The first steps towards setting up a traceability program have been taken in Democratic Republic Congo (DRC), which dominates the world’s supply of diamonds from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).
A pilot project involving Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the DRC mining ministry and tech company Everledger aims to establish a fully transparent value chain in a country which has a diamond sector vulnerable to human rights violations, poor working conditions, corruption and opaque or illicit trade.
The project, called OrigemA, is initially being funded by the AWDC and will focus on transparency, sustainability and fair trade.
The DRC is the largest producer of artisanal mined diamonds in the world, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of global ASM production, which in turn constitutes an estimated 15 to 20% of the total diamond production in the world.
DRC’s mining minister Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi said stakeholders “will work with the other partners to create a legal and fiscal framework that allows efficient formalization, combatting corruption, eradicating logistical hurdles, and increasing transparency in financial and fiscal flows.”
Karen Rentmeesters, AWDC’s head of industry relations, said: “This bottom-up, collaborative approach ensures that we create a model that considers the realities of artisanal, small-scale mining in remote regions and that the resulting blueprint can be scaled up and replicated in the field.”