Russian diamond ban creates costly delays, Antwerp diamond dealers say

Antwerp’s diamond dealers face long and costly delays following an EU ban on Russian-origin diamonds that took effect on March 1 and has slowed imports, they say in a letter seen by Reuters.

The letter, dated March 13, said the disruptions would erode the competitive advantage of the centuries-old Antwerp diamond trade. It was addressed to Belgium’s main diamond industry group, Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), and requested a review of the new procedures.

Any impact is likely to be reduced by sluggish market conditions. Diamond inventories are high and prices have fallen. Paul Zimnisky, a global diamond analyst, said last month that prices were down 25% from their early 2022 peak.

Al Cook, CEO of mining company Anglo American’s De Beers’ diamond business, has said the miner would reduce production this year in response to surplus supply.

“While we fully support the decisions taken by Belgium, the European Union, and the G7 nations, in regards to the sanctions of January 1st 2024, the implementation of the measures to enforce the sanction has adversely affected all of our operations,” said the letter, signed by over 100 local firms.

“The intention was to prevent the flow of diamonds from sanctioned states, but the reality we face is the severe disruption of our supply chains, and alienation from the rest of the global trade.”

A Belgian government official said the delays were temporary and were easing.

The EU and Group of Seven (G7) countries agreed to ban direct imports of Russian diamonds to their markets as of Jan. 1 and before phasing in a full ban on Russian-origin stones via third countries from March 1 because of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Russia’s state-run Alrosa, which together with De Beers is one of the world’s top diamond producers, was also placed under sanctions by the EU.

Diamond hub
Antwerp remains the world’s biggest diamond hub though 90% of stones are polished in India. Belgium pushed hard for the G7 to adopt a version of its proposed plan to try to prevent Antwerp from losing more business after major Western jewellers began eschewing Russian stones.

Diamond dealers said their shipments have been held up for over a week at customs even if the gems were straight from African producers.

The Belgian government official said shipments pending would be processed within 24 hours.

“The indirect ban coincided with the Hong Kong Diamond Fair which is an annual peak period… This, in combination with the expected teething problems caused some initial delay in processing of shipments during the first days,” he said.

Diamond dealers say they expect more problems when the additional tracing requirements take effect from September.

“We see the procedures will cause Antwerp to further lose competitive advantage… rather than deal a meaningful blow to any sanctioned products,” the letter said.

“The current trajectory threatens the existence of Antwerp’s diamond industry, a heritage of six centuries.”

The head of the AWDC, Ari Epstein, said the group would soon present the new measures, adding it was “acutely aware of the challenges and disruptions this timing may have caused”.

“Let me be unequivocally clear: the violation of sanctions is criminal in nature and not taken lightly by governments or our organization. Our commitment to compliance… is unwavering and absolute,” Epstein said in a statement.

Source: Dmitry Zhdannikov and Julia Payne

US’s New List of Russian Sanctions Includes Diamond Exporter

The US Treasury has imposed sanctions against nearly 300 Russian entities in its latest round, including a company specializing in the export of rough and polished diamonds.

The new series of restrictions the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has applied marks the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and is also in response to the death of opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny, the Treasury said last week.

OFAC has targeted Almazyuvelirexport, Russia’s state-owned exporter of rough and polished diamonds and precious metals. The company was designated for “operating, or having operated, in the metals and mining sector of the Russian Federation economy,” it added.

Other companies that were banned included financial institutions, the defense industry, companies “providing backdoor support for Russia’s war machine,” and those connected to Navalny’s imprisonment.

Source: Rapaport

Diamond Industry Gears Up for Tighter Controls

The diamond industry is bracing for significant change in 2024.

New sanctions on Russia will fast-track the adoption of traceability programs across the supply chain. Should they wish to sell those diamonds into the Group of Seven (G7) countries, companies will have to prove their goods were sourced from non-Russian production.

On December 6, the G7 — comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States — announced its latest sanctions, aimed at “limiting Russia’s ability to fund its illegal war,” the joint statement read.

Diamonds featured prominently in this round of measures, perhaps because the group had delayed a policy decision on how to handle Russia’s diamond supply until then — nearly two years after the war in Ukraine began on February 24, 2022.

