Players in the mining industry cannot fold their arms and allow illicit activities to continue, Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani has said.
“We must act,” he told delegates at the Investment in African Mining Indaba, in Cape Town.
“This is how we will earn the trust that we need to continue extracting the minerals and metals that enable human progress.”
Cutifani said its 85%-owned De Beers decided to develop Tracr, a blockchain-enabled technology platform that helps create trust among the various industry actors in the diamond sector.
This, he said, came to being in a bid to ensure diamond’s authenticity and responsible sourcing through to the point of sale in jewellery stores.
“While our diamond business, De Beers, provides roughly one-third of the global supply of diamonds by value, we were clear when we developed Tracr that this wouldn’t be a De Beers-only platform,” he said.
“Instead, we worked on building a platform that the entire diamond industry could use in the quest to be more open and transparent.”
Cutifani said since its launch, Tracr had attracted a broader base of diamond producers, midstream businesses, and retailers.
This collaboration, he said, had helped build significant momentum, and they believed that Tracr’s data-backed authentication capabilities hold tremendous promise.
“Assuring our stakeholders and wider society that the diamonds we produce are natural, ethically sourced and legitimate, carries significant value for them and the entire diamond value chain,” said Cutifani.
“The participation of several diamond producers, midstream businesses and retailers means that we, as a collective, can now build greater trust and efficiency, thereby improving cost and revenue performance for the trading of diamonds.”
Meanwhile, the Anglo American boss said their efforts to build trust along the diamond value chain had also been extended to artisanal and small-scale miners.
“These are important players who make an important contribution to the global diamond industry through their artisanal mining on parts of the African continent,” he said.
“Many parts of this sector are informal and unregulated. Its participants often lack access to established international markets and formal sales channels.”
DeBeers was currently piloting a ground-breaking programme in Sierra Leone called GemFair™.
The programme seeks to create a secure and transparent route to market for ethically-sourced artisanal and small-scale diamonds.
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