The World Diamond Conference India opened in New Delhi this morning with a well-attended Welcome Sesssion being addressed by an impressive panel of dignitaries including ministers from the governments of India and South Africa as well as senior leaders from key global diamond organisations.
Welcoming all the guests to India, Chairman GJEPC, Vipul Shah said that it is only fitting that India should be the venue for this gathering of all the leading stakeholders, from across the world, of this great industry for such a significant conference which was taking up issues of importance across the pipeline.
He added that the industry had submitted its wish list to the government, some of which, like the Special Notified Zones had received in-principle approval. He invited companies from outside India, mining and other manufacturing companies to take advantage of these developments.
Acting President of Alrosa, Ilya Raschin said that the company foresees strong and stable demand for diamonds from USA, China and India, as well as other emerging markets and economies. There was a need to invest in mining and exploration to cover the gap between supply and demand. We have already invested a lot – three mines have begun underground operations and other potential mining sites were being explored, he said. Alrosa was keen on strengthening its ties with the India centre, he added.
The Keynote Presentation on the Indian Diamond Industry was made by Rajiv Mehta of Dimexon Diamonds. Indian industry is in a strong position both on the internal and external fronts he said, and India is the only country with a 3600 presence across the diamond pipeline from the Bunder mine in MP which has the potential to be among the 10 most important mines in the world to the strong presence in the manufacturing sector, and a burgeoning consumer demand for diamonds. India accounted for polished diamond sales of US$ 8.21 million or nearly 11% of the world’s ocnsumption, and with the government giving a go ahead to the concept of special zones for rough sales, even trading was sure to pick up.
Minister of Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi stressed the need for unity among the players in the diamond pipeline. Any form of disunity only benefits other industries, he noted. In this context, he called for the strengthening of the KP which had proved very effective in curbing conflict diamonds and asked participants to strictly adhere to all protocols. South Africa has been seeking to help stabilise the diamond producing region in the southernmost part of Africa and the government has been interacting with its counterparts in Lesotho and Zimbabwe to achieve this.
Edward Asscher, President World Diamond Council, too hailed the KP and its success and said that the industry had now reached a common approach on most of the issues that had been debated earlier. He said that only a united approach could help the industry face the current challenges on multiple fronts.
President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), Ernest Blom said, “The WFDB has recognised the importance of marketing and the elevation of the status of diamond jewellery in the eyes of the consumer when competing for the luxury dollar spend. Based on this assessment, the WFDB created the World Diamond Mark. The WDM has been very active in building awareness, raising funds and launching this very extensive programme to assist with the marketing of diamond jewellery.”
India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, Haribhai Chaudhary praised the contribution of the industry to the development of backward areas in Gujarat and other parts of the country. He said that the Indian government has been interacting with representatives of the industry and hopes to create a policy framework that will make it possible for more companies from various parts of the world to set up businesses here.
Anoop Mehta, President Bharat Diamond Bourse, proposed the Vote of Thanks saying that with the government giving a nod to the proposal for Special Notified Zones, trading of rough may soon commence in the complex which would provide an enormous boost to the industry across Mumbai and Surat.