Initial sanctions targeted Russia’s oil and gas industry as well as restricting its banking system and the transfer of funds, while touching on diamonds in an ambiguous way.

Still, diamonds contribute to Russia’s government revenue and therefore to the war effort, causing the sector to be entangled in the sanctions discussion.

The Russian Federation owns a 33% stake in mining company Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds by volume. The company generated rough sales of $4 billion from 45.5 million carats in 2021, the last prewar publication of its earnings.

“The goal of this effort remains centered on reducing revenue that Russia earns from diamonds, which fuels Moscow’s war machine against Ukraine,” the European Commission (EC) stressed in a separate statement, which provided additional details about the sanctions.

Sanctions in place
The sanctions will replace existing measures some countries implemented earlier.

The US banned imports of diamonds from Russia in March 2022, but left a loophole allowing for polished stones transformed from Russian rough in third countries. The European Union delayed implementing any restrictions out of concern such measures would place Belgium at a disadvantage in its competition with Dubai — as well as Mumbai and Tel Aviv — for market share as the premier rough-trading center. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), India and Israel have not implemented any restrictions on Russian-origin diamonds, though they export goods to those countries with a ban in place.

An EU-only import ban would not have been efficient, the EC added in its explainer. “It would have meant the death of Antwerp,” said an official who requested anonymity. “What is on the table is the survival of Antwerp.”

Consequently, the EU has been the driving force for a fully coordinated approach and timeline within the G7, the European Commission emphasized.

That effort sees the group phase in various levels of diamond sanctions.

The first stage, which took effect on January 1, banned direct imports of diamonds from Russia. On March 1, the sanctions will be extended to diamonds above 1 carat that were sourced from Russian rough but polished in a third country, addressing the loophole that existed in the original US sanctions. Finally, beginning September 1, the restrictions will include lab-grown diamonds, jewelry, and watches containing diamonds above 0.50 carats.

Traceability component
The big challenge lies in how to verify that a diamond is not of Russian origin. To that end, the group will establish a “robust traceability-based verification and certification mechanism for rough diamonds,” which will be mandatory from September 1, the EC said in its statement. A pilot program for the system will begin on March 1, it added.

The idea is to create a digital twin of the real diamond in its rough state and to issue a certificate of the diamond’s origin, the commission explained. It is unclear whether that certificate will be a physical printout — as customs officials are used to — or only digital, noted another European official.

The identifying information and certificate will be entered into a stand-alone blockchain-based ledger, which will be inter-operational with several existing solutions facilitating the traceability mechanism, an EC spokesperson explained in an email.

In other words, there will be a centralized blockchain that will be fed with information from traceability service providers.

“This allows the diamond to be traced through the production process and can be presented at the time of importation of the finished diamond,” the spokesperson said.

The commission did not clarify by press time the criteria service providers will have to meet to contribute to the G7 system, or what information will be uploaded to the centralized ledger. Companies with diamond-related traceability programs include De Beers’ Tracr, Everledger, iTraceiT, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and Sarine Technologies.

Industry concerns
The certification of goods registered on the ledger will be done in Belgium, with some exceptions being considered, an official noted.

As the only producer country among the G7 nations, Canada may be given the option to certify its own production, the official said. It is also understood that rough earmarked for beneficiation — polishing in the country of mined origin — will be exempt from passing through Belgium to be G7-certified.

De Beers is waiting for clarification on several points, most importantly whether its practice of mixing supply from its mines in Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa — known as aggregation — will be affected.

“We await clarity on how the new import requirements will be implemented in practice and will urge a sensible and practical approach to implementation that recognizes the fundamental importance of aggregation in delivering value for diamond businesses and producer countries, as well as the significance of beneficiation,” a company spokesperson said.

De Beers’ assortments will still have to be certified in Belgium, but it will be an exception in that these goods will be the only “mixed origin” ones that will be allowed, the official noted.

Yoram Dvash, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), urged the G7 to include other centers in the registration process.

It is possible to create “a more efficient and effective mechanism” by allowing other major rough diamond centers such as Dubai, Mumbai, and Tel Aviv, as well as producing countries, to conduct the inspection and registration of goods, Dvash stressed in a statement immediately following the G7 announcement.

