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De Beers Urges One-Year Extension to G7 ‘Sunrise Period’

June 9, 2024  |  Joshua Freedman

De Beers has called to extend the interim period for Group of Seven (G7) sanctions on Russian diamonds by one year. 

This was one of seven points the company set out in a statement last week, in which it offered recommendations on how to implement the rules.  

In the current “sunrise period,” which started March 1 and runs through September 1, the US is requiring importers to provide their own declarations that the diamonds they’re importing are not of Russian origin. From September 1, technology-based traceability requirements are due to go into effect. 

While De Beers expressed willingness to broaden the import restrictions on polished diamonds to 0.50 carats and above on September 1, as planned — the current restrictions are on 1-carat and larger goods — it argued for extending the sunrise period until September 2025 to give the industry time to adapt. 

“De Beers fully supports the intent of the G7 sanctions on Russian diamonds,” the company added. “For these to be effective, they must be practical, industry-wide and enforceable.” 

The miner also reiterated its opposition to making Antwerp a single node for inspecting all diamonds entering G7 countries — a plan that already has less support than before. 

“Diamonds should be certified as close to the source as possible for maximum assurance on provenance,” De Beers continued. “Belgium has a leadership role to play, but producer countries like Botswana, Canada, Namibia, South Africa and Angola have globally respected standards and must be able to certify their own diamonds for trade with the G7.” 

In that vein, the company’s third point called for a “carve-out” — i.e., exemption — for rough diamonds that undergo cutting and polishing at the mining locations, such as De Beers’ beneficiation goods.  

In addition, Kimberley Process (KP) certificates should be a requirement for assuring diamond provenance, the miner continued, adding that these were the “only government-backed mechanism for certifying the origin of diamonds.” However, these documents must be “improved” in two important ways, it added: Certificates for diamond parcels must list countries of origin rather than simply stating “mixed origin,” and all KP certificates should be digitalized. 

De Beers also plans to upload all its gem-quality rough of 1 carat or larger — the equivalent of 0.50-carat polished — to its digital traceability platform, Tracr, by September 1, 2024. The company will offer Tracr at cost to industry participants and government authorities, and “reduce its ownership level to ensure Tracr’s independence,” it said. 

The miner further called for a “grandfathering” rule similar to the UK provision allowing the import of diamonds that left Russia before March 1, 2024.  

Finally, it proposed that all G7 members accept the import certifications and rules of other members. 

The statement followed the JCK show in Las Vegas and coincided with De Beers CEO Al Cook’s visit to the White House to “discuss how we track the journey of our diamonds,” as Cook wrote in a LinkedIn post last week. Joining him were De Beers senior vice president for government affairs Emma Wade-Smith, chief of staff Morty Selelo, and Feriel Zerouki, senior vice president for corporate affairs. 

Image: A customer trying on a diamond ring at De Beers Jewellers in New York. (De Beers)


De Beers Urges One-Year Extension to G7 ‘Sunrise Period’

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