GemFair, a pilot project developed by De Beers Group, that aims to create a secure and transparent route to market for ethically sourced artisinal and small-scale mined (ASM) diamonds, is scaling up its operations in Sierra Leone to give more miners the opportunity to benefit from the opportunities the program offers.
The GemFair pilot provides ASM diamond miners with access to De Beers Group's industry leading distribution channel, while seeking to improve ethical standards, working conditions and value for miners within the sector. GemFair has partnered with the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an NGO that has been instrumental in helping to formalize the diamond ASM sector in Africa.
Following the launch of the pilot, where GemFair worked with 16 mine sites in Sierra Leone, the pilot has been extended in the past six months to work with a further 38 sites and widen its impact. To incentivize mine owners to work with GemFair, a membership model has been introduced, whereby mine sites that meet a strict set of core requirements, aligned with the OECD's Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, and pass due diligence checks, can join the program and sell diamonds to GemFair. Miners then work with DDI towards achieving full Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS) certification, within a one-year time frame.
Since the pilot launched in April 2018, GemFair has seen significant progress across its operations, opening offices in both Koidu and Freetown, and developing a set of publicly available ASM standards to ensure a best practice approach for responsible sourcing. The GemFair standards complement the Maendeleo Diamond Standards, which include standards relating to social, environmental and labor risks within the sector.