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Zimbabwe Diamond Auction Continues as Gem Exports Decline

FILE - Illegal diamonds from Zimbabwe are displayed for sale in Manica, Mozambique.

A week-long third diamond auction in Harare is expected to end Friday at a time exports have taken a major tumble in the troubled mining sector.

This week it is expected that an estimated 400,000 carats will be auctioned.

Deputy Mines Minister Fred Moyo told parliament on Wednesday that diamond exports fell by 34 percent to 5.9 million carats last year.

Moyo said the deep in production was as a result of the depletion of surface alluvial diamonds. Decline in production has led to labour unrest and retrenchments.

Zimbabwe exports diamonds to Dubai and Belgium and also holds local auctions. Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa says the government is currently working on plans to merge diamond mining companies in Marange as part of efforts to enhance accountability and transparency in the mining of the gems.

Mdada diamonds remains the major producer of diamonds accounting for 1. 8 million carats. Kimberly Process focal point person, Shamiso Mtisi, told VOA Studio 7 that auctions in Harare are beneficial if not manipulated by buyers.

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