The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme Plenary Session in the Democratic Republic of Congo has given Zimbabwe the green light to sell its Marange diamonds.
The development will see the immediate export of rough diamonds from two KP-compliant operations in the Marange diamond fields, as well as exports from other mining operations in the area following the KP Monitoring Teamâ€™s verification of compliance.
The European Union as well as countries such as Switzerland and Canada have expressed their support to the decision to allow Zimbabwe to sell the diamonds.
China, India, United Arab Emirates, Norway and Australia, among others, have also expressed support in ensuring that Zimbabwe sells its diamonds for the benefit of the countryâ€™s economy.
African Diamonds Producers Association has also expressed gratitude to the decision made by the KPCS.
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu said the KP members should choose to shut out politics in the organisation to ensure continuity.
He also said the absence of international non-governmental organisations played a key role in the decision as they have been causing confusion in the Kimberly Process sessions.
President of the World Diamond Council, Mr Eli Izhakoff hailed the development, saying the selling of the diamonds by the Southern African country will economically develop the well-being of Zimbabweans.
â€œThis is a real milestone, and demonstrates categorically that the Kimberley Process provides the framework through which the integrity of the rough diamond chain of distribution can be protected, while at the same time enabling producing countries gain benefit from their natural resources,â€ said Mr Izhakoff.Â
â€œCredit also is due to Zimbabwe, the African nations led by the South Africa, and a host of individuals and delegates who put in long hours in negotiating the arrangement, which has escaped us for more than two years.
“It has been a long time in coming, and I fervently hope that it allows us to move both the KP and the industry forward,â€ he said.
In ratifying the new agreement, the Kimberley Process Plenary endorsed, with immediate effect, the export of rough diamonds from the mining operations of Marange Resources and Mbada.
The Plenary furthermore agreed that exports may take place from other mining operations in the Marange diamond fields, following verification of their compliance according to KPCS minimum requirements by the KP Monitoring Team, which will receive full access to the mining sites.
Within 14 of the Plenary Meeting, the KP Monitoring team will visit Zimbabwe to examine whether a third mining operation in the area, Anjin, is KP compliant and permitted to export diamonds.
The team will pay similar visit to any other new mine within 14 days of receiving an invitation.
Transparency of operation is a key element of the agreement, with compliant mining operations in the Marange region being required to share mine level data with the KP Monitoring Team on an ongoing basis.
As part of the agreement, the KP Civil Society Coalition representatives in Zimbabwe will have access to the Marange area so as to allow continued reporting on KPCS implementation.
According to the agreement, the KP monitoring team will include Abbey Chikane, a former Chair of the Kimberley Process, and Mark Van Bockstael, Chair of the World Diamond Council Technical Committee.