Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of the DeBeers Group, warned industry leaders to remain vigilant on the conflict diamond issue at the 32nd World Diamond Congress in Israel last week. "Any negativity directed at the industry is not good for us," he said.
Oppenheimer gave credit to the Kimberley Process, a regulatory system aimed at stamping out conflict diamonds, for achieving a high rate of success, but advised the industry not to be remiss regarding outlaw elements. "There is evidence to suggest some diamantaires are still purchasing rough of dubious provenance directly in Africa and others buying at second hand in the cutting centers without conducting due diligence into the origin of the rough." Specifically targeting such diamonds, the DeBeers chairman issued a strong warning to his own people: "For any DTC sightholder to be involved in such purchases would be a major breach of the diamond best practice principles, with all the consequences that would entail."
Many congress participants agree that the forthcoming Leonardo DiCaprio movie 'The Blood Diamond' will raise questions on how the diamond industry is addressing the issue. "We cannot be complacent" Oppenheimer said.