RAPAPORT… The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) sent a delegation of diamond industry professionals to Zimbabwe to help progress negotiations to resume exports from the Marange mine.
“The goal of the fact-finding mission is to facilitate the resumption of all diamond exports from Zimbabwe in full compliance with all relevant international guidelines,” spokespersons for AWDC said. “AWDC felt that Antwerp’s special expertise could contribute positively to resolve outstanding issues, by providing the necessary infrastructure and policy guidelines.”
The organization stressed that the mission was undertaken in full compliance with current E.U. restrictive measures on Zimbabwe, which include trade sanctions against the Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC), which owns a stake in the Marange operations. There are also U.S. sanctions in place against ZMDC and others involved in the diamond inustry there.
The AWDC delegation included its board of directors, diamantaires, insurance, shipping and technology specialists, and bankers amongst other.
The mission came as the Kimberley Process continues discussions on whether to allow exports from Marange after the plenary meeting in Jerusalem earlier this month failed to reach a decision. A source close to the negotiations explained that discussions center upon providing conditions of compliance to existing concessions and the new concessions which have recently been granted. The Kimberley Process source added that recent fraud allegations leveled against officials at the Canadile Resources concession had no bearing on the Kimberley Process discussions.
AWDC said that a solution to the Zimbabwe export approval stalemate could set the stage for a fruitful partnership between Belgium and the African nation.
“The unparalleled level of expertise available in the Antwerp center provides the technical assistance necessary to producers such as Zimbabwe that seek to streamline and optimize their natural resources and ensure their diamonds are professionally mined, exported and distributed according to strictest Kimberley Process Certification Scheme standards,” the AWDC explained.