Antwerp will host its first tender of gems from Zimbabwe, following the European Union’s lifting of sanctions against mines from the Marange region.
The 30,000 ct. tender will be held Dec. 11–16, according to a statement from industry group Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), and will feature goods from Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company (DMC), Anjin Investments, Jinan, and Kusena Diamonds.
Human rights groups have raised questions about the sale of the gems, following violence in the region in 2009, and reports that much of the revenue is going to entities connected to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
But an AWDC statement says that the sale “should have a highly significant and positive impact on the necessary market transparency” and will “contribute to a sustainable social and economic development of Zimbabwe.”
Sanctions against the sale and import of the diamonds remain in place in the United States.