India's diamond industry is eager to import rough diamonds from Zimbabwe
A shipment of diamonds from Zimbabwe's controversial Marange fields worth $160 million held in Dubai since November 2010 has been released, the Zimdaily.com news website reports.
The rough diamonds were auctioned after the Kimberley Process plenary session in November, purchased by diamond traders in India, and shipped through Dubai. Local authorities confiscated the diamonds and held them in a free trade zone in accordance with the UAE's declaration that Marange diamonds would not be allowed into the country until the KP was satisfied that Zimbabwe had complied with the KPCS's minimum requirements.
The UAE's decision to release the diamonds to India follows a recent announcement by KP Chairman Mathieu Yamba that he would allow Zimbabwe to export diamonds from Marange. However, Yamba's decision was not taken as a consensus – as KP policy dictates – and a number of organizations in the global diamond industry are seeking to block Zimbabwe diamonds from reaching the market until all human rights issues have been resolved.
Meanwhile, members of the Indian diamond industry, which is suffering from a shortage of rough product, have urged the country's central government to follow South Africa's lead and permit import of diamonds from Zimbabwe.
In late May, Zimbabwean Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu visited Mumbai and met with a number of diamond traders, expressing criticism of India's stand on Marange diamonds. Amit Mehta, chairman of the Surat Rough Diamond Sourcing India Limited (SRDSIL) consortium, warned that if India would not import Zimbabwe diamonds, the country would lose its access to rough stones, which would be sent to Russia and China.