London, UK--GemFair, a De Beers Group initiative to advance the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining 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 program in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Ivory Coast.
The three parties will jointly deliver a regional training program 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. Participants 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.
Feriel Zerouki, senior vice-president of International Relations and Ethical Initiatives for De Beers Group and general manager of GemFair, said, “GemFair is committed to helping advance the ASM sector and one of the critical first steps is to raise standards across the sector. We are pleased to be partnering with GIZ and MRU on this ambitious training program and look forward to sharing our knowledge and providing our training expertise.”
The action was lauded by World Diamond Council president Edward Asscher.
“It is projects like these that demonstrate the capacity of the Kimberley Process and its partners to go beyond the traditional scope of conflict prevention, by also building real grass-roots capacity and economic opportunity in the countries where diamonds are mined,” he said. “Furthermore, by taking a regional, rather than a country-by-country approach, not only is it possible to offer solutions that are more effective, because supply chains do not stop at border crossings, but also to deliver effective results simultaneously to a considerably larger number of ASM communities than otherwise would be possible. It is an approach that WDC has promoted within the KP for many years.”