Zimbabwe has stopped the sale of diamonds from the Marange fields, saying an auction earlier announced was premature and that international supervision would be required before the sale could proceed.

Zimbabwe and African Consolidated Resources (ACR) are involved in a legal tussle over the diamond fields, the former ignoring a High Court order to restore claims to ACR which was annulled by the authorities in 2006.

The fields have been subject to spates of violence with security forces trying to halt the use of illegal diamond miners, according to Mining Weekly.

Zimbabwe’s Mines Ministry permanent secretary Thankful Musukutwa said no auction was being held and there was no sale of diamonds.

“The government and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which regulates the global diamond trade, were in the process of engaging a monitor to oversee the diamond sales,” Musukutwa said.

“The government observes and is committed to the administrative decision of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme … that all shipments from all production sites in the Marange area will be subject to examination and certification by a KPCS monitor.

“There will be no sales or exports of Marange diamonds until all government regulations and KPCS stipulations have been met.”