GemFair’s new MOU to advance diamond artisanal mining sector

De Beers

Press release – GemFair signs MOU for joint delivery of capacity building programme to advance ASM standards in West Africa.

Partnering with GIZ and Mano River Union to deliver training on mining standards in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast.

GemFair, a De Beers Group initiative to advance the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining (ASM) sector, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Mano River Union (MRU) to develop and deliver a capacity building programme in the MRU member countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast to enhance practices in the ASM sector.

The three parties will jointly deliver a regional training programme that aims to enhance capacities, promote knowledge sharing and build a comprehensive understanding of mine site health and safety, environmental management, ethical sourcing standards and diamond valuation among participants, who will include miners, government officials and civil society activists in the four countries.

The training will be designed to support implementation of the Regional Approach of the Kimberly Process, enhance knowledge of OECD requirements and introduce safer and more environmentally friendly mining techniques for artisanal miners in the MRU region.

The initiative is part of GIZ’s Regional Resource Governance Program, which it implements on behalf of the German Development Corporation (through the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development) and the European Union. The MRU is the main programme partner regarding regional activities in artisanal and small-scale mining and the trade of gold and diamonds in the MRU region, while GemFair will design the training curricula and provide staff and expertise to deliver the training.

Feriel Zerouki, Senior Vice-President International Relations and Ethical Initiatives, De Beers Group and General Manager, GemFair, said: “GemFair is committed to helping advance the ASM sector and one of the critical first steps is to enhance capacities to raise standards across the sector. We are pleased to be partnering with GIZ and MRU on this ambitious training programme and look forward to sharing our knowledge and providing our training expertise in the areas of ethical mining practices, responsible sourcing and diamond valuation to more stakeholders in the West Africa region.”

Medina Wesseh, Secretary General of Mano River Union said: “The Regional Approach to the Kimberley Process, artisanal and small-scale mining and the fight against precious mineral smuggling in the Mano River Union sub-region is producing important positive results on the management of the artisanal mining sector, for the benefit of the four MRU member states. The signed MoU is one of the high points in the implementation of the project, as the objective is to improve the capacities of the stakeholders, knowing that the results from improved capacities are good practices, more efficient management of the sector, better results and increased positive impacts. The sub-region’s artisanal mining sector, if effectively managed, can be a growth engine as it is an important niche to improve state revenues, enhance development of communities, and therefore reduce poverty at the grassroots level”.

Source De Beers

Photo © Gemfair, De Beers.