At the end of April, Venezuela concluded a week of meetings with the Kimberly Process in what is being called the final steps towards re-certifying the country’s status as an international producer of non-conflict diamonds.
The Kimberly Process (KP) is an intergovernmental body, composed of 81 countries, that regulates the international diamond trade. Extensive certification requirements are needed if prospective members want to join to ensure that diamond exports are not financing wars or other inhumane activities.
Venezuela is finally reentering the international agreement after eight years outside of the process. Indeed, the potential for economic growth once Venezuela taps back into the international market could be drastic, as nearly a third of people buying diamond jewelry are willing to spend more than $1,000.
Venezuelan authorities met with a special KP delegation, composed of representatives from China, Angola, South Africa, Canada, and other countries, who were invited to visit the Guaniamo region of Venezuela’s Bolivar state, home to a large diamond reserve.
The KP delegates were responsible for evaluating if the legal and environmental norms were respected in the process of Venezuelan diamond mining. If the mines, and the country as a whole, are found to be in compliance with the KP standards, it will be authorized to print KP certificates, which must accompany all international shipments.
“Venezuela is currently a few steps away from reentering the great Kimberley Process family, so that our diamonds will be for peace and won’t be classified as ‘conflict diamonds,’ explained Vice-Minister for Mining Richard Lozada.
Earlier this year, in February, the United Arab Emirates publicly announced that they were ready to back Venezuela’s bid to return to the international diamond trading community. This endorsement was particularly meaningful in the face of Venezuela’s financial crisis.
After Venezuela left the KP in 2008, amid concerns from other members, it deprived itself of a multibillion dollar industry. With the assessment of the KP delegates late last month, it looks like Venezuela is ready to re-enter the fold.