Congo and HRD Set Up Certification System for Diamonds

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(Rapaport…April 27, 2001) Congo’s vice minister for mines Ambroise Mbaka and Peter Meeus, managing director of Belgium’s Diamond High Council (HRD) have signed an agreement to establish a certification system for Congolese diamonds. This plan will help the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) gain control over its internal diamond production.

Early in April, President Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his father Laurent Kabila, following his assassination in January, declared the mining industry an open market to maximize tax income for the government, attract foreign currency and fight against fraud. The government also intends to restructure the internal diamond market and export controls.

The certification plan is similar to the existing systems currently in effect in Angola and Sierra Leone. It involves a certificate of origin, import confirmation to the exporting country, electronic data exchange and digital pictures of the goods. This system has been approved by the United Nations and the World Diamond Council.

“Step by step we are closing the net for conflict diamonds,” said Meeus. “We hope the decision of the DRC will encourage other diamond producing countries to follow. In the DRC we have the unique opportunity to prove what the diamond industry means for the very large majority of the producing countries: a tool for prosperity.”

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