RAPAPORT… Sources in Zimbabwe informed Rapaport News that the army has conducted a “blitz” operation in Marange in order to present cleaner and more compliant mining for the Kimberley Process review team, which is visiting the country’s Marange diamond fields this week. Voice of America (VOA News) previously cited unnamed sources saying that villagers in the Marange area had reported more police officers and troops in the area, ahead of the visit.
A team of KP inspectors arrived in Zimbabwe on Tuesday to verify the compliance of diamonds mined at the Marange mine. The review mission will take place through Sunday August 15, 2010 and coincides with a visit from the KP’s monitor for Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane.
These visits are being conducted in accordance with the agreement reached between Zimbabwe and the KP in St. Petersburg in July, which also stipulated that Chikane could certify Marange stock mined between May 28 and August 1.
KP sources confirmed that Marange Resources, which owns 50 percent of the mine, has scheduled the first sale of Marange diamonds with KP certificates for this Wednesday. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is reportedly expected to attend the sale.
The country’s mines secretary, Thankful Musukutwa, said the government would not disclose the names or number of buyers participating in the sale or how many parcels are being made available, according to Zim Daily.
“Other buyers do not want to be known who they are and we will respect that,” Musukutwa told the newspaper.
The review mission consists of the following members, according to KP sources:
Deputy Minister A. Kpandel Fayia of Liberia, the head of the mission;
Mr. Grobler, Australia;
Mr. Kaye, Ghana;
Mr. Ray, India;
Mr. Hamutenya, Namibia;
Mr. Moulton, South Africa;
Mr. Brooks-Rubin, U.S.;
Mr. Even-Zohar of the World Diamond Council (WDC);
Mr. Davis of Global Witness; and
Mr. Brownell of Green Advocates.