Diamonds


IMPACT on Diamonds


For nearly two decades, IMPACT has worked to end the trade of conflict diamonds. In 2000, we published The Heart of the Matter: Sierra Leone, Diamonds and Human Security—one of the first reports that drew the link between diamonds and conflict financing. Our efforts towards a responsibly-managed diamond supply chain led to a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2003.


What are diamonds?

Diamonds are hard precious gemstones that naturally form over billions of years through high temperatures and pressure, deep below the earth. They are brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions and, over time, are broken down and carried across wide areas by wind and water. Modern technology has made it possible to also grow synthetic diamonds in laboratories that imitate the conditions in which diamonds naturally develop.

Where are diamonds found?

Diamonds are mined in many countries around the world, with significant deposits in Russia, Canada, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. After being mined, rough diamonds are taken to trading hubs for cutting and polishing, such as Hong Kong, Mumbai, New York, Tel Aviv, Dubai, and—the largest trading hub—Antwerp.

How do you use diamonds?

While diamonds are most well known for being used in jewellery, they also have many industrial uses. Due to their hardness and durability, they’re ideal for polishing, cutting, drilling, and engraving tough materials, including granite and quartz. Diamonds are also used in various electronics such as high-quality speakers, in windows, in abrasives, and even in some beauty products.

How are diamonds mined?

Diamond pipe mining refers to industrial operations that dig deep into kimberlite pipe deposits—deposits of hardened volcanic rock—to create open pits. Alluvial diamond mining refers to industrial, small-scale, or artisanal mining of secondary deposits that were brought to the earth’s surface and transported by water to different locations over millions of years. According to the World Bank, one in five diamonds is mined by artisanal miners—individuals and groups who mine from alluvial mineral deposits with very simple, low-technology equipment and often work informally.

Diamonds, security, and human rights

The issue of “blood diamonds” first rose to international attention during civil wars in Africa in the 1990s. Rebel groups used the light-weight and high-value gemstones to finance conflicts, leading to drawn-out violence.

In response to international outcry, the Kimberly Process (KP) was established in 2000 and led to the adoption of the KP Certification Scheme that certifies rough diamonds as conflict-free. It was the first multi-stakeholder initiative made up of governments, civil society, and industry collaborating to address a major human rights concern. Countries that are members of the KP have to implement minimum requirements, including proving the origin of rough diamonds.

As the diamond trade continues to change, there are calls for the KP to broaden its definition of conflict diamonds to include violence and human rights abuses committed by governments, private military companies, or other actors—not just rebel groups who aim to finance conflicts to overthrow legitimate governments.

The issues of smuggling, money laundering, and transfer pricing—a practice in which trading centres export diamonds at values higher than they were imported for—are relevant in today’s diamond supply chain and increase risks for miners, their communities, and producing countries. These emerging issues taint the legal supply chain with illicit diamonds and cheat communities out of fair compensation for their natural resources.

Millions of people around the world depend on artisanal diamond mining for their livelihood. In many places it is still informal and unregulated, with miners operating outside of the formal economy. Miners can face human rights abuses at mine sites as well as unsafe conditions worsened by lack of training, safety equipment, and proper tools. Artisanal mining’s informal and unregulated nature can also have devastating environmental impacts, such as deforestation and soil erosion.



We Reveal

We Reveal

We carry out extensive investigations and research into the diamond supply chain, which provides important recommendations that allow us to develop improved systems to end the illicit trade of conflict diamonds.

Our research focuses on highlighting ongoing violence and human rights abuses during diamond mining. We also examine the drivers of illicit trade, such as lax controls internally and at trading hubs, and provide recommendations to support the formalization of the artisanal diamond mining sector.

We also provide analysis of certification, traceability, and due diligence as it applies to the diamond supply chain.

We Innovate

We Innovate

As part of our efforts to improve management of the diamond supply chain, we were a founding member of the Kimberley Process (KP) in 2000 and helped develop the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme that certifies rough diamonds as conflict-free. We continue to be a member of the KP and we were a founding member of the KP Civil Society Coalition, which today serves to raise concerns about violations in the diamond supply chain, proposing recommendations, and supporting members in implementation.

We have supported the development and implementation of private sector guidelines that promote transparency and due diligence in the diamond sector, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.

We provide capacity building and sensitization to policymakers, civil society, and the private sector on their responsibilities with regards to the KP and OECD Due Diligence and work with stakeholders to develop strategies to improve controls and end illicit trade.

We Engage

We Engage

Our work to end the conflict diamond trade requires significant dialogue across stakeholder groups to promote traceability and due diligence and to ensure benefits reach artisanal miners, their communities, and producer countries.

We were a founding member—and are a continuing partner—of the KP Civil Society Coalition, a group of non-governmental organizations across Africa, Europe, and North America who bring the voices and concerns of artisanal diamond miners to industry and governments. Together, we engage governments to strengthen their internal controls and encourage the private sector to put in place traceability and due diligence for the entire diamond supply chain.

We also drive dialogue with partners including international and national law enforcement agencies, border and customs agencies, policymakers, industry leaders, and financial institutions on the illicit diamond trade.

We support regional approaches to end smuggling and the illicit trade of diamonds and we’re part of the technical team advising Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea as they develop a joint strategy to strengthen their KP compliance.

We also promote sensitization and raise awareness among consumers about the origins of their diamonds.


