Legacy concerns regarding conflict diamonds have seen artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) diamonds being perceived negatively by consumers, yet the reality is that the vast majority of ASM production is not from conflict zones, according to De Beers’ GemFair.
GemFair general manager Feriel Zerouki said the ASM sector represents an important source of global diamond production and is a critical livelihood.
She said artisanal miners face many barriers, with a lack of capital, low productivity and informal practices being among the most notable.
“These barriers mean artisanal miners lack access to formal distribution channels, rarely receive fair value for their production and ASM diamonds are often considered ‘unethical’ due to a lack of consistent standards across the sector,” said Zerouki.
“The sector is in need of formalization in order to establish itself as a legitimate source of diamond supply; however, with a complex mining ecosystem and operating conditions that are vastly different from the large-scale diamond mining sector, the approach to supporting formalization must be tailored, incremental and robust.”
De Beers set up GemFair in 2018 to support the formalization of the ASM sector by raising standards and opening up a new source of ethical diamond supply through the group’s industry-leading distribution channel.
It started with 16 participants and there are currently 94 sites participating in GemFair, all of which align with our minimum ethical and operating requirements.