De Beers Group has announced it is expanding its pilot project in Sierra Leone called GemFair, an innovative project to trace and sell ethically-sourced artisanal and small-scale mined (ASM) diamonds. The development of a toolkit that can be used in the field should help to create a secure and transparent route to market, a genuine sore spot for ASM diamonds.
Expanding the scope of the Kimberley Process to include issues related to human rights and labor relations, as is being advocated by the World Diamond Council (WDC), will help create conditions in which Sub-Saharan Africa’s artisanal diamond miners can meet their economic potential and support the development of their countries’ economies, Marie-Chantal Kaninda, Executive Director of WDC, told the 6th Forum of the Africa-Belgium Business Week, meeting yesterday in the Belgian town of Genval.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has developed an illustrated booklet, “Selecting Gem Rough: A Guide for Artisanal Miners,” to help small-scale miners learn more about the quality and classification of the gems they recover, and ultimately to obtain greater market value. As Russel Shor explains, the two pilot projects GIA initiated with Pact, a Washington, D.C.-based non-governmental development organization with offices in Tanzania, are having an impact on these miners' lives.
Last week, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the University of Antwerp hosted an “Innovation and Diamonds” conference at the Antwerpsche Diamantkring - the only rough diamond bourse in the world - featuring internationally-recognized experts from across the spectrum of the diamond trade, including alternative financing, the impact of digital on the luxury segment, the feasibility of small-scale ethical mining, as well as the earthquake and aftershocks of De Beers’ foray into lab-grown diamonds: LightBox.
Ethics: it's "More than a PR issue!" The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), a non-profit working to improve the lives and working conditions of artisanal and small-scale miners in Africa, issued a response to the recent decision by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on synthetic diamonds and how it could impact the market for artisanally-mined diamonds.
In a landmark deal - hailed as a first ever in South Africa - Kimberley’s illicit miners, known as 'zama-zamas', have now been legitimized. Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Godfrey Oliphant issued the artisanal miners with mining permits in an agreement aimed at curbing the rapid growth of illegal mining which has been spurred on by rising unemployment. The newly-licensed informal miners have been given access to 500 hectares of land owned by Kimberley Ekapa Mining (KEM JV), a joint venture between Petra Diamonds and Ekapa Mining.
John Teeling is the executive chairman of Botswana Diamonds PLC, one of the most prolific diamond exploration and project development companies that holds exploration licences in Botswana and South Africa. With 40 years worth of resources experience, he is often called a ‘serial entrepreneur’, and is involved in a number of other AIM exploration companies. Notably, he was the founder of African Diamonds, which discovered the AK6 mine in Botswana, a venture that eventually became Lucara's famous Karowe Mine. The Lucara Diamond Corp.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is currently working to improve the working conditions for artisanal miners in conformity with traceability standards proposed by the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), according to the World Diamond Council (WDC). In the interest of fostering such improvements, Stephane Fischler, acting president of the World Diamond Council (WDC), and Marie-Chantal Kaninda, executive director of the WDC, traveled last week to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to meet with key stakeholders involved in the Kimberley Process (KP).
In what can only be described as a brilliant initiative, De Beers Group today announced it is preparing to pilot a program called GemFair to create a secure and transparent route to market for ethically-sourced artisanal and small-scale mined (ASM) diamonds. GemFair will use dedicated technology to record ASM production at mine sites that meet demonstrable ethical standards, with the aim of purchasing rough diamonds from approved locations while helping improve working conditions and livelihoods for those working in the sector.
"In recent years the diamond industry has been battered by falling prices and the growing threat from synthetic, lab-grown stones", writes Jon Yeomans for The Telegraph. "But it is alert to the problems in its supply chain and the reputational threat these hold.
For 10 years, the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) has been working to transform artisanal diamond mining into an economically viable, socially and environmentally responsible activity that will benefit miners, their communities and their governments, and consequently, the diamond and jewelry industry, the organization writes in a press release on the occasion of its ten-year anniversary.
The Diamond Development Initiative, which works to formalize the Artisanal and Small-scale mining (ASM) sector and improve the lives and working conditions of artisanal and small-scale miners, their families and communities, honored 110 children from remote mining communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo that attended DDI's mobile schooling program. They have completed their remedial primary education program, passed their state exams, and are now participating in their local graduation ceremony. The goal of the mobile schooling program is to provide access to remedial education to c
CEO of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), Dr. Moris Mpofu, last week described plans for reversing the resource curse in the country's tumultuous diamond industry with the creation of a multinational diamond park in Mutare - Zimbabwe's fourth-largest city situated on its eastern border.
