Alexey Moiseev, Russia's Deputy Minister of Finance and Kimberley Process (KP) Chair, last week held a briefing to highlight the priorities of the Russian chairmanship in the Kimberley Process (KP) in 2020, according to a release from the Ministry of Finance. Moiseev noted that one of the key priorities of the Russian chairmanship was to update the definition of conflict diamonds and stemming their flow to the market.
In its latest report, Canada-based NGO IMPACT claims India has become the world’s hotspot for conflict gold originating from Africa and South America. According to IMPACT, the country imports roughly a 1,000 tonnes of gold per year, 25% more than the official figures state.
In their research, IMPACT says it has revealed how illicit gold, potentially linked to conflict, human rights abuses and corruption, is smuggled into India – one third of the world’s gold passes through the country – primarily via the United Arab Emirates.
Billions of dollars’ worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates, a Reuters analysis has found. In a devastating exclusive report (and video), authors David Lewis, Ryan McNeill and Zandi Shabalala write that customs data shows the UAE imported $15.1 billion worth of gold from Africa in 2016, more than any other country and up from $1.3 billion in 2006, but much of the gold was not recorded in the exports of African states.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has made an appeal to members of the Kimberley Process (KP), whose Plenary meeting commences in Brussels today, to engage with the country to increase its rough-diamond exports. The CAR government has asked the KP family to approve the compliance of nine additional mining zones in the Western part of the country - in addition to the five areas already approved in 2015 - and to formallize the decision taken at the KP Intersessional last June to reduce the approval period for rough-diamond exports to seven days.
Signet Jewelers announced its results for the 13 weeks ended October 28, 2017 (Q3 Fiscal 2018): total sales were $1,156.9 million, down $29.3 million or 2.5%, compared to a decrease also of 2.5% in the 13 weeks ended October 29, 2016. The retailer's same-store sales ("SSS") were down 5.0%, including an estimated 120 basis point negative impact that they attributed to weather-related incidents (read, hurricanes) and systems and process disruptions associated with outsourcing the credit portfolio.
The Bureau d'Évaluation et de Contrôle de Diamant et d'Or (BECDOR) in the Central African Republic, which oversees the country’s production and trade of diamond and gold, maintains a database and assesses the value of diamond parcels that are to be exported from the country, has just set up a new price list - defining mineral prices between government and traders. The new price list for these mineral resources is designed to enable the State to have enough financial resources to meet its obligations, reports APA News (Agence de Presse Africaine).
Thursday June 8, the US House of Representatives approved legislation to erase a number of core financial regulations put in place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, as Republicans moved a step closer to delivering on their promises to eliminate rules that they claim have strangled small businesses and stagnated the economy, writes the New York Times.
The European Parliament last week approved a draft regulation intended to prevent the minerals trade from funding conflict and human rights violations in Africa. If adopted, this “conflict minerals” law will oblige all but the smallest EU importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and their ores from conflict and high-risk areas to do "due diligence" checks on their suppliers, and big manufacturers will also have to disclose how they plan to monitor their sources to comply with the rules. Authorities in EU member states will be responsible for ensuring compliance by companies.
"As a leading member of the U.S. Jewelry industry, we are writing to express our support for Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the corresponding Securities and Exchange Commission’s Conflict Minerals Rule.
Today proves our determination to strengthen our efforts to prevent armed groups around the world from using trade in minerals to finance their activities and propagate conflict. This regulation will put into practice the EU's commitments to this effect. At the same time, no additional red tape for European companies that trade respecting the rules, while EU citizens can be assured that their purchases do not affect human rights in conflict-ridden countries."
With the 37th World Diamond Congress starting today (Monday) and the Kimberley Process intercessional meeting that follows in Dubai, IDEX Online Deputy Editor David Brummer spoke to the World Diamond Council (WDC) about its role in the diamond industry and its relationship with the Kimberley Process.
At the end of March, Apple released its third Conflict Minerals Report. Often these reports get praised when companies describe themselves as having achieved a “conflict free” status. Apple’s report, however, chooses not to use this description, and we think that’s a good thing. This term ... can be misleading. The reality is that supply chains, particularly in conflict-affected and fragile states, are fluid and ever-changing.
Reports from multiple sources are starting to detail the murky structures hiding the tremendous wealth accumulated by certain players in the diamond and gold trade that emerged through last week's release of the Panama Papers.
Last summer, Ozy published a story on efforts to revitalize and legitimize the mining and polishing of gemstones in Afghanistan, a trade which, if successful, could contribute to its wrecked economy. Afghan emeralds are considered among the finest in the world by some international experts, but while the country therefore has potential to grow within the colored gemstone market, it is difficult to mine and process the stones given the precarious political situation in this stil
From Devex Impact: The mining industry is often affiliated with large-scale operations and massive capital investments, but small scale miners form the bulk of the sector. Artisanal miners — mainly in developing countries — number approximately 100 million worldwide. This year marks five years since the passage of the controversial Dodd-Frank Act (D-F). It was intended to boost transparency and crack down on the number of conflict minerals whose proceeds have fueled conflict in the region. It has achieved measurable results.
Back on May 20, the European parliament issued a surprising vote in favor of enforcing an obligatory monitoring system for the whole supply chain of conflict minerals, affecting 800,000 European companies. The measure entails that European gold, tantalum (the material that makes mobile phones vibrate), tungsten and tin imports from conflict zones will be subjected to tougher surveillance procedures.
