The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) reports that its government-authorized Diamond Office, which controls, verifies and clears all diamond imports and exports into and out of the country, has detected a shipment likely containing conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic (CAR).
In June 2013, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP) issued an export ban on rough diamonds originating from CAR. As such, any import of rough diamonds coming from CAR and are accompanied by a KP certificate from CAR are not allowed to enter the Antwerp market; the AWDC cautions that any CAR parcels to enter will be confiscated.
The AWDC further says in a statement: "The recent discovery of a suspicious shipment of rough diamonds and the strong indications these diamonds originate from CAR have now led the AWDC to raise the alarm. The AWDC calls upon all diamond centres to implement the same strict controls on import and export procedures and KP requirements."
The suspicious shipment of rough diamonds was discovered two weeks ago during a physical inspection of diamond imports and exports carried out by the Belgian Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy, the EC-appointed authority that works in tandem with the Diamond Office to control the international KP requirements on rough diamonds.
"Upon request of the Belgian KP authority, the FPS Economy, the KP Working Group of Diamond Experts was immediately asked to advise, comparing digital images of the shipment and images of the CAR footprint, concluding there is a high probability that the shipment of rough diamonds originates from CAR. The FPS Economy immediately notified the judicial authorities," says the FPS Economy.
The so-called "CAR footprint" is a typology describing diamond characteristics such as color, assortment and type that is compiled by a KP team of diamond experts.
"Rough diamonds that are imported legally in Antwerp via other diamond trade hubs will be cross-checked on typical characteristics such as color, assortment and size using visual material from a typical rough production of a certain area, such as the CAR. Thus, the Diamond Office experts can assess whether or not diamonds are likely originating from a specific conflict area," notes the AWDC.