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Zimbabwe recovers diamonds seized in Belgium

HARARE, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe has recovered its 500,000 carats of diamonds worth about 30 million U.S. dollars that were seized in Belgium last year following a lawsuit by a South African company.

A South African mining company, Amari Platinum Holdings sued the Zimbabwe government in Belgium in September last year for wrongful cancellation of its platinum mining deal and sought to attach the diamonds that were under auction at Antwerp.

However, the Belgian court threw out the application by Amari and ruled in favour of Zimbabwe, but before Zimbabwe could get its gems, a group of white farmers who had their land taken by the Zimbabwe government during the country's land reform program filed a lawsuit seeking to attach the same diamonds.

But in a notice seen by Xinhua Monday, Antwerp World Diamond Centre confirmed that the legal battle on the diamonds had been resolved with Zimbabwe getting all its diamonds.

The seizure of the diamonds had negatively impacted on the operations of the six affected mining companies namely Jinan Mining, Anjin Investments, DMC, Mbada Diamonds, DTZ OZGEO and Marange Resources.

The September auction was Zimbabwe's third at Antwerp after it started auctioning its rough diamonds on the international market in December 2013 after the European Union had earlier lifted sanctions against Zimbabwean government's mining arm Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

The government has stopped selling its gems at foreign diamond auctions in favour of local auctions, with its first local diamond auction conducted in November last year.

Zimbabwe is said to possess diamond deposits enough to satisfy 25 percent of world demand. But output declined by 33 percent last year to 5.9 million carats as alluvial diamonds at Marange, the country's main diamond mine, was said to be depleting.

The government has announced a plan to merge six diamond companies, including several joint-ventures, into one that is majority-owned by the government.

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