|Murowa Diamonds managing director says company has also been affected by diamond trade ban|
Murowa Diamonds, a unit of international diversified mining giant Rio Tinto, supports export of Zimbabwe's diamonds, the AllAfrica.com news website reports.
AllAfrica quoted Murowa Diamonds Managing Director Niels Kristensen saying that Rio Tinto has been "actively working to support Zimbabwe in resolving the problem [of diamond exports, currently under international embargo]" and said that he and Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu had traveled to conferences at which they called for Zimbabwe to be allowed to sell its diamonds.
Kristensen said that Murowa "had been affected by the diamond trade ban." Trade in diamonds from the Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe has been banned for years. While the Kimberley Process embargo does not directly affect diamonds from Murowa (one of two kimberlite mines in the country), the government itself banned the export of Murowa diamonds for a six-month period in 2010, hoping to pressure the KP into allowing it to export Marange diamonds. The ban was lifted in August 2010.
Over the course of 2010, diamond production at Murowa increased by 43% to over 178,000 carats. A planned $300 million expansion that would expand the mine's production capacity to 1.8 million carats has been put on hold following the Zimbabwe government's calls to indigenize diamond mining operations.