Mining of conflict diamonds is considered a conflict resource, which still takes place in some African countries. As the quest for growth and sustainability are goals that we must discuss in all aspects of life, many industries are looking for positive ways to boost their revenue and evolve, while abolishing unsustainable and harmful practices.
We cannot leave out the mining industry. This is because they are a great source of revenue for many nations and they promote certain societal values. For this reason, we should handle them with care and properly refine them to birth a sustainable environment.
Diamond: A rich source of revenue
Moving on, we have known widely, that the diamond industry is one vast industry that has employed specific means to generate revenue and encourage growth in society. According to diamondfacts.org, the diamond industry supports approximately 10 million people around the world, directly or indirectly. This is possible because the route diamonds take from sourcing to polishing and selling, benefits several African countries and increases the rate of employment.
However, the introduction of Conflict Diamonds (otherwise known as hot diamonds, blood diamonds, red diamonds, or brown diamonds), has brought a great cause for alarm.
Some people use these diamonds to cause crises in diverse parts of the world, especially in some parts of Africa. They do not mine the diamonds through the regular way. They employ various strange and harmful practices, such as digging with bare hands, using hand-held sieves, burying themselves in dirt and other unsustainable means to extract and sell the diamonds in their unrefined state (Paul Armstrong, 2011).
What are Conflict Diamonds?
According to the United Nations Department of Public Information, “Conflict diamonds are seen as diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.” The term was given because the diamonds were used to promote conflicts, wars, and bloodshed.
Sadly, conflict diamonds form the major cause of wars in some African nations. This is because some people trade these diamonds in exchange for weapons and use them to promote conflicts and wars. We can find them mainly in African countries, such as Sierra Leone, Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Angola.
The citizens of these nations have less funds to amass weapons and defend themselves. As a result, they mine these diamonds and sell them to fund their projects. Knowing the worth of diamonds, they use them to cause a fight, gain a territory, or oppress people.
Are Conflict Diamonds Legal?
When societies are disrupted, this becomes a threat. Conflict diamonds are illegitimate, because people use them for destructive reasons. The origin of the diamonds is uncertain. As a result, the government, member states, and the diamond industry have no control over their sourcing.
Furthermore, every real diamond must have a Certificate of Origin and should have a process of proper examination. This is to know the structure, color, quality and every other vital feature in a real legitimate diamond (La vivion, 2013). People also mine conflict diamonds illegally without any trace of its origin. Hence, when it reaches the market, it becomes difficult to tell the difference.
In addition, since they use these diamonds for illicit purposes, such as funding the purchase of arms and other illegal activities, they become illegitimate. This is why they should be removed from the market. Various organizations are also taking the necessary actions to eliminate the production and spread of these diamonds.
The Kimberly Process
Considering the increase in conflict diamonds, the UN established a method known as the Kimberly Process in the year 2000 and created the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which is a document with the necessary requirements to control the diamond mining and trade. With these requirements, the members can properly certify the shipment of raw diamonds and prevent the illegal ones from entering the legitimate trade.
Moreover, the major goal of the Kimberly Process is to terminate the trading of conflict diamonds and ensure that people don’t use them to fund wars by rebels and their allies, making them conflict-free. Both parties coming to the trade will only buy and sell when they have met the minimum requirements.
Detecting and Terminating Conflict Diamonds
This Kimberly Process can help curtail and eventually terminate the increase in conflict diamonds. This is possible, because every diamond entering the market must have a Certificate of Origin to enable the officials to trace its source and recognise whether anyone has legitimately or illegitimately mined it and whether it is being used for the right purposes.
Conflict diamonds have caused fights, forced labor, torture, and abuses. Due to this reason, a ban has been placed on the territories that aid in mining illegal diamonds.
Success or Failure?
Seeing that conflict diamonds are illegal and tend to cause more harm than good, the employment of the Kimberly Process is a big achievement in the diamond industry. However, a few reports show that they have done very little, hence, there is a need to work harder in ensuring no trace of conflict diamonds is found on Earth.
So far, these organisations have been gradually meeting their goals by reducing conflict diamonds from approximately 4% to less than 1%. In addition, different governments, NGOs, and diamond industries have reduced the illegal supply of diamonds that are being used for funding conflicts, and in turn, reduced the supply for wars.
As a result, we can use the revenue from the legitimate diamond supply chain to support the economy and other infrastructural developments in under-developed and developing nations around the world.
This is why the THRIVE project is geared towards making this effective change, where the environment and society at large requires more help and enlightenment to render it sustainable and friendly to nature. For humans to THRIVE in this world, we should replace certain processes and adopt new ones.
Diamond.org (2007). An Estimated 10 Million People Globally Are Directly Or Indirectly Supported By The Diamond Industry. Retrieved from web.archive.org/web/20071031235445/http:/www.diamondfacts.org/facts/fact_03.html
Paul Armstrong (2011). CNN. What are ‘conflict diamonds?’ Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/05/world/africa/conflict-diamonds-explainer/index.html
United Nations Department of Public Information (2001). Conflict Diamonds: Sanctions and Wars. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20121023004513/http:/www.un.org/peace/africa/Diamond.html
La vivion (2013). Diamond Origin Certification. Retrieved from http://www.lavivion.com/blog/diamonds/diamond-origin-certification
Michael Fleshman (2001). ‘Conflict Diamonds’ evade US Sanctions. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/december-2001/conflict-diamonds-evade-un-sanctions
Kimberly Process (2020). About: KP Basics. Retrieved from https://www.kimberleyprocess.com/en/about
Aryn Baker (?). Blood Diamonds. Retrieved from https://time.com/blood-diamonds
Brilliant Earth (2020). Conflict Diamond Issues: Violence. Retrieved from https://www.brilliantearth.com/conflict-diamond-trade