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, established to preserve the world’s most treasured land- and seascapes, granted University of Delaware’s Saleem Ali the funding to launch a knowledge hub for colored gemstones, including signature projects across the globe. This includes Madagascar and South Asia where the projects are focused on miner education as well as health and safety outreach.
Zimbabwe NGO Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) said the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) does not have the capacity to mine diamonds from kimberlite sources, reports Rough-Polished, adding that the wholly owned state company set up early last year had no equipment of its own, and would likely turn to foreign investors to develop in Tsvingwe (Penhalonga) in Manicaland Province, which is believed to hold kimberlitic diamonds. “A 50/50 joint venture is likely to be negotiated between ZCDC and its partner.
GIA (Gemological Institute of America), together with international development organization Pact, has launched a pilot study to test a new rough gem guide. The guide was developed specifically to offer basic gemological and market knowledge for artisanal miners in gem-producing regions. The illustrated booklet, available in English and Tanzanian Swahili, was distributed to approximately 45 women miners in the Tanga region of Tanzania. “This project is at the very core of GIA’s mission,” said GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques.
There is no ways that we, as the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), can in good conscience grant permits to artisanal miners for deep-level mines, that in most cases are being accessed using old, abandoned shaft infrastructure, which are unsafe. We would essentially be sending people to their deaths. Our aim is to allow artisanal miners to undertake mining on surface deposits by supporting them in attaining the required permits and procuring the necessary personal protective equipment.
BBC News and Premier are reporting that an artisanal miner, who is apparently a Christian pastor, has discovered one of the world's largest rough diamonds in Sierra Leone's Kono district. If correct, and if it is gem-quality, the diamond, said to weigh 709 carats, would be one of the 20 largest gem-quality diamonds ever found - coming in at #13, right behind the famous 726-carat Jonker Diamond recovered at the Elandsfontein mine in South Africa on January 17, 1934, and just ahead of the 650.80-carat Jubilee Diamond, discovered in 1895 in South Africa.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) was acknowledged for their grant to the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an initiative dedicated to improving the social and economic conditions of artisanal, small-scale miners and their families.
“AWDC has been a longstanding and reliable partner,” says Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of DDI. “Their support enables DDI to continue its efforts to formalize the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector in ways that benefit miners, their communities and local economies.”
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), which collaborates on responsible sourcing practices in the jewelry supply chain, has launched its, "New and improved self-assessment workbook to help kick-start 2017 for our members." RJC explains, "The self-assessment workbook helps members self-assess their performance against the RJC Code of Practices (COP).
“There are many exploration opportunities for diamond miners in our country. Even though the alluvial diamond deposits are shrinking, there are still diamonds in kimberlite pipes which could be mined. We want to continue to be active in the global diamond industry, and we’ll continue to make sure that investors get good return on their investments, as long as Sierra Leone get its share as well, naturally. We want to create a situation where everybody profits.”
- President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma
"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.
Last Friday, September 30, the second of three rough diamond valuation forums initiated by the current Kimberley Process (KP) Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, was held in Antwerp.
Kimberley Process Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem has visited the Central African Republic (CAR) where he met President Faustin-Archange Touadera and Mines Minister Leopold Mboli Fratran. CAR resumed exports of rough diamonds earlier this month after a three-year ban when an internecine war broke out with both sides accused of using diamonds to fund their activities. Mining was is due to resume once other zones in the western part of the country are declared compliant.
Angola's Ministry of Geology and Mining Diamond has approved diamond exploration in three areas of the Malanje province with artisanal mining cooperatives authorized to explore more than 410 square kilometers. The authorizations specify “that the aims of integrating the artisanal miners can be achieved in an effective way through semi-industrial production combined with artisanal production.” The concessions are valid for 12 months and may be extended for a further four years. Malanje is located about 400 kilometers east of the capital of Luanda.
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.
The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an organization dedicated to improving the working conditions and lives of artisanal diamond miners, is announcing the launch of the Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS), the organization anounced today in a press release. Maendeleo, the Swahili word for development and progress, is a fitting designation for standards that will ensure respect for human rights, for the environment and for community well-being, according to Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director.
Fourteen officials from the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy are currently following a rough diamond training course provided by the Antwerp diamond industry, a project spearheaded by Belgian Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem. The stated objective of the course is to ensure that Brazil is able to apply the strict requirements of the Kimberley Process properly, as Secretary of State De Crem comments, “Antwerp is one of the leaders with regard to applying the strict Kimberley Process regulations.
On the one hand, a $3 billion diamond mining project, on the other, one of the world’s most beautiful wild beasts and nearly 1,000 hectares of pristine forest and other exotic flora and fauna face destruction. A decision on whether to allow Rio Tinto to explore for diamonds under the Chhatarpur forests in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has been boiling for the past decade, but now could be approaching resolution with the government of India to decide its fate.
The Fairtrade Foundation reported that volume sales of Fairtrade gold jumped 440% in Britain last year. The foundation also said Fairtrade mining co-operatives in Latin America sold 170 kg of Fairtrade gold on the global market which generated a ‘Fairtrade premium’ of $340,000 on top of the selling price to invest in community projects, Jewellery Focus reports. In addition, the number of registered goldsmiths using Fairtrade gold in 11 markets rose to 389, with 142 being in Britain.
JCK's Rob Bates takes an in-depth look at Signet’s Responsible Sourcing Protocol for Diamonds that aims to provide information on the origin of stones from the diamond industry's "notoriously convoluted supply chain" where parcels are frequently sold from various sources. "The new program was designed with that in mind and will allow companies to break down the origin of their diamonds into several different categories, says Signet consultant John Hall, the Rio Tinto veteran who helped design the protocol. “We recognized that we needed to have a fairly good amount of flexibility,” he says.
The Zimbabwe government cabinet has approved the takeover of the Chiadzwa diamond fields to be run 100% by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) after mining companies failed to renew their licences. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said their was no going back on the shutting down the operations of the mining companies, and said that they would not be welcome even if they made a U-turn and decided to join the consolidated company after all.
There is need to urgently come up with effective interventions to rein in chaos ignited by the order for the miners to immediately stop operations. It is not a secret that what transpired [in the chaos of years gone by] damaged the country's image ... we should not invite this upon ourselves again at a time when Zimbabwe has more pressing issues ... The U.N. has placed embargos on conflict diamonds, a tag Zimbabwe's enemies can easily place on the country if the situation in Chiadzwa is allowed to spiral out of control ...
A government decision to consolidate diamond mining companies into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Corporation (ZCDC) is unlikely to create transparency and accountability in the sector, especially given that the same old players will remain integral to the new corporation, analysts have warned.
Associated Press: In Brazil's Minas Gerais state, rural miners explore the massive craters left behind by giant mining companies in search of diamonds. AP photographer Felipe Dana created a collection of images about the artisanal miners and their craft as a work project for the 2015 World Press Photo Latin America masterclass held in Mexico City in December. The area that Dana documented has been explored for the precious stone since the time of slavery.
NewsDay reports that one illegal panner was allegedly shot dead while two others were injured when security guards manning diamond fields in Marange opened fire in the early hours of Christmas. Although Manicaland police spokesman Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa professed ignorance on the matter, saying he had not been in office, NewsDay says that the police have since launched investigations. According to a local pressure group, Marange Development Trust (MDT), more panners were losing their lives or getting injured while trying to illegally enter the diamond fields. MDT le
From a press release: The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) is pleased to announce a three-year contribution from the Anglo American Group Foundation in support of DDI’s efforts to promote responsible sourcing and improve the lives of thousands of artisanal diamond miners and their families in Africa. Funding from Anglo American enables DDI to carry out its principle functions, including the registration of artisanal miners, the implementation of the Development Diamond StandardsTM at mining sites and development support to communities in need, such as clean water and education.
A new report by the Groupe d'Appui aux Exploitants des Ressources Naturelles (GAERN) in collaboration with Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) details "the atrocious acts committed by unauthorized government agencies in the artisanal diamond mines in rural Mbuji- Mayi, a town in Kasaï-Oriental Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo." The report presents the results of a field study of artisanal diamond mining sites that interviewed almost 500 people from ten sites in the town, and draws damning conclusions about the level of corruption, extortion and even physical abuse that leaves the mini
Stellar Diamonds plc, the London listed (AIM: STEL) diamond development company focused on West Africa, is pleased to announce that it has formally submitted to the National Minerals Agency (NMA) of Sierra Leone its application for a large scale mining licence for the Tongo project. The move comes after the World Health Organization's announcement earlier this month that Sierra Leone is Ebola-free after 42 days without any new infections. The Tongo kimberlite diamond project is forecast to yield 840,000 carats and revenues of $358 million.