Ghost of  ‘Blood Diamonds’ from Cote D’Ivoire haunts India’s diamond industry.

Surat : It seems the ghost of ‘blood diamonds’ has come back to haunt the global diamond industry.

Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d’Ivoire, officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire,  a country located on the south coast of West Africa has come under the spotlight after the diamond production increased despite a United Nations (UN) ban on their export.

This was revealed by the international watchdog for diamonds, Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) headed by Russia. Last year in October, UN’s security council had extended ban on the export of diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire as part of targeted sanctions and to ensure free and fair elections in the west African nation.

The UN team found that despite the UN ban on the export of diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire, the rough diamonds were still mined to fund other activities.

India is the world’s largest diamond consumer with about 90% of the diamonds mined across the world reaching the diamond hub of Surat from different channels. It is feared that the diamonds mined in Côte d’Ivoire could find its way through illegal channels into India and Surat.

Sources said that the blood diamonds are traded cheaper compared to the KPCS certified diamonds. The increase in the production of rough diamonds in Côte d’Ivoire indicates that the miners are getting orders from the overseas buyers.

According to the data published by KPCS, the global diamond production plummeted 23% last year to 107 million carats as mining companies cut back output amid the Covid-19 pandemic. By value, the diamond production in 2020 plunged 32% to $9.23 billion compared with $13.57 billion recorded in 2019.

Diamond industry analyst, Aniruddha Lidbide told TBT, “Bloods diamonds are the diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance an insurgency or a warlord’s activity. The final destination of any diamonds mined in the world is India and Surat. However, it is the responsibility of the Indian diamantaires to stay away from purchasing diamonds without KPCS certification”