Andrey Polyakov, vice president of Russian diamond producer Alrosa, became president of the World Diamond Council in May. He spoke to us at the JCK Las Vegas show in early June.
JCK: Recently, the WDC attempted to mediate the ongoing dispute between the current Kimberley Process chair—the United Arab Emirates—and the NGO coalition, but the effort failed. How do you see that?
Polyakov: The absence of any observers hurts the KP. The NGOs remain involved in KP’s everyday workings, in working groups, in conference calls, in review missions. We should find a way to get them back to full participation. I don’t want a situation where one of the diamond centers will start a fight with NGOs. It is useless, and everybody will lose. We want a positive agenda.
JCK: Some say that while De Beers, Rio Tinto, and Dominion all do individual promotional work, Alrosa does relatively little. Will that ever change?
Polyakov: We may do some exercises that provide assurances as to the origin of our diamonds. We have found that may be commercially interesting. But that is not our core business. If we do it, it will be step-by-step. Our current strategy is simple but efficient.
JCK: Has the diamond market recovered from last year?
Polyakov: In 2015, I believe we were caught between forecasts and reality. Manufacturers thought that retail would continue to grow the same way as it did in 2014. But then we faced problems in China, and manufacturers overstocked. But the producers [cut back] supply, and exports from the stock of Indian manufacturers increased, and that had a beneficial psychological effect. My forecast is we will see a stable but positive year.