The Industry’s Russia Crisis: Formulating Sanctions

Ready for volume
Among the concerns expressed have been whether Antwerp can handle the large volumes that are expected to accompany the new mechanism. One representative estimated the system would not result in higher volumes than those with which the Antwerp Diamond Office has dealt in the past. That official referenced 2021 as a comparative base, when Belgium imported 68.1 million carats of rough valued at EUR 6.49 billion ($7.1 billion), and exports reached 90.7 million carats worth EUR 7.48 billion ($8.18 billion), according to data the National Bank of Belgium published.

Before the war in Ukraine, Belgium was the largest buyer of Russian rough, importing 27.1 million carats worth EUR 1.57 billion ($1.72 billion) in 2021 — 24% of its total rough imports by value and 40% by volume (see graph). Excluding the Russian goods will mean Antwerp won’t see a significant spike compared to 2021, the official noted. Belgium’s imports of rough from Russia declined 19% in 2022 and have slumped 76% year on year to just EUR 285.1 million ($311.7 million) in the first nine months of 2023, the National Bank of Belgium data showed.

The bigger question is whether the traceability programs can handle such volumes. To date, adoption within the trade has been minimal and largely driven by retail jewelry brands that require thorough source verification.

“We continue to accelerate development of Tracr and engage with the wider industry as we await further details so that Tracr can support the industry’s needs as best as possible,” a De Beers spokesperson said. “However, we also acknowledge that even Tracr, the world’s most advanced diamond traceability platform, does not yet have the breadth of coverage that would be required to meet the G7 objectives in the stated time frames.”

Sarine recently unveiled its Autoscan Plus system, which it claims can scan 1,000 stones per hour for its Diamond Journey traceability program. Autoscan Plus was built for scale and developed as a smaller, cheaper solution, Sarine CEO David Block said.

Extra cost
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the local trade body that incorporates both government and industry elements and oversees operations of the Diamond Office, is reportedly expanding its capabilities to handle the extra volume.

Still, many in the trade are skeptical whether the industry is ready to implement a digital traceability solution at such a scale. “The government fell for false promises regarding how to work and implement the system,” said one dealer. “Even if it is possible, it will be expensive.”

Early critics of the system have expressed concern about the additional cost of certification and of potential double shipping to Belgium.

“Having only one point for registration and inspection will impose additional costs of time and money to the diamond trade,” the WFDB said. It will lengthen the cycle of trading and getting goods to market, added another dealer.

Vipul Shah, chairman of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), expects the move will impact the cost of raw materials for local manufacturers. “We are coordinating with the World Diamond Council [WDC] to mitigate such disruption and cost impact,” he said in an email.

Members of the trade cautioned that the cost of certification may even make Russian goods more attractive, while the market bifurcates to a two-tier system.

De Beers said it wants to understand how risks such as the creation of a potential supply bottle neck and additional costs will be managed if the G7 intends to limit the points of admission of rough diamonds into G7 nations. “We advocate for a solution that facilitates the trade of our diamonds into G7 countries, rather than restricting them,” the De Beers spokesperson stressed.

The EC responded that the cost for certification is expected to be negligible, “especially considering the price of diamonds,” according to its spokesperson. “The fee will be cost-bearing, not designed to generate profits.”

As for the double shipping, officials expect the goods will simply pass through Belgium as the main gateway — instead of other centers — before being sent for manufacturing. The extra shipping cost will likely apply for rough designated for tender sale in other rough-diamond locations such as Dubai and Tel Aviv.

Demand for Diamond Traceability Spikes

Artisanal and cottage industry

While the registration of rough will be overseen by the AWDC at the Diamond Office, it is a government-led mechanism, Rapaport understands. That means that it would be required at the point of export, which is significant when dealing with the artisanal mining sector.

So, if the artisanal miner sells his goods to a buyer in the location of mining, it will be up to the buyer to send the goods to Belgium for registration, an official explained.

Trade bodies, along with De Beers, echoed the WDC’s mantra that “no one should be left behind,” expressing concern that artisanal miners will be at a disadvantage under the new system.

“If such a solution is intended to be fully technological, this would be to the detriment of African producers, artisanal miners and the wider industry, with significant risk of unintended consequences,” the De Beers spokesperson added.

