The International Diamond Conference “Mines to Markets”, held on 19th & 20th March 2017 in Mumbai, offered much more takeaways than one bargained for.
Day 1 saw a plethora of issues before the diamond industry being discussed by Industry members from across continents and countries. Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, GJEPC saw it apt to make a have varied views through the conference, to tackle the numerous hurdles that have been plaguing the industry.
Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines who presented the keynote address at the Inauguration of the Mines to Market Conference was of the view that India's diamond deposits should be mined so that the country becomes self-sufficient, at least to an extent, in terms of rough diamonds supply.
One felt that Walter K Chidakwa, Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe, managed to catch the audience's attention with his emotional speech on how Africa has been exploited and robbed of its mineral wealth for decades, while the country and its people remained poor. He asked for support in manufacturing and creating jobs in Africa while assuring rough supply to India.
In addition, ALROSA Vice President Andrey Polyakov, Executive VP for Global Sightholder Sales at De Beers Paul Rowley addressed their companies' current working status and future plans.
Lawyer Rohan Shah elaborated on education and all things related to regulations, concepts of tax havens, legality involved in the diamond business globally and in India itself.
Day 2 saw discussions on the current status of the diamond industry including survival in the absence of growth, marketing, Retail and other topics and soon turned into a war zone towards the culmination of the conference, thanks to Martin Rapaport who touched a raw nerve in the Indian diamond industry players while describing the industry and its working style.
On the topic of survival in the industry with no growth, Sanjay Kothari, MD, KGK stressed on the need to 'change' as well as 'fight' to grow and prosper. Ghanshyam Dholakia, MD, HK Diamonds was also very positive in his attitude, saying that total focus on core business is the only way to go.
The saving grace was the session with Sanjay Kothari, former GJEPC Chairman, moderating a panel discussion with GIA, IGI, HRD and other industry bodies on certifications of synthetic diamonds.