The Indian government has been urged to swiftly act to accept imports of stones from Zimbabweâ€™s Marange mines after South Africa authorised dealers to take stones from her neighbor.
The Surat Rough Diamond Sourcing India Limited (SRSDIL) – a special purpose company formed to source rough diamonds from African countries â€“ said the move by South Africa should spur New Dehli to act urgently, warning that further delay could see India losing out on the Marange stones to China and Russia.
“Instead of South Africa, the initiative of accepting import of Zimbabwe diamond should have been taken by India as Surat is the end-user of Zim stones,â€ said SRSDIL chairman Ashit Mehta.
“If India will not act in favour of Zimbabwe, the diamantaires will lose the supply of Zim diamonds to China and Russia,” Mehta said, in what should be good news to Zimbabwe, which is keen to resume exports of the Marange stones.
The South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator (SADPMR) earlier this week said it would allow diamonds from Marange in line with the stance of President Jacob Zumaâ€™s government to support its northern neighbourâ€™s diamond trade.
The SADPMR spoke after the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) urged the Kimberley Process (KP) that regulates the world diamond industry to allow Zimbabwe to export the alluvial stones from Marange to avert an imminent shortage of diamonds on the international market.
But it should be the interest shown by India that boast the worldâ€™s largest diamond cutting industry that Zimbabwe will find more exciting as it looks to ramp up diamond exports and earn badly needed revenue.
According to estimates, Zimbabwe that has about two other big diamond production sites besides Marange, has a capacity to supply about 25 percent of world demand.
KP chairman, Mathieu Yamba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, last March scrapped the ban on Marange stones.
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Several countries, among them the United States and Britain as well non-governmental organisations that are KP members, have said they will not recognise Yambaâ€™s decision to authorise exports of the Marange gems, saying the Congolese had acted without consulting all members as is required under the regulatorsâ€™ rules.
Top diamond trade groups such as the World Diamond Council, Jewelers of America and the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America have also refused to recognise Yambaâ€™s decision and have instructed their members to stay away from Marange diamonds.
However, should India follow the lead of South Africa and authorise its giant industry to take the Marange stones, this would greatly weaken the position of the countries and groups opposed to the Zimbabwean stones.