|The two-day "Connecting Resources and Society" conference, hosted jointly by The De Beers Group of Companies and Botswana's Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, commenced today in Gaborone, Botswana. The conference aims to explore the role of Botswana's diamond industry in the socio-economic development of the country since independence, almost 50 years ago. It will also discuss how responsible resource management can safeguard the benefits of resource extraction for future generations.
Four panel sessions are on the conference agenda for today: "Maximising the Potential of Resource Driven Economies", "Using Resources Responsibly", "Value Adding and Beneficiation: Lessons learned from De Beers", and "The Impact of Diamonds on Botswana's Economic Environment", with all the sessions available for live viewing online.
Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) Executive Director Andrew Bone, speaking on the "Using Resources Responsibly" panel, listed several growing and emerging risks to the diamond industry, Idex Online reports. He reportedly said that, with regard to the Kimberley Process, that the situation has gone beyond the issue of conflict diamonds, arguing that the KPCS has actually been quite successful in preventing the proliferation of conflict diamonds; but that there was a problem of perception.
Bone also admitted that "a diamond might be forever, but diamond mining probably is not," as quoted by Idex Online, and stated that lab-grown diamonds are an enormous problem. He asserted that lab-grown diamonds are no substitution for the natural ones, and that they should be considered two separate products. The RJC, he said, wants proper disclosure and greater industry discipline, reports the news source.