Artisanal and small-scale miners, who typically don’t have access to technology, should be able to send their rough into any cutting center to be registered and certified, trade members wrote in a draft letter being prepared for presentation to the G7, which Rapaport saw.

Similarly, the Indian industry is urging the G7 to take into consideration the interests of small and medium enterprises for whom the adoption of technology to track their polished diamonds might be out of reach at this stage. These marginal diamond units support millions of livelihoods, the GJEPC’s Shah stressed.

EU officials expect the program may even help formalize the artisanal mining sector and motivate investment in that segment — such as among G7 government bodies with an interest to make the traceability mechanism work.

Time to engage

But the system will require extensive engagement with the trade in the next few months to make it work. The industry has many questions and concerns, as communications from the WFDB, GJEPC, De Beers and others revealed. Some queries, such as what to do with existing inventory in the market, require urgent attention.

“I call upon the G7 countries to engage with the industry organizations in order to reach a more equitable and balanced mechanism,” Dvash stressed.

The G7 pledged to continue consultations among its members and with other partners, including producing countries as well as manufacturing countries, “for comprehensive controls for diamonds produced and processed in third countries on measures for traceability.”

It would be surprising if such discussions led to a complete overhaul of the planned system, as the industry might desire. As one trader admitted, the G7 is intent on its implementation, while the US and the EU will use the banks to enforce the sanctions — blocking payments within the pipeline in cases of noncompliance.

The governments charged with developing and implementing the system appear confident they’ve reached the optimal solution.

“This strengthened approach will provide certainty to our citizens and consumers that they are not purchasing Russian diamonds,” the EC spokesperson stressed. “It will also deliver stronger transparency to producers, including in countries with artisanal production. This will positively impact both earnings from diamonds and producers’ story and brand throughout the supply chain.”

It will take a lot of convincing for the trade to adopt such sentiment fully before the traceability pilot program goes into effect on March 1. It seems, at this stage, they’ll have little choice.

Source: Rapnet

Diamond Importers Might Have to Declare Russian Origin

Polished diamonds

G7 countries could oblige companies to affirm that their imported polished diamonds are not of Russian provenance, according to the US’s top sanctions official.

Leaders of the bloc will meet at a summit in mid-May and are looking to have a plan in place by then, according to a member alert the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) released Tuesday summarizing remarks by Ambassador James O’Brien, who heads the US’s Office of Sanctions Coordination.

“There could be a required declaration that finished diamonds imported to the US and other G7 markets were not originally mined in Russia or other kinds of restrictions that apply to polished diamonds,” O’Brien said, according to the note. “The aim is to ensure this is phased in at a time and flow that will accommodate the work of the industry.”

O’Brien made his comments at last week’s annual JVC luncheon, where he was the guest speaker. The summary contained a mix of direct and paraphrased quotes, wrote JVC president and general counsel Tiffany Stevens.

The G7 includes the US, as well as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK. The European Union is known as its “eighth member.”

Alrosa, in which the Kremlin holds a stake, “is deeply rooted to the power structure within Russia, and our government wants to make sure its revenue is not available for them to raid,” O’Brien explained. The state is seeking sources of funds to keep the war in Ukraine going, he added.

Important issues to tackle include how long to wait for Russian diamonds that are currently in the market to exit the system, the sizes of stones to which sanctions would apply, and how enforcement will work, the ambassador pointed out. “Having thoughts on these questions that can contribute to a framework in time for the mid-May meeting is a goal of the US government,” he said.

He also said that the US wanted to make sure Burma — also known as Myanmar — didn’t help Russia. The Asian country has been subject to various US sanctions since a military takeover in 2021.

“Russia is going to its allies and asking them to give back military equipment,” the official said, according to the JVC summary. “Burma supports Russia, so the government also wants to make sure Burma is restricted in its sources of revenue, so it doesn’t help Russia as well. This includes ensuring the regime does not earn money from the sale of rubies and other gemstones.”


