trade circles because of human rights concerns.

These concerns have not diminished, but this did not stop the KP from giving the sales the green light. Two KP monitors last month verified that mining operations were compliant with minimum standards, allowing this second auction to get underway this week.

Zimbabwe’s Finance Ministry is hoping to realise about US$600 million from diamond sales this year, and the Finance Minister has pinned national spending on diamond successes. Everything from infrastructure development, civil servants salaries, new elections and more are said to be riding on expected diamonds revenues

But there is still no clarity on when and how the revenues will make its way into national coffers, after the Finance Minister last year revealed that about US$100 million in diamond profits had not been accounted for. Civil society groups concerned with the situation have called for an audit into recent diamond sales, but so far, nothing has been done. – SW Radio Africa News

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