Money & Business

Set in Stone: Diamond Producers Agree to Form Association

By / Jun 2, 2015 (Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

Several months after diamond-industry players discussed a proposal to come together under a single umbrella organization, the Diamond Producers Association appears ready to give its member companies a way to fend off synthetics.

The world now has an association for diamond miners.

Seven international diamond-mining companies—ALROSA, De Beers, Dominion Diamond Corporation, Gem Diamonds, Lucara Diamond Corporation, Petra Diamonds Ltd., and Rio Tinto—have banded together to form the Diamond Producers Association.

“The DPA is the first ever international representative organization to be formed by some of the leading diamond producers, with a corporate registration in London, England,” a joint press release states.

To start off, the group plans to select an executive director and put together an organizational staff. Then, according to Mining Weekly, DPA will gather research that will enable it to create a three-year activity plan.

At the Finish Line

DPA has been long in coming. In March, the diamond industry’s biggest players met privately in London to discuss the idea of forming their own trade association.

Before then, it took about a decade of legwork to put together a representative body for the industry. The International Diamond Board was established in 2009 but was unable to build consensus and disbanded. The World Diamond Council, launched in 2000, has had more success, though it’s focused solely on human rights in the diamond-mining industry and preventing the sale of stones that originate from conflict regions.

DPA has an impressive starting budget, at $6 million. The member companies will pool the funds when an executive director is appointed.

“The idea of the body is to promote the interests of diamond producers and the diamond sector more generally,” officials from Rio Tinto told Bloomberg News in March.

An Industry in Transition

The DPA has many goals and issues [subscription] to work on. Sales are down, trade has changed, and some production levels have been cut.

Demand is lower today, and industry power has changed. De Beers used to represent 80 percent of the world’s mined diamonds but now accounts for only a third of diamond sales in the world.

The trade has become more difficult, the Wall Street Journal reported, with middleman companies, miners, polishers, and retailers all battling for industry space—and regulatory concerns a constant issue.

The discussion at the London meeting included the challenges presented by synthetic diamonds. And the new trade organization intends to address this issue.

DPA also will conduct joint marketing campaigns, aimed at picking up sales for member companies and the industry. The strategy will include “maintaining and enhancing consumer demand for, and confidence in, diamonds.”

Finally, the group wants to be the “unified voice of the diamond producers” and to provide accessible research, information, and other tools.

Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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