Conflict Diamonds from CAR Entering International Markets via Cameroon

Kimberley Process must act after new report reveals shortfalls in Cameroon’s traceability procedures create opportunities for smuggling…

Despite Last Minute Overtures, Civil Society Boycotts Conflict Diamond Meeting in Dubai

“Rigour” Needed in Kimberley Process Chair’s Newest Proposals Ottawa, Canada—November 10, 2016 Civil society who are members…

Civil Society under Attack in Liberia: Green Advocates Staff in Hiding after Threats from Police

Ottawa—November 4, 2016 Partnership Africa Canada is calling on the Liberian government to immediately ensure the safety…

Civil society statement at the 10th Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, Paris, 10-12 May 2016

National and international civil society organisations working to advance transparency and accountability in supply chains welcome this…

Time for Leadership at the Kimberley Process

By Offah Obale, Conflict Minerals Researcher Flying out of Angola after last month’s Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary,…

New Reports on Artisanal Diamond Mining in Côte d'Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo

Social Survey Report into Artisanal Diamond Mining Sites in Kasaï-Oriental Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo…

Civil Society Boycotts Conflict Diamonds Certification Scheme

Civil Society Boycotts Conflict Diamonds Certification Scheme Appointing UAE as Chair of Kimberley Process is “Red Line”…

New Report on Due Diligence Efforts in Precious Stones Supply Chain

A new study that examines due diligence efforts in the precious stone and diamond supply chains has…

Civil Society Coalition Speech at KP Intersessional - June 2014

June 10, 2014 Today at the Kimberley Process Intersessional in Shanghai, China, PAC’s research director, Alan Martin,…

All That Glitters is Not Gold: Dubai, Congo, and the Illicit Trade of Conflict Minerals

May 27, 2014 Dear Friend, Partnership Africa Canada is pleased to provide you with a copy of…

Opening Comments to the Kimberley Process Intersessional

Please see attached for the opening comments from the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, given at Kimbereley…

Multi-Stakeholder Group Meeting in Paris

Paris, France – May 2, 2013 On Tuesday, April 30, 2013, a multi-stakeholder group comprised of some…

PAC releases new report Reap What You Sow: Greed and Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamond Fields

Ottawa, Canada- November 12, 2012 Partnership Africa Canada is pleased to provide you with its latest report…

Will the next Nicky Oppenheimer please stand up

World Diamond Council Meeting Vicenza, Italy- May 13-14, 2012 Should the recent conviction of Liberian warlord Charles…

Remarks to the Annual meeting of the World Diamond Council

Vicenza, Italy- May 14, 2012 Eli Izakhoff, Ambassador Milovanovic, Minister Shabangu, distinguished guests. Thank you for inviting…

Kimberley Process lets Zimbabwe off the hook (again)

November 2, 2011 The Kimberley Process (KP) has thrown away its main point of leverage over the…

Civil society expresses vote of no confidence in conflict diamond scheme

June 23, 2011 Activist organisations today expressed a vote of no confidence in the Kimberley Process, and…

Electronics, auto makers should commit now to due diligence standards to end trade in conflict minerals

Goma/Kinshasa/London/Ottawa/Paris/Washington- May 26, 2011 The organizations CENADEP – Kinshasa, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Enough Project, Global Witness, Partnership Africa…

Action needed to block illegal export of Zimbabwe conflict diamonds

Ottawa- November 16, 2010 The Kimberley Process must take tough enforcement action in light of evidence that…

Conflict diamond scheme must resolve Zimbabwe diamonds impasse

November 5, 2010 The Kimberley Process (KP) rough diamond certification scheme must reach a credible agreement with…

Crisis averted by last-minute agreement on Zimbabwe diamonds, but campaigners warn that biggest test lies ahead

July 16, 2010 Campaign groups Partnership Africa Canada and Global Witness today acknowledged that an deal reached…

Global Witness and PAC reject Zimbabwe diamond bribe allegations

June 28, 2010 Campaign groups Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) today categorically rejected allegations that…

Diamond meeting ends without consensus on Zimbabwe

Serious challenges ahead for landmark certification scheme, say NGOs June 24, 2010 The lack of consensus among…

Campaigners denounce effort to silence whistle-blower before international meeting on conflict diamonds

June 18, 2010 The Zimbabwe authorities should immediately release Farai Maguwu, a prominent activist who reported abuses…

PAC calls for the release from detention of human rights activist, Farai Maguwu

PAC condemns violence in Zimbabwe’s diamond fields, and calls for the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Kimberley…

Rights groups express outrage at state persecution of Zimbabwean activists

June 2, 2010 Civil Society organisations, including Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, and Partnership Africa Canada, today…

Failure to suspend Zimbabwe from blood diamond scheme undermines efforts to end abuses and clean up international trade

November 6, 2009 The Kimberley Process (KP) rough diamond certification scheme failed to reach a consensus to…

Campaigners call for urgent action on Zimbabwe blood diamonds and wider reform of the Kimberley Process to prevent abuse

October 29, 2009 Kimberley Process (KP) members must act on the overwhelming evidence of Zimbabwe’s failure to…

Global Diamond Certification System Failing

Smuggling, human rights abuse and government inaction threaten global scheme, says Canadian NGO October 15, 2009 The…

Zimbabwe's blood diamonds not key to economic recovery

Suspending Zimbabwe from the Kimberley Process is Essential August 3, 2009 Five months after the release, in…

Diamond meeting makes some progress but governments need to renew commitments, say Civil Society Groups

June 26, 2009 A coalition of civil society organisations acknowledged some progress at the close of the…

Blood diamonds - time to plug the leaks

Civil Society Groups warn Kimberley Process effectiveness compromised June 19, 2009 A landmark scheme established in 2003…

Ian Smillie moves on

June 8, 2009 Ian Smillie, Research Coordinator with Partnership Africa Canada, has decided to leave his position…

Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds- World regulators flounder, UN action required

March 2, 2009 Diamonds have become a major factor in Robert Mugabe’s desperate attempt to retain power…

Conflict diamond scheme must suspend Zimbabwe

December 12, 2008 Members of the Kimberley Process (KP) Civil Society Coalition are calling upon the KP…