By Michelle Graff
Antwerp--This week, Antwerp will host another run-of-mine tender of diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange region that will be “substantially bigger” than the first held in December, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre announced.

Run again by First Element (Pty.) Ltd., the tender is slated to begin Wednesday and continue through Friday at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility. It takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, except the last day, when bids close at 3 p.m.

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Rough diamonds from six companies will be sold at the tender: Diamond Mining Company, Anjin Investments, Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds, Jinan Investments and DTZ-OZGEO, which is a joint venture between the Development Trust of Zimbabwe and Russian company Econedra Ltd.

Diamonds mined by the state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp., or ZMDC, were under sanction by the European Union until late last year when the EU voted to lift those sanctions, drawing the ire of human rights groups, particularly Global Witness.

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The ZMDC remains under sanction in the United States, meaning the trade here cannot deal in diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange region.

Global Witness claimed that the country’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, and the military siphoned revenues from ZMDC’s diamond ventures to rig the country’s presidential elections in favor of long-standing president Robert Mugabe. The 89-year-old Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe since 1987.

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