After a four-year wait, Star Diamond Corp. - formerly called Shore Gold Inc. - has received the green light from the provincial government to build a diamond mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, bringing to an end what is believed to be the longest environmental approval process in province history. The Star-Orion Diamond Project was first proposed by Shore Gold Inc. in 1995.
"Like it or not, compliance to official requirements for a clear audit trail of one’s processes is now an integral part of a diamantaire’s business. You could say compliance is the 'Fifth C' of the business", writes Pranay Narvekar, partner at Pharos Beam LLP and an independent consultant to the diamond industry.
Leading diamond industry organizations The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) have fulfilled the final stage of an agreement, by which the nomenclature used by the International Diamond Council (IDC) will now be harmonised with that of CIBJO’s Diamond Blue Book, creating a single standard for diamond and jewelry nomenclature.
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.
Award-winning journalist Rob Bates raises some highly relevant issues in the wake of the announcement by Ashley Orbach - U.S. Department of State’s special advisor for conflict diamonds for the last three years - that she will be leaving the agency and her role as advisor. There was always going to be a sense of uncertainty concerning the U.S. stance toward the Kimberley Process and human rights in the mining industry under the unpredictable new administration, and the loss of continuity signalled by Orbach's departure may well add to it.
"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.
Online diamond jewelry seller Blue Nile announced earlier this month that it would temporarily no longer ship to South Dakota in response to a new state law that says remote sellers must collect sales tax from local residents, even if, and this where the law differs from similar state laws, they have no physical presence in the state (known as nexus). The rule applies only to companies that sell more than $100,000 or process more than 200 in-state transactions a year.
Jewelers of America (JoA) has ramped up advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., writes InStoreMag, holding meetings with congressional leaders to support the jewelry industry’s recommendations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its proposed changes to the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries - specifically, use of the term “cultured” to describe synthetic diamonds - the trade association said in a release. The association is also planning a two-day fly-in to D.C.
An UAE-sponsored initiative aimed at standardising pricing mechanisms for the rough diamond trade is due to be launched later this year under the country’s chairmanship of the Kimberley Process, reports UAE daily The National. Some may view this move as ironic, as it comes in response to criticism of trade and transfer mispricing practices within the diamond trade, which NGOs claim has deprived diamond producer states of crucial tax revenue - and UAE is considered the main practitioner of transfer pricing.
More than 300,000 jewelers across India are taking in a three-day strike starting today (Thursday) to protest against a proposed 1% excise duty on gold and diamond jewelry which they believe will severely impact sales of jewelry. In excess of 300 industry associations, including manufacturers, craftspeople and others, are participating. The proposed tax would be another burden on an industry already beset by challenges, said All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman G V Sreedhar.
The repercussions of budget changes affecting the Indian jewelry market have started to be felt with India’s biggest gold market closing down on Tuesday as jewelers in the country’s commercial capital began an indefinite strike to try to reverse a plan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce an excise tax. Jewelers in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar stopped work and want the proposal for a 1% levy announced in Monday’s annual budget to be withdrawn, according to Ketan Shroff, a spokesman for the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Ltd., which has 10,000 members, Bloomberg reported.
The United States and European nations lifted oil and financial sanctions on Iran and released roughly $100 billion of its assets after international inspectors concluded that the country had followed through on promises to dismantle large sections of its nuclear program. Nuclear sanctions have been in place since 2006, while other sanctions stretch back decades. The announcement came after days and weeks of secret high-level diplomacy - particularly by American Secretary of State John Kerry - and the release of long-held prisoners on both sides.
After much delay, an important space bill has finally passed in the Senate. The Space Act of 2015 (H.R.2262 - U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act) would give companies the rights to the resources they might one day extract from asteroids, such as platinum, water and, of course, diamonds. The bill has passed in the Senate with unanimous approval and will now be sent to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the changes, and then on to President Obama who is expected to sign. The U.N.
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.
India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry is expected to announce on November 3 the extension of incentives under the ‘Make in India’ initiative for the gem and jewelry sector. The short-term and medium-term initiatives include the establishment of Special Notified Zones (SNZ) for the sale of rough diamonds by mining companies, a reduction of net profit rates for the diamond industry to 2.5 percent from 6 percent, reductions in import duty on gold and silver to 2 percent from 10 percent, and zero percent for cut and polished colored gemstones from 2.5 percent among other measures.
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.
With demand for South Africa's natural resources dropping, the economy is falling dramatically short of its predicted growth levels. Growth was 5.6 percent in 2007 but this year is seen dropping below 2 percent. Once considered the economic jewel in Africa's crown, South Africa has been overtaken by Nigeria as the largest economy on the African continent.
Control Risks, a private risk consultancy company, published a report on the global anti-corruption and compliance landscape, surveying legal and compliance professionals across the globe. Key take-aways in the report say corruption is still a major cost to international business: 30% of businesses globally reported losing out on deals to corrupt competitors. Secondly fraud risks continue to deter investors: 30% of respondents did not conduct business due to perceived corruption risks.
