Any color diamond is a great investment

Bruno Scarselli belongs to the 3rd generation of the Scarselli family, which has for the last half-century been producing and selling some of the world’s highest quality yellow, blue and pink diamonds available on the market. Bruno heads the company...

20 november 2017

It’s crucial everybody feels confident that their suppliers use the System of Warranties - Stephane Fischler

The System of Warranties (SoW) in the diamond industry dates back to 2002, when the World Diamond Council (WDC) in team with the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association...

13 november 2017

IIDGR’s proprietary technology gives polished diamonds unique identity

The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a unit of the global diamond giant, De Beers, grades natural stones and is also using its proprietary inscription technology to inscribe a unique identification on tables of each...

07 november 2017

In future, only those who offer innovative designs will survive

A science graduate from Madras University, Srinivasan's one-man venture with just 10 employees launched in 1984 has now grown into the present Emerald Group, in about 3 plus decades. The Group from Southern India is one of the largest jewellery manufacturing...

30 october 2017

Conditions are still very difficult - Ernie Blom

Ernie Blom, the President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) