South African Minister Calls for ‘New Pipeline’

The current diamond pipeline needs to be reconstructed to include more production from African diamond producers, a South African official told Antwerp Facets Magazine.

South Africa’s minister of mines and energy, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, whose call for increasing cutting in Africa made a strong impression at the last Antwerp Diamond Conference (see “The Call Out of Africa,” JCK, February 2005, p. 92), said “the current structure of the pipeline is wrong.”

The developed world has “decided that developing nations must only mine, and then they will cream the best of the revenue that comes out of the industry. We believe that it doesn’t have to be like that,” she said.

She also called upon De Beers to move its Diamond Trading Company, which controls its sales and marketing and has been long based in Charterhouse Street, London, to South Africa. “We told them that, if they do not do it, we are going to find ways of regulating in such a way that this will be an option that they have to consider,” she said. “We haven’t reached that stage yet, but they are looking into it.”