In the lastest dispute about the shuttered Ellendal diamond mine, a West Australian mine that until recently produced about half the world's supply of rare yellow diamonds, liquidators are attempting to offload the mine onto the state. Kimberley Diamonds, which had a history of failed royalty payments to the WA government, announced on 1 July that it was suspending operations and placing the subsidiary company which operated the mine into voluntary administration. Now, liquidators at Jirsch Sutherland have filed a “notice of disclaimer of onerous property” with the corporate watchdog, kicki
The InSight Crime foundation, in the latest of many reports over the years, writes that the Cinta-Larga indigenous group in Brazil is on the brink of collapse as a result of illegal mining in one of the world's (unconfirmed) largest diamond deposits in Roosevelt. The peak of the diamond rush in Roosevelt occurred in 2004, when there were more than 5,000 miners in the region. It was interrupted after the deaths of 29 miners. Since then, mining operations in the area have been closed and reopened on several occasions.
The European Parliament (EP) wishes to introduce greater protection for the geographical indications of non-agricultural artisanal products in order to protect their authenticity and reinforce consumer confidence. Currently there are no European regulations to protect these products against counterfeiting or unfair commercial practices. Geographical indications only exist at the EU level for agricultural products. The EP now wants the European Commission to draft a legislative proposal to change that. Furthermore, geographical indications would provide more jobs in certain industries.
As reported by Vinod Kuriyan, veteran industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar writes in his latest issue of the "Diamond Intelligence Briefing" that Belgium's KBC Bank purposefully dismantled the Antwerp Diamond Bank in order to protect its secret history of corruption, money laundering and offshore accounts from prosecutors and U.S. banking regulators.
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.”
In a move to make the mining industry more attractive and create greater transparency, Tanzania's authorities launched a mining license e-portal, The Online Mining Cadastre Transactional Portal, allowing companies to search, submit bids and pay application fees for mining licenses online. The platform was officially inaugurated on September 1st.
Tiffany & Co. has convinced the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to review Lazare Kaplan International’s patent for laser-inscribing diamonds. The review concerns LKI’s 2002 patent for laser inscription technology, which has been the subject of litigation since October 2014, when Tiffany first asked the PTAB for inter partes review.
Creditors of a defunct diamond mining operation in Zimbabwe are confident efforts to resuscitate the mine are not in jeopardy, despite the government’s decision to merge all diamond companies under one entity in which the state would own a 50 percent stake. Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa announced the consolidation of all seven mining operations in the Marange area – including Gye Nyame which is under judicial management – and which should be completed before year-end.
According to The East African, the Democratic Republic of Congo is relaxing rules for foreigners seeking to invest in key sectors such as agriculture and energy. The incentives include a payment of $10,000 for the acquisition of a foreign investor investment certificate and a fee of $120 for the registration of a company. Dealers in minerals such as gold and diamonds are required to pay $5,000 and $200,000 respectively for a licence.
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) in the United States has published a guide to Intellectual Property Law. The I’ve Got an Idea! handbook is aimed at jewelry businesses interested in how to protect their intellectual property. "Understanding intellectual property law is extremely important for any business,” said JVC President and CEO Cecilia Gardner.
Cecilia Gardner, CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) and legal counsel for the World Diamond Council (WDC), tells Rapaport News about the work of the JVC, and of the many challenges that threaten to shake consumer confidence and push legal boundaries for the diamond and jewelry industries.
The Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC) continues to grow its legislative influence on Capitol Hill, as the group led a delegation of jewelers to Washington, D.C. for the fifth consecutive year. The group capitalized on the opportunity to discuss a new sales tax fairness bill – the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) – that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 15. “Traditional jewelers are losing sales to online competitors because we are required to collect sales tax on purchases made in our stores.
Wholesalers at the Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDIA) seminar in NYC expected to learn whether Zimbabwe green diamonds with Kimberley Process (KP) certification are legal to trade. Instead, they learned that U.S. sanctions against the country made all diamonds from Zimbabwe off limits whether KP certified or not. In 2003, sanctions effectively stopped diamond trading between Zimbabwe, the EU and the US.
A bill on mineral exploration is set to be tabled before Parliament with legislators pushing for a comprehensive resource evaluation that will pave the way for increased investment in the mining sector.
Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, welcomes congressman Jason Chaffetz’s introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) and supports bipartisan efforts to pass e-fairness legislation. JA has led the fight for sales tax fairness in the jewelry industry.
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.
A senior government diamond valuator in Joburg has accused his bosses of blocking his investigation into diamond giant De Beers – and then firing him to shut him up. Conrad Benn, the country’s first black diamond valuator, has launched an urgent application in the high court in Joburg to challenge the South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator’s decision to suspend him in April last year and fire him last month.
Peter Major, a mining specialist at Cadiz Corporate Solutions, warns against assuming current conditions will prevail since the mining industry in the country has changed so much over the last few decades that the old rules no longer apply. “South Africa is the world’s richest country in terms of mineral resources. We have more resources than Russia and the US combined. This was the greatest mining country in the world for 100 years, but it’s not anymore.”
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.
The Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDIA) and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) held a seminar in New York City to answer queries about how to buy green diamonds from Zimbabwe without being in contravention of American law.
According to CBC News, Ontario's only diamond mine, De Beers' owned Victor Mine, is known for its exceptional quality stones, but according to official documents, the provincial government made more money on salt royalties in 2013-14 than diamonds. De Beers Canada, which owns the only diamond mine in the province, paid $226 in royalties, while salt netted the province $3.89 million in royalties.
The bringing together of Zimbabwe's diamond mining companies into one firm could result in huge revenue losses, and poor remedy of human and environmental rights among other issues, warns the country's Centre for Research and Development.