Zimbabwe: British, Belgian Firms Buy Chiadzwa Diamonds

Shout-Africa News – British and Belgian companies have been buying diamonds from the contested Chiadzwa diamond fields, even though London and Brussels claim Zimbabwe should not be given Kimberley Process certification to export diamonds harvested in the area.

According to All Africa, which quoted State-owned newspaper The Herald, an independent report compiled for the government now details who has been benefiting from the Chiadzwa resource.

State officials denied knowledge of the report, but it apparently states that the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, through the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, had on two occasions this year shipped diamonds from Chiadzwa to the United Kingdom.

Diamond industry experts said the revelations exposed Western hypocrisy on the matter as the exports could “conceivably be achieved without the home governments in question being aware”.

According to the government’s report, two diamond shipments left Harare for the UK in January, while five diamond shipments made their way to Brussels between 2007 and 2009.

Belgium is a centre for the international diamond trade and is influential in KP Certification Scheme processes; but Belgian government officials yet to publicly condemn Zimbabwe’s diamond industry.

The government report added that the United Arab Emirates was also a major recipient of diamonds from Chiadzwa, with exports to South Africa having also been made on three occasions.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu declined to comment on the issue, referring all queries to the ZMDC. The latter has been unavailable for comment.