World Diamond Council, De Beers Urge Caution on Marange Diamonds

The World Diamond
Council
, the industry umbrella group representing the trade at the
Kimberley Process, as well as De Beers, are urging caution regarding a recent
decision by the Kimberley Process chairman
to authorize shipments from the
Marange region of Zimbabwe.

The World Diamond Council statement noted that “a number of
KP participant countries, including the United States, Canada, Israel, and the
European Union, are seeking clarity on procedural issues surrounding this
release and have indicated that exports should not be permitted until these
issues have been explained and resolved.”

It added that  “while
the World Diamond Council welcomes and applauds [KP chairman Matheiu] Yamba’s
efforts to bring an end to the apparent impasse that currently exists regarding
the status of production and stocks from Marange, the WDC advises members of
the international diamond industry to refrain from trading in and exporting
goods from the region until the situation and the status of these goods becomes
clearer.”

De Beers also cited the lack of agreement within the KP in
its statement to sightholders.

“We welcome any attempt to break the apparent deadlock in
negotiations to allow for the recommencement of exports from Zimbabwe,” said a
note signed by Diamond Trading Company CEO Varda Shine. “We understand,
however, that the required consensus has not yet been achieved and that the
Chair’s initiative has been challenged on procedural grounds by the United
States and the European Union in its role as Chair of the Working Group on
Monitoring. The United States, in particular, has made it clear that it will be
monitoring the activities of the trade closely and will carry out appropriate
investigations into any transactions it believes are in contravention of KP
rules and procedures.”

“Given the apparent inconsistency of the above announcement
with the KP’s agreed rules and procedures, and therefore the uncertain status
of current and future exports made in accordance with that announcement, we
continue to advise Sightholders to exercise caution,” Shine added.

Jewelers of America and the Diamond Manufacturers and
Importers of America put
out a statement
on the latest KP controversy March 20.

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