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News, Russian Ukraine Conflict

Fight continues over "blood diamond" definition

Russia’s Finance Ministry has released a statement condemning the bid to have diamonds mined in Russia classified as blood diamonds.

On 17 August, Russia’s Finance Ministry released a statement declaring efforts to classify Russia as non-compliant with Kimberley Process standards as demonstrating “a low level of awareness.”

“Russia has always been and remains an exclusively responsible participant in the Kimberley Process,” the statement reads.

“The livelihoods of one million people of Yakutia fully depend on the stability of diamond mining in the region.”
Russian Finance Ministry

“Attempts to question Russia’s full compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification System are unfounded and speculative.

“Russia has advocated working to revise the definition over the past five years and has often been the only participant at the negotiating table trying to reconcile sometimes opposing viewpoints.”

The Finance Ministry also dismissed the move as “political demagogy,” according to the New York Times. The statement also defended the country’s environmental, social, and governance standards and said the sale of diamonds is crucial to the economy of the Republic of Sakha in Siberia.

“The livelihoods of one million people of Yakutia fully depend on the stability of diamond mining in the region,” the statement reads.

In June, Kimberley Process representatives met in Botswana where a proposal was tendered by Ukraine, the EU, Britain, Canada, and Australia to broaden the recognised definition of conflict diamonds.

The KP currently defines “blood diamonds” as diamonds sold to finance rebel groups. The proposal sought to expand that definition to include “state actors” in order to include diamonds mined in Russia.

There are 85 participants of the Kimberley Process, which includes industry representatives and civil society organisations.

Russia, along with Belarus, the Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan, and Mali voted against the proposal according to Reuters.

Russia produces more than one-third of the world’s supply of rough diamonds, the vast majority of which are mined by Alrosa. The Russian Government owns 33 per cent of Alrosa. Russia reportedly exported $US4.5 billion in rough diamonds in 2021.

The UN established the Kimberley Process in 2003.

More reading

Russian gold to be outlawed by G7
Recovery in diamond market as Alrosa, De Beers record positive results
More sanctions on Russia; loophole hounds diamond export ban
Diamonds slapped with tariff as UK and Russia hostility continues
Australia imposes sanctions on Russia, diamonds not included
Economic sanctions on Russia seen to impact diamond trade
UK government announces direct sanctions on Alrosa
US imposes crippling sanctions on Alrosa; congress asks to close loopholes


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