US, EU engage diamond industry on Russian diamonds

Russian diamonds

State Department and European Commission Engage Diamond Industry to Discuss Next Steps on Russian Diamonds

Today, Ambassador James O’Brien joined Deputy Director General and Chief Trade Enforcement Officer Denis Redonnet of the European Commission to discuss with the U.S. and European offices of leading diamond retailers, manufacturers, laboratories, and industry trade associations the importance of the diamond industry’s engagement on future Russia-related import measures, including on polished diamonds, as noted in the recent G7 Leaders’ Statement.

Russia continues to earn billions of dollars from the diamond trade, and the discussion centered on the most effective and impactful ways to disrupt that revenue stream.

The United States and European Union remain committed to imposing economic consequences on Russia for its unprovoked war in Ukraine.


Alrosa Finds 2 Huge Diamonds at Udachnaya on the Same Day

Two large high-quality diamonds – each larger than 50 carats – were unearthed in Yakutia on December 2, 2022, Bankers Day, “when Russian bankers celebrated their professional holiday,” according to Rough & Polished.

The two stones were extracted at Processing Plant No. 12 from the ore mined at the Udachnaya diamond pipe. One weighs over 67 carats, while the second diamond, a type IIa, weighs more than 52 carats,

Dmitry Amelkin, Alrosa’s Strategy Director, commented: “Finding two of these rare gem-quality diamonds on one and the same day is a unique coincidence. It is symbolic that this happened precisely on the Udachnaya diamond pipe, which has been accompanied by good luck since its discovery.

Credit: Alrosa

De Beers Cautious Following Sales Jump

Rough diamonds

De Beers’ revenue rose 24% in the first half of 2022, but the miner gave a more somber outlook for the rest of the year.

“We can only have strong rough sales if that’s also coupled by what’s going on on the polished side,” De Beers chief financial officer Sarah Kuijlaars told Rapaport News on Thursday. “The polished position was very strong in the beginning of the year, but it has leveled off. We have much more caution about the next six months than we’ve had for the previous six months.”

Revenue jumped to $3.6 billion in the first half as strong consumer spending during the 2021 holiday season led to intense restocking in early 2022, parent company Anglo American reported the same day. Underlying earnings gained 84% to $491 million.

Rough sales grew 27% to $3.3 billion from five sights during the period. The remaining revenue relates to other businesses such as the company’s consumer brands and industrial-diamond business.

The miner’s rough-price index, which measures like-for-like prices, rose 28% compared with the same period of 2021. The average selling price for rough surged 58% to $213 per carat, reflecting the market upturn and a shift in the product mix to higher-value goods. Sales volume fell 20% to 15.3 million carats.

The higher average price resulted from the introduction of the new Benguela Gem mining vessel off the Namibian coast, which enabled the extraction of more lucrative stones, Kuijlaars explained. In addition, production at the Venetia deposit in South Africa was focused on the final cut of the open-pit mine, which has a relatively high grade — the number of carats per tonne of ore — and high quality, the executive added.

De Beers’ results painted a complex picture of the market. Last week, the company raised its production plan for the full year in response to strong demand, predicting output of 32 million to 34 million carats. It also noted that the sanctions and boycotts targeting Russian diamonds, as well as growing interest in provenance initiatives, would “underpin” demand for its goods. The sixth sales cycle of the year, which took place earlier this month, brought in proceeds of $630 million — 23% higher than for the equivalent period a year ago.

However, inflation in the US and lockdowns in China have created concerns across the industry.

“This time last year, our operation was coming out of Covid-19 [during which output slumped],” Kuijlaars pointed out. “To stabilize our production has been really important, and that strong production gives us confidence for the full year. That’s our part in delivering reliable supply. As we sell that through, we are very alert to signs of any slowdown in the remaining four sights of the year.”


Russia hits back at attempts to ‘politicise’ its diamonds

Alrosa rough diamonds

ussia condemned what it called a push to “politicise” its diamonds over the conflict in Ukraine and said attempts to question its compliance with the international diamond certification scheme were “totally unfounded” and “far-fetched”.

The Kimberley Process, a coalition of governments, the diamond industry and civil society responsible for certifying diamonds as conflict-free, is split over a push by Ukraine and others to expand its definition of conflict diamonds to include those funding aggression by states.

The KP Civil Society Coalition (CSC) and some member states sought to discuss whether Russia’s diamonds were helping to fund the war in Ukraine during a KP meeting in Botswana last week.

