Zimbabwe’s secret diamond sale
September 14, 2010 :: Posted by - web_glnews :: Category - Diamond
Zimbabwe seized a secret auction of diamonds from its Marange fields, where the army has been accused of forced labour and torture, an official says, “Yes, the sales were approved out this weekend,” Secretary for Mines Thankful Musukutwa told AFP, without giving extra details. The sale on Saturday and Sunday was supervised by Abbey Chikane, the monitor from the international Kimberley Process watchdog, another official said on condition of anonymity.
Kimberley method is charged with preventing the sale of “blood diamonds” used to fuel armed conflicts, but in November the controller banned sale of the gems from Marange after its investigators found soldiers had beaten nearby people and forced them to mine the stones.
The weekend sale was the second and last auction authorised by Kimberley until its investigators certify that the military has ended rights abuses in the fields near the Mozambican border. Musukutwa said, “We will not be releasing the quantity or amount that was generated because these were private sales by private companies”.
“No other country in the world releases their sales facts or quantities. When it comes to the issues of diamonds we must be chary as a country because of the sensitivity of the issues associated with them”. Zimbabwe says the military no longer runs the fields and has constricted operations at Marange to two little-known South African firms, Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners. A third company associated to a Chinese firm has also been allowed to operate there. The first Kimberley-backed sale generated about 30 million US dollars, according to government facts.
Tags: Abbey Chikane, AFP, blood diamonds, Chinese, Diamonds, gems, Gemstones, Kimberley Process watchdog, Mbada Diamonds, Musukutwa, precious diamonds, South African firms, stones, US dollars, ZIMBABWE
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