Large Shipment of Zimbabwe Diamonds Leaves Dubai with KP's Approval

The KP Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) approved the export, estimated at around $160 million.

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The goods’ journey was long and complicated. They were mined in 2010 in the Marange fields, auctioned in November after the Jerusalem meeting and sold to Indian buyers. During this time period, the status of some of the Marange goods was not clear.

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Zimbabwe took advantage of a loophole in the KP monitor’s work guidelines and invited him to the country to certify its rough diamonds. KP Monitor Abbey Chikane, not on an official KP mission, approved the goods and signed their KP certificates.

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According to some reports, the goods were certified after the auction started and perhaps after they were sold.

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The buyers, KP certificates in hand, exported the goods to Dubai, where they were stopped. The UAE’s Kimberley Process Office stated in December that rough diamond shipments from Zimbabwe’s Marange region will not be allowed into the UAE “until full consensus amongst KP Participants is reached.”

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The goods were held in the free trade zone.

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Chikane’s actions were harshly criticized by the then KP Chair Boaz Hirsch and diamond organizations. “The Plenary did not come to an agreement regarding KPCS arrangement for diamonds from the Marange area,” Hirsch said at the time.