“The Russian Federation absolutely condemns the orchestrated attempts of CSC, backed by absolute minority of some Western participants, to politicize the work of the Kimberley Process by deliberately distorting or even openly replacing its basic principles,” Russia’s finance ministry said in an emailed statement. It did not specify which principles it felt were being distorted or replaced.

The CSC did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The KP defines conflict diamonds as those that fund rebel movements seeking to overthrow legitimate governments, a narrow definition that many have sought to widen since the KP was founded in 2003.

Russia, which was KP chair last year, has “championed” work on revising the definition of conflict diamonds for the past five years, the finance ministry said, and it is committed to continuing talks on the definition.

“We therefore call on our opponents to refrain from further speculative accusations, abstain from political demagoguery and concentrate on the substantive work of the KP,” the finance ministry said.

The KP makes all decisions by consensus and the rift over Russia and Ukraine could jeopardise its effectiveness.

Source: miningweekly

China backs Russia in opposing bid to redefine conflict diamonds

Russian rough diamonds

China has joined Russia in opposing an effort to redefine conflict diamonds to include those sold by individual nations, as a rift between Western and pro-Russia nations jeopardizes the process for certifying rough diamonds as conflict-free.

Ukraine, Australia, Britain, Canada, the European Union, the United States and civil society groups were pushing to place Russia on the agenda at this week’s Kimberley Process (KP) meeting in Botswana and to broaden the KP’s definition, under which only gems funding rebel movements are “conflict diamonds”.

Russia, the world’s biggest producer of diamonds, has said the situation in Ukraine has “no implications” for the Kimberley Process.

China agrees that the Ukraine issue falls outside the scope of the KP, the country representative told the meeting, according to three sources. China joins Belarus, Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan and Mali in backing Russia’s stance within the body, which seems unlikely to come to any agreement.

“It’s clear that this is posing really an existential crisis for the Kimberley Process,” said Hans Merket, a researcher at Belgian non-governmental organisation IPIS, who is a member of the civil society group.

“It has become impossible to even discuss the KP’s problems and shortcomings, let alone that there would be any room for convergence on how they can be addressed.”

China’s KP representatives did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

The KP certification scheme, designed to eliminate the trade in so-called “blood diamonds”, was set up in 2003 after devastating civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, which were largely financed by the illicit diamond trade.

The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition and some member states have been arguing to broaden that definition for years, but it is difficult to do as the KP makes decisions by consensus.

Jacob Thamage of Botswana, the current KP chair, said that more participants now believe reform is needed.


Botswana sees Russian diamond ban opening door to synthetic gems

Mirny, Sakha Republic, Russian Rough Dimaonds

Botswana, Africa’s top diamond producer, sees a prolonged ban on Russian diamonds opening the way for synthetic gems to expand market share, the country’s minister told a mining conference on Monday.

The United States, the world’s largest market for natural diamonds, imposed sanctions on Russia’s state-controlled Alrosa in April, aiming to cut off a source of revenue for Moscow after its February invasion of Ukraine.

Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds, accounted for about 30% of global output in 2021.

Botswana’s Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi said the ban on Russia diamonds might push prices up to the benefit of rival producers but he also said the gap would be hard to fill.

“We see the 30% gap that will be left by the ban being plugged by something else that is not natural. And for us that will be a challenge,” he said.

Jacob Thamage, head of Botswana’s Diamond Hub, said uncertainty over the Ukraine conflict makes it difficult for Botswana and other natural diamond miners to fill the supply gap as ramping up operations requires significant investment.

“You don’t want to invest a lot of money to up-scale and then the war ends the next day,” Thamage said. “We also see the higher prices pushing consumers to substitutes such as the synthetics and this can cause problems for us if we cede the market to unnatural stones.”

Sales at Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American unit De Beers and Botswana’s government, accounts for almost all of Botswana diamonds exports. These stood at $3.466 billion in 2021 compared with $2.120 billion in 2020.

Thamage also fears that consumers might start to shun natural diamonds due to traceability issues.

“There is an increased fear that buyers of diamonds will begin to treat all natural diamonds as conflict diamonds and therefore shift to unnatural diamonds,” he said.