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23 July 2024

No 'blood diamonds' in the UAE

UAE bans blood diamonds (FILE)

By Vicky Kapur

The UAE is in full compliance of the recent ban imposed by the UN-mandated Kimberley Process (KP) on Marange gems from Zimbabwe due to a lack of consensus by KP members on trade in that country's rough diamonds, Emirates 24|7 can reveal.

"We can confirm that the KP Chair issued a notice to all KP participants advising that no trade in Marange diamonds should be undertaken until full consensus of the KP participants is reached. We can confirm that the UAE KP office is in full compliance," a spokesperson for the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), the parent company of Dubai Diamond Exchange, said in an emailed response to this website's queries.

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is a process designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds from sources that are free of conflict funded by diamond production.

The US, the UK, Canada and Australia have declined to endorse trade in diamonds from Marange, which human rights activists have described as 'blood diamonds' on the basis of allegations of human rights violations. A recent KP meeting failed to agree on the lifting of the ban on Marange diamonds following opposition from human rights organisations as well as the US, Canada and the EU.

"The notice issued states that the ban will remain in place until further instruction from KP," the spokesperson wrote to Emirates 24|7 when asked how long the ban might stay on such trade.

The development comes as it emerged that international US dollar transactions involving the Marange gemstones had also encountered obstacles, with sources indicating that payments were being stalled by US-based banks supporting their country's stance against the selling of such diamonds on the international market.

The DMCC spokesperson also told this website that rough diamonds worth more than $22bn are traded through the UAE every year. "The value of the total UAE rough diamond trade is in excess of $22bn, which includes diamonds from Zimbabwe as well as many other nations," the spokesperson said.

Zimbabwe produces six million carats of diamonds per year from the Marange fields in the eastern parts of the country. According to market analysts, the alluvial diamond fields in Marange are the world's biggest discovery in recently history.

Zimbabwe is expected to control a significant percentage of the world's known rough diamond population and the suspension of the country's exports is significant for the entire industry.