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Sat 15 Mar 2014 10:35 AM

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Dubai confirms first sale of controversial Zimbabwe diamonds

Dubai Diamond Exchange says its first tender this month will include Marange diamonds

Dubai confirms first sale of controversial Zimbabwe diamonds

The Dubai Diamond Exchange has confirmed it will host the first tender of Zimbabwe diamonds later this month.

Stones from the Marange, thought to be one of the world’s biggest diamond finds for more than a century, have been controversial amid allegations of use of forced labour and embezzlement by the country’s military.

The tender, which will take place between March 23-20, will feature rough diamonds from Anjin, Jinan, DTZ, DMC, Marange Resources and Kusena.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman, DMCC, said: "It is no coincidence that Dubai has emerged as the leading global diamond platform. We have created an incredible infrastructure, services and products which directly assist the industry traders; our policies and regulations are strong; and we are ideally positioned to support the trade from the producing nations in Africa to the consuming nations in the East and West."

Last month, Zimbabwe’s government said it will go ahead with plans to sell diamonds from its eastern Marange fields in Dubai from March, following the lifting of European Union sanctions.

Following lobbying by the diamond industry, the EU in October 2013 agreed to lift sanctions on diamonds from Marange.

Dubai has become a major regional diamond trading hub in recent years, with around $39bn worth of stones estimated to have been traded through the Dubai Diamond Exchange in 2011.

Peter Meeus, Chairman of the Dubai Diamond Exchange, said: "The DDE has been instrumental in ensuring that African diamond markets have a voice and a platform to trade their products. The DDE and Dubai is now an established distribution and diamond centre for those diamonds."

The DDE said it fully complies with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which ensures that all rough diamonds imported to and exported from the country have been mined in a legitimate matter.