The Diamond industry has the ability to build Strong Social Capital not only through making investments for sustainable development but through establishing strong markets, charting innovative distribution models and forging strategic partnerships for building competitive economies.
This was echoed by the industry experts during the De Beers Diamond Conference this week held under the theme ‘Leading Businesses for Social Capital’ in Gaborone. The conference focused on the challenges and opportunities of industry trends, investment strategies, partnerships, building brand value through retail and marketing programmes as well as approaches to creating a sustainable diamond industry that supports business, producer nations and local communities.
Synthetics versus Natural diamonds
With De Beers having tapped into the manufacturing of synthetic or artificial diamonds earlier this year, the burning issue at the conference was mainly about how the modern gemstones could impact on the natural ones in terms of value and sales.
Experts had noticed that the synthetic diamonds had been regarded as a threat to natural diamond mining. De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver insisted that there is still future for the natural diamond mining and sale despite the presence the artificial diamonds in the industry.
He told the media that due to technology advancement the company decided to produce synthetic diamonds with the aim of offering wide range of choices to the consumers and buy what they want to. He reckoned: “Synthetic diamonds are not much or closer to the natural diamonds competitive wise and it’s not an expensive process and the synthetic diamonds process will decline soon. De Beers still invests a lot in natural diamonds with over P 11 billion invested on the mining and production”. He said the De Beers Group is not naturally focused on the synthetic diamonds which is not cost effective.
Strategic partnerships and Sustainable diamond industry
The conference pointed out the significance of forging the strategic relationships between diamond producers, governments and consumers to facilitate a healthy balanced diamond ecosystem for building competitive and sustainable economies.
Sierra Leone-based Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources Dr Morie Komba Manyeh said local communities should be the core priority for African diamond producing countries and urged the governments to form partnerships with diamond production entities, citing that the case between Botswana and De Beers should be followed by other African countries. The conference covered discussions on topics such as consumer insights and trends, building brand value: retail, the influence of diamonds and style.