Diamond Exports Tied Up in Disputee

April 23, 1999

Diamond Exports Tied Up in Dispute

Exports of diamonds from De Beers' South African mines to its Central Selling Organisation headquarters in London, England, have been held up for several weeks due to a dispute with the South African government over export values.

De Beers alleges South Africa's recently appointed diamond valuator, Diamond Valuation International Co., places too high a value on parcels of diamonds ready for export, according to the Financial Times. De Beers rejected DVIC's valuations on several parcels worth several million dollars. Analysts believe De Beers fears an increased corporate tax liability due to the higher valuations and that diamond valuations from previous years might be reviewed.

Until recently, South Africa employed Proval, a diamond valuator staffed by former De Beers employees, with whom De Beers formed "an easy relationship," analysts say.

The government-appointed Diamond Board says it stands by DVIC. Penuell Maduna, South Africa's minerals and energy minister, ordered an investigation into the dispute.

- by Stacey King