US Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, the 2012 Chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), is due to address the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference that will take place in Victoria Falls next month. The Ambassador will be one of a group of delegates attending the meeting, which aims to enable a discussion of concerns within the African diamond industry.
The world will watch with interest what is discussed in the country, which was accepted again as a full member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in 2011. According to the Minister of Mines, Obert Moses Mpofu, who will play a key role at the conference, “Zimbabwe stands ready to give the world full transparency on its achievements as a major diamond producer”.
This will be of interest to many, particularly given the actions of the NGO Global Witness who decided to leave the KP last December, stating that the scheme had ‘failed’ and it had ‘become an accomplice to diamond laundering – whereby dirty diamonds are mixed in with clean gems.’ Many industry experts felt that the departure of Global Witness has destroyed what little was left of the KP’s legitimacy. It will be interesting to see what comes of this meeting in November. Given all the uncertainty that continues to surround conflict diamonds, it is crucial for consumers to continue to question jewellers about the origins of their stones if they want to make sure they are truly conflict-free.