‘The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) will introduce a certification project for Guinea’s artisanal miners that will identify their rough diamonds as conflict-free.
The AWDC has based the program on the Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS) that Canadian trade organization Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) implemented among Sierra Leone’s small-scale miners in April. AWDC worked with DDI on that project to bring the country’s diamonds into the Antwerp market, the AWDC told Rapaport News Sunday.
The AWDC chose Guinea because the country cooperates and shares information with the Belgian government on various projects. The country, which borders Sierra Leone, also has an artisanal network and diamonds that are similar to that of its neighbor, the AWDC added.
The goal is to develop a self-sustaining, responsible and transparent diamond-supply chain, and to enable artisanal diamond miners in southeast Guinea to be compliant with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance, the AWDC said.
The program will focus on sustainably developing the mines and communities in the region. It will also help build a business model that will allow Antwerp to purchase rough directly from Guinea. That, in turn, will generate higher revenue and improve wages, working conditions, technical skills and education for artisanal miners.
“[This will] open a formal and traceable pipeline of artisanal diamonds and stimulate responsible production and consumption of responsibly produced jewels,” the AWDC explained.
The organization expects to buy rough from Guinea through an Antwerp-based partner by 2021. If the project proves successful during its one-year trial, the AWDC will likely extend the program.
“If this works in Guinea, definitely there is an interest, and an eagerness from [the] AWDC’s point of view, to also start in other artisanal diamond-producing countries,” the Belgium-based group added.’
Source – Rapaport