JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – An observers’ forum, held alongside the World Diamond Council and Kimberley Process (KP) intersessional meeting, saw its members, along with the African Diamond Producers Association, the Civil Society Coalition and the Diamond Development Initiative achieve consensus on proposals to strengthen KP internal controls, aimed at establishing a policy on conflict of interest and creating a KP permanent secretariat.
“This week, we talked about the fundamentals of our future as we enter the three-year cycle of KP Certification Scheme review; a process that is vitally important as it will determine not only the future of the KP, but also the future of the entire diamond industry for years to come,” said WDC president Andrey Polyakov.
He added that, to elevate the KP to the “next level of effectiveness”, industry needed to look beyond administrative issues and ensure that responsibility and expertise go hand-in-hand in the coming years.
“We took a strong step forward by rigorously and constructively questioning all aspects related to the origin of the diamond product that consumers ultimately purchase. It is in all of our best interests to continue this productive dialogue so that we can continue to deliver on our promise to eradicate conflict diamonds from the supply chain,” added Polyakov.
A separate forum on diamond equity was also held at this year’s intersessional, which was met with great interest by African mining nations. The conversations created an important dialogue between US and Indian retailers and diamond producers in African countries.
“The fruitful discussions we had will continue in the coming months in the spirit of partnership and commitment to finding solutions to our challenges. One of the topics discussed at length was the need for African countries to get maximum benefit from artisanal mining to develop their local economies and improve the living conditions of their citizens.
“Compliance with business and social responsibility standards will be the path forward to making this possible. The WDC, through its members, plays an important role in this area by providing access to important evaluation training that supports professional appraisers in their work in areas where help is needed and recommended by the KP,” Polyakov noted.