Angola Part 2
The original report was published in the Bloomberg Businessweek on Monday, June 6, 2011
Diamonds: a glittering recovery
Exceptional quality and sustainable, ethical production set Angola’s diamond industry apart
Despite what many people believe, all diamonds are not the same. They have varying levels of quality, with only about 20% of the world’s production of diamonds being good enough for use as gemstones. The quality of Angola’s diamonds is so high that the proportion of gemstone quality to industrial-use quality is the reverse of normal production, with 80% of the country’s output fine enough to be used for jewelry.
Anyone who has bought a diamond engagement ring has probably learned about the four C’s, the criteria that are used to judge a gem’s quality: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Angolan diamonds score highly on all of these criteria, making them a standard for Africa and for the whole world.
However, Angolan diamonds are not solely distinguished by their high quality. Since the end of the country’s civil conflict in 2002, Angola’s government has been one of the main contributors to the process of ending the sale of blood diamonds, gemstones that were sometimes mined with slave labor and sold or traded for weapons that fueled fighting in several parts of the continent.
Angola is the world’s fourth-biggest diamond producer after Russia, Canada and Botswana. It is one of the members of the Kimberley Process, an initiative that unites governments, industry players and other stakeholders to halt the flow of conflict diamonds. The Process includes a certification procedure that requires its members to show that shipments of rough diamonds are conflict-free.
Angola’s diamonds will soon be further distinguished by a change to government laws governing the diamond industry. The new rules will require mining operations to dedicate a proportion of revenue to developing nearby areas, to show that the country can use its natural resources in a sustainable way and at the same time improve the lives of all Angolans.
Endiama (Empresa Nacional de Diamantes), the national diamond company, is the exclusive concessionary of mining rights in Angola. The parastatal organization is part of the movement to establish the “Diamond of Angola” brand, which aims to help position the republic and its quality diamonds as world leaders.
PROJECT: Joel Malo, Saturnino Izquierdo and Fatima Ruiz
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