Thursday, November 3, 2011

Surat diamond consortium springs back to life

The Surat Rough Diamond Sourcing India Limited (SRDSIL), a consortium of 1,500 diamantaires that had been lying dormant since its inception in August 2011, sprang to life after the international diamond watchdog, Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), cleared the export of rough diamonds from two mining sites in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond field. SRDSIL office-bearers will visit Zimbabwe in the third week of November to revive the rough diamond deal with Zimbabwe Diamond Consortium (ZDC).

In October-2010, SRDSIL and ZDC had signed a deal for the supply of $1.2 billion worth of rough diamonds from Marange diamond field in exchange for training its 1,000 unemployed youths in diamond cutting and polishing. But, the deal was put on the backburner after the KPCS's plenary meeting in Israel in November banned the export of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe's controversial Marange diamond field.

Industry sources said the direct sourcing of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe and Russia by SRDSIL is going to benefit the small and medium diamantaires who will be able to purchase rough diamonds through an auction in Surat without going to Antwerp and thereby reducing the role of the diamond brokers.

Some of the SRDSIL office-bearers met in Antwerp on Wednesday under the leadership of their chairman, Ashit Mehta, immediately after the KPCS's approval to Zimbabwe for exporting rough diamonds.

Speaking to TOI from Antwerp, Ashit Mehta said, "The diamond consortium has got back its lost sparkle following KP's decision on Zimbabwe. We are planning to import the first shipment of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe as soon as possible."

"The diamond consortium's foundation was laid keeping in mind the huge stockpile of rough diamonds with Zimbabwe worth $5 billion. Only Surat has the potential to process Zimbabwe diamonds and thus the consortium is looking to import majority of the diamond produced in Zimbabwe," said Mehta.

Mehta said a day prior to the KP development in Kinshasa, the SRDSIL got an invitation from Alrosa Limited, a state owned diamond giant in Russia, for discussing the long term contract of supplying rough diamonds.

"Six of our SRDSIL directors are going to Russia next week where we probably plan to seal a long term contract for rough diamonds supplies from Alrosa. After that we plan to fly to Zimbabwe to work out the $1.2 billion deal, so that we can hold first official rough diamond auction in Surat sometime in December," said Mehta.

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