RAPAPORT… The impasse regarding Zimbabwe’s rough exports and Kimberley Process compliance continued as a special meeting of the working group for monitoring came to a close in Brussels. Participants left the meeting however citing some progress towards a final agreement.
Negotiations will continue in coming days, led by Kimberley Process chair Boaz Hirsch, with the hope of finally reaching a decision to allow rough exports from Zimbabwe, sources close to the discussions reported.
The Brussels meeting was organized after the working group for monitoring Zimbabwe failed to reach consensus early in November during the Kimberley Process plenary meeting in Jerusalem. The organization is considering how to allow Zimbabwe to proceed with its exports from the controversial Marange fields, after it adopted a joint working program in November 2009 to bring the country’s rough exports into Kimberley Process compliance.
Zimbabwe boycotted the Brussels meeting, but the country was said to be liaising with the working group via a delegation from neighboring countries.
Zimbabwe was allowed to hold rough sales from the Marange in August and September, however a stockpile of goods mined by Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Resources prior to May 28, 2010, was put on hold. Discussions centered upon how best to proceed allowing exports from Mbada and Canadile’s current operations, and the stockpile, in line with Kimberley Process compliance.
The Brussels meeting was further complicated after Kimberley Process monitor Abbey Chikane certified four million carats of Marange goods this past week without the consent of the working group. The goods were reportedly sold to four Indian buyers for approximately $160 million. While Chikane said that these goods would remain in Zimbabwe until the Kimberley Process reaches a final decision, sources contend that some of those goods have made their way into the manufacturing centers.