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Artisanal diamond mining. Perspectives and challenges

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The success of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has been built on providing assurances that the trade in diamonds amongst signatory countries is based on diamonds traded legitimately, untainted by conflict and corruption. For this success to be durable there is a need to complement the commitment to policing the trade with concerted action to address the root causes of the problem of ‘conflict’ or ‘blood’ diamonds – the development needs of artisanal miners, diggers and their communities. They often live in abject poverty and are frequently vulnerable to exploitation. Effective development of artisanal diamond mining communities must be based on a thorough understanding of the inherent complexities that characterise the sector. This research coordinated by the Egmont Institute and undertaken in support of the KPCS Working Group on Alluvial/Artisanal Producers (currently chaired by Angola), involved many of the leading thinkers in this field. It makes a significant contribution to our knowledge on the sector, laying the foundations for a concerted work programme.

This report does not underestimate the challenges this sector poses. However, it emphasises the critical importance of this task because the integrity of the KPCS and all it stands for are dependent upon addressing the developmental dimensions of the diamond trade not just policing it. This work makes a significant contribution to our progress towards the vision of artisanal alluvial diamond mining communities that are conflict and exploitation free, where social dysfunction and environmental degradation are better managed, where miners and diggers’ rights are protected and they get a fair return for their labours and where frequent practices such as hazardous child labour are outlawed and where the revenues from the exploitation of diamonds are reinvested into more sustainable pursuits in the longer term. This vision sees the whole sector contributing to sustainable economic growth and development, poverty reduction and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals not just the top of the pyramid of diamond production.
Jon Hobbs (Chairman CASM and Policy Advisor DFID)

Nov. 2008. Flyer – order form.
(Photo credit: bookcover, Egmont Institute)