GemFair can positively transform ASM sector, says De Beers – by Simone Liedtke ( – January 21, 2020)

The artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector is in need of formalisation in order to establish itself as a legitimate source of diamond supply; however, faced with complex mining ecosystems and operating conditions that are vastly different from the large-scale diamond mining sector, De Beers says “the approach to supporting formalisation must be tailored, incremental and robust”.

While the ASM sector represents an important source of global diamond production and is a critical livelihood, artisanal miners face many challenges, including a lack of capital, low productivity and informal practices, according to the diamond miner.

Additionally, De Beers says legacy concerns regarding conflict diamonds also mean that ASM diamonds are “often perceived negatively by consumers, when the reality is that the vast majority of ASM production is not from conflict zones”.

De Beers Group industry relations and ethical initiatives senior VP Feriel Zerouki points out that these barriers result in artisanal miners lacking access to formal distribution channels. They also rarely receive fair value for their production, while simultaneously being considered as being “unethical” owing to a lack of consistent standards across the sector.

It is for this reason that De Beers launched GemFair in April 2018 in an effort to support the formalisation of the ASM sector by raising standards and opening up a new source of ethical diamond supply through De Beers Group’s distribution channel.

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