Global Witness has issued a major report, "Jade: Myanmar's 'Big State Secret'", revealing an industry far bigger than previously thought, worth up to US$31 billion in 2014 alone (for the sake of comparison, the value of 2014 global diamond mining is estimated at $14-18 billion). That is equivalent to nearly half the GDP for the whole of Myanmar, but hardly any of the money is reaching ordinary people or state coffers. Instead, the sector is secretly controlled by networks of military elites, drug lords and crony companies associated with the darkest days of junta rule.
A team of researchers from Tulane University in the United States has compiled the first-ever ranking of firms required to provide disclosure regarding their use of so-called conflict minerals under Dodd-Frank Act. “Anybody with a relative interest in ethical sourcing would be interested in this list,” said Matthew Whitteker, the marketing director for Assent Compliance, a software and services firm in Ottawa that commissioned the Tulane study. “For any company that manages this well, both Wall Street and Main Street will look at their brand favorably.”
Out of 180 mines assessed over the past three years by teams of businesspeople, government officials, and civil society members, 141 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been declared as conflict-free, meaning there are no armed groups, including the Congolese army, and they do not use child labor or pregnant women. The process is taking place in the DRC for the first time and came about as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act on conflict minerals. The validation teams still need to travel to several other areas of the country.
Electronic chip maker Intel is keeping a closer eye on the minerals used to produce its products in an effort to stamp out slave labor. Brian Krzanich, CEO of chip giant Intel, spoke to CNN about the company's efforts to combat the use of conflict minerals in the semiconductors that power our electronic gadgets by means of an extensive tagging and audit system. The company will only source from mines determined to be conflict free, and is working to verify sources.
European timber companies have helped fund the war in the Central African Republic through lucrative deals with rebel militia groups accused of war crimes, campaign group Global Witness alleges in a new report. It accuses the EU of failing to stop imports of illegal timber to Europe. Timber companies from France, Lebanon and China paid more than $4m (£2.5m) to rebels in 2013 alone, mainly for protection services, the report says.
Is using a smartphone made from materials mined in war-torn Africa really better than buying "blood diamonds"? Rebel groups in the DRC and neighboring countries run mines that produce key minerals used in the manufacture of consumer electronics and more mundane products such as zippers. The proceeds fund conflicts that have killed up to 5 million people since 1998. In hopes of stemming the use of such "conflict minerals", the US Congress included a provision in the Dodd-Frank law passed in 2010 requiring U.S.
According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the proposed EU legislation on conflict minerals tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold (3TG), will include the implementation of a so-called ‚white list’, naming smelters that do not use conflict minerals to produce their intermediate products sold in the EU. Whereas the US Dodd-Frank legislation focused on smelters and downstream companies, the latter generally far removed from upstream activities, the EU proposal shifts the focus on middlemen in the supply chain, believing this will add pressure to the upstream segments, the miners and traders.
[Angolan journalist and human rights activist Raphael Marques’ case] comes just days after the European Parliament made history by voting in favour of a strong, binding law to tackle the deadly trade in conflict minerals. If this law comes into effect, it would put Europe at the forefront of global efforts to clean up the minerals trade and encourage businesses to source minerals in a way that benefits local communities, not armed groups.
While peace gradually returns to the CAR, the struggle for the control of the mines has intensified in the provinces along familiar sectarian lines between the Muslim Seleka (which seized power in 2013 only to lose it and regress into indiscriminate violence) and the Christian anti-balaka militias. With both groups fighting to control the mines, mining is difficult to monitor and regulate, and is largely dominated by smuggling while the country is still excluded from the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme for rough diamonds.
China Development Gateway reports that the decision by the European Parliament (EP) to reinforce legislation on "conflict minerals, (tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold or 3TG)" praised by NGOs as a "major" advance, is meeting with opposition as detractors are bringing into contention "perverse effects," particularly in Africa, as well as the difficulties of enforcing such a policy.
The EU Observer reports that the European Parliament on Wednesday unexpectedly backed new rules obliging EU companies to ensure the minerals they use in their products are conflict-free.The groundbreaking proposal would require European companies importing four key minerals – tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold - to ensure their purchases are not contributing to conflict or human rights abuses in other countries. Crucially, the new law would also require European companies importing minerals in products, such as laptops and mobile phones, to source minerals responsibly for the first time.
On 20 May, the European parliament will vote on a proposed regulation to tackle the trade in conflict minerals tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG). In an open letter, representatives from several NGO's state the regulation, which they say recommends binding “due diligence” requirements for approximately only 20 smelters and refiners based in Europe, doesn't reach far enough due to its voluntary character.
A new report by Global Witness and Amnesty International claims that more than three-quarters of U.S. publicly traded companies analyzed by human rights groups are failing to adequately check and disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals from Central Africa.
The report, Digging for Transparency, analyzes 100 conflict minerals reports filed by companies including Apple, Boeing and Tiffany & Co under the 2010 Dodd Frank Act (Section 1502), known as the conflict minerals law. The findings point to alarming gaps in U.S. corporate transparency.
An influential group of EU lawmakers seeking to prevent the financing of warlords in Africa said that European importers of minerals from conflict zones should be forced to certify their goods "blood-free", a system that would resemble the Kimberley Process, an initiative set up in 2002 to control the use of rough diamonds that fund rebel movements and human rights abuses. The European Commission says its plan is not limited to sub-Saharan Africa and could be applied across the world to places such as Colombia, where militias control some gold regions.
In their article “Revisiting the Conflict Minerals Rule”, Alex Bracket Estelle Levin and Yves Melin review and assess the impact of the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals rule, summarize the proposed European Commission rules for the EU, compare the EU proposal with the U.S.’s Dodd-Frank Act and critically review it in terms of its stated objective.