The World Diamond Council (WDC) has issued a press release following the Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary Meeting held in Luanda, Angola last week, reasserting the importance of the tripartite foundation of the KP and reiterating that no conflict diamonds should, under any circumstances, enter the legitimate diamond trade.
ALROSA Vice President Andrey Polyakov has been elected World Diamond Council (WDC) Vice President at the WDC's annual general meeting taking place in Moscow. Polyakov will become WDC President in 2016. The WDC members outlined a strategic plan for the coming two years, which includes cooperation with the KP on the issues regarding the exclusion of conflict diamonds from international trade. The Council will continue its work on improving and fulfilling the demands of regulatory and voluntary systems to control the trade in diamonds.
In a press release, Sodiam C.A.R. - a diamond buying company registered in the Central African Republic - has responded to Amnesty International's report of September 29, "Chains of Abuse", which uses CAR as a case study to examine the diamond supply chain. The report includes criticisms of Sodiam C.A.R.'s activities since the suspension of the Kimberley Process in the CAR, alleging that the company failed to ensure that all the diamonds it purchased were acquired from lawful sources, and that there is a "high risk" that they purchased diamonds that have funded armed groups.
World Diamond Council President Edward Asscher has rejected a report by London-based Amnesty International last month that said diamond trafficking was helping to fuel violence in the Central African Republic. The Kimberley Process has removed “more than 99 percent” of so-called conflict diamonds from the market, Asscher said in an interview with Bloomberg Business. "The diamond council [WDC] gladly re-invites Amnesty to participate and join us and the civil society coalition looking into aspects of CAR and the whole Kimberley Process," he said.
U.S.-Belgian national Michel Desaedeleer has been extradited to Belgium where he is in custody and charged with crimes in Sierra Leone, TV station RTBF reported. Spanish authorities arrested Desaedeleer on September 1 on charges of enslavement and diamond pillaging during Sierra Leone’s civil war, according to Swiss-based victims’ association Civitas Maxima. Desaedeleer is suspected of forcing enslaved civilians to mine for diamonds in Sierra Leone’s eastern district of Kono between 1999 and 2001.
An energy company executive has appeared in court in New York to face criminal charges that he diverted $18.5 million in company profits to a personal investment in an alleged conflict diamond mine Congolese. Gary Mole, the onetime owner of now-defunct Glacial Energy Holdings, pleaded not guilty to avoiding $740,000 in New York state taxes from 2005 to 2009. At different times, Mole classified the corporate cash as his own, listed the Générales des Mines au Congo mine as a consultant and backdated the “consulting agreement” with the mine, also known as Gemico, according to court papers.
The UAE has been formally announced as the Kimberley Process vice-chair, meaning it will assume the lead in 2016. UAE will become the 14th country to take on the annual role since the body’s foundation in 2003, and is the first Arab country to become the KP vice-chair. “[We plan] to work together on the growth and reach of the Kimberley Process while consolidating the achievements of the past 12 years – bringing to an end the flow of conflict diamonds globally,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem, the executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).
In an open letter responding to the Time Magazine article "Blood Diamonds", the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) says the article, claiming that despite the industry's efforts to ban conflict diamonds the mining industry is still "tainted by conflict and misery", paints in inaccurate picture of the situation in producing countries such as the DRC and CAR.
In a confidential report, a UN Security Council expert panel says conflict diamonds continue to fuel conflict in the Central African Republic, as diamonds from areas that are under direct or indirect control of armed groups, including Amada Gaza region, are smuggled out of the country via neighbouring country Cameroon. The reports cites various cases of diamond trafficking through Cameroon border towns Gbiti, Kenzou and Yaounde.
Spanish authorities have arrested Michel Desaedeleer, who has US and Belgian citizenship, on charges of enslavement and diamond pillaging during Sierra Leone’s civil war, according to Swiss-based victims’ association Civitas Maxima. Desaedeleer is suspected of forcing enslaved civilians to mine for diamonds in Sierra Leone’s eastern district of Kono between 1999 and 2001. A Belgian investigation led to a European arrest warrant being issued against Desaedeleer, who normally lives in America, earlier this year.
The United Nations Security Council blacklisted on Thursday 21 August the Belgian branch of Central African Republic's diamond trading company and three people linked to the country's more than three-year-old conflict. The blacklisted diamond trading house is Kardiam, which U.N. sanctions experts say is the Antwerp, Belgium-based operation of the Central African Republic's diamond-trading company Badica. Under UN sanctions, the firm's assets are to be frozen and business with it will be illegal.
One of the more interesting uses of drones is a partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and US Geological Survey (USGS). Since June 2014, they have helped support the Kimberley Process (KP) by using camera-equipped drones to survey the mines, create 3D models of the operations, and keep track of small scale diamond mining sites in Western Guinea. Pete Chico, a member of USGS who was deployed to Guinea, writes, "[these mines are] often remote and spread over vast territories […] th
The World Diamond Council (WDC) will hold its Annual General Meeting, from October 12 to 14, in Moscow. Among the high-profile speakers to address the opening session on October 13 will be Alrosa President Andrey Zharkov and senior Russian Finance Ministry officials. Among the issues to be discussed are the challenges to the Kimberley Process and the WDC's response, as well as the council's first strategic organizational plan.
Ever wondered what a non-informed but socially engaged (Millennial) consumer finds out when he or she wants to know more about conflict free diamonds and ethical sourcing? Christina Nuñez, Editor for Global Citizen, describes her quest for information on conflict diamonds, resulting in four observations on what the industry is and isn't doing in regards to "ethically sourced diamonds". Her conclusion: the industry's efforts so far, including the Kimberley Process, are insufficient and do not allow her "to act as an ethical consumer".
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has developed a work plan to resume rough diamond exports from the Central African Republic (CAR), which would partially end the sanctions of the country’s diamond production. Bernado Campos, Angola’s chairman of the KP, explained that KP participants and observers reached an understanding that CAR may commence exporting rough diamonds upon full implementation of a proposed operational framework and pending completion of a proposed KP review mission to the country.
Radio France International reports that at the intersessional meeting of the Kimberley Process in Luanda, the organization that regulates the diamond trade, the decision was made on Friday 26 to partially lift the embargo on the Central African Republic for two years. The diamonds mined in the "green zone", that is to say in the west of the country, will be exported and the Central African Republic will be able to receive the tax revenue.
In an extensive analysis, JCK News Director Rob Bates argues the diamond industry needs to get better control of its supply chain, and sums up eight good reasons to do so. Firstly, Bates argues, issues regarding social responsibilty aren't a temporary phenomenon. If anything, social issues will become an even hotter topic in the future. Secondly, tomorrow's customers - the Millennials - are taking social issues seriously; ignoring them is not an option.
"In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs, what limits can be placed on human trafficking, organized crime, the drug trade, commerce in blood diamonds, and the fur of endangered species?”
JCK reports Pope Francis mentioned blood diamonds in a list of societal ills in his encyclical on climate change.
In what is probably a first for the diamond and jewelry industry, organizers of the Jewelry Industry Summit due to take place in New York next March are attempting to raise money for the event via crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The summit will address sustainability and responsible sourcing. The event’s fund-raising goal is $30,000; as of now $4,735 has been raised.
We Will Win Peace follows the journey of two Congolese miners - Chang and Apocalypse - as they react to the competing pressures placed on them by Hollywood celebrities, rebel soldiers, student activists and, ultimately, their own families. The legislation mandates publicly traded companies to disclose whether they source conflict minerals, including gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum, from certain areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding African countries.
A “peer-review mission from the Kimberley Process,” composed of industry officials, members of civil society groups and representatives from member countries, will visit CAR from April 28 to May 5 to review the embargo currently imposed by the KP, Joris Heeren, deputy head of the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, confirmed to Bloomberg. French Ambassador in Bangui, Malinas said France supports partially lifting the embargo in the Western part of the country.
Trading of diamonds, especially with a gulf country, has come under the lens of intelligence agencies in New Delhi for suspected terror financing and money laundering. Indian officials discussed a report from Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units claiming that diamond trade was allegedly being used for routing of finances for terror activities. The report highlighted record increase of trade of the precious stones and minerals with United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Legislation enacted by US President Barack Obama to prevent companies’ use of conflict minerals from Congo is said to be causing more damage than good, according to local miners. The Dodd-Franck act; whose goal is to cut diamond funding of militias is plunging miners and their families into deep poverty.
ThinkProgress says a considerable part of the mineral trade is still being used to finance armed conflict, and has updated a list of nine things they believe the world needs to know about conflict minerals.
“It’s a classical case of blood diamonds.”
CAR Smuggling Hub for Diamonds Despite KP Suspension
Members of the Congolese army are continuously involved in DRC’s (Democratic Republic of Congo) diamond trade, says Global Witness. Although prohibited by Congolese law, members of the military are mining minerals, forcing diggers and mineral traders to pay ‘taxes’, and participating in mineral smuggling. Congo is preparing for an international conference on conflict minerals that will take place in Kinshasa.
Patricia Syvrud, founder and president of Joia Consulting, has been named as World Diamond Council Executive Director.
Although the Kimberley Process has tremendously transformed the global diamond trade, there is still the challenge to scale up systems for ethical supply chains so that millions can participate and benefit from them.
Angola’s Presidency of the Kimberley Process in 2015 receives positive prognosis from KPCS official Estanislau Buio. Until 2015 the main KP priorities will be the Central Africa Republic and Venezuela. Other plans include helping Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea Conakry to resume exports of raw diamonds, and implementing the Moscow and Washington declarations on internal control mechanisms.