Zimbabwe exported 7.15 million carats of diamonds in 2011 through 148 Kimberley Process certificates as restrictions on exports from the Marange area curbed sales.
The Kimberley Process canceled 44 certificates in the year, the organization, which monitors trade in diamonds, said in its annual country report. Zimbabwe’s military and police have been accused of human rights violations in the Marange fields.
“The year 2011 remained a difficult year for rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe due to protracted restrictions on exports produced from the Marange area, leading to the cancellation of many certificates,” according to a statement from the process.
Access to Marange is controlled by Zimbabwe security forces and data rarely released. Several closely held mining companies from South Africa, China and Dubai dig diamonds in the area in joint ventures with state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp.
The U.S., European Union, Australia and New Zealand have imposed trade restrictions on Zimbabwean companies including ZMDC over accusations of human rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party.
New York-based Human Rights Watch in 2008 said at least 200 people were killed by security forces in Marange in an operation to remove illegal miners. The Marange diamond fields were seized from U.K.-based African Consolidated Resources Plc in 2006.
The fields were then divided between Mbada Mining (Pvt) Ltd., Canadile Mining (Pvt) Ltd. and China’s Anjin.
Rio Tinto Plc’s Murowa mine and closely held River Ranch Mine (Pvt) Ltd. in Zimbabwe aren’t subject to Kimberley Process scrutiny because accusations haven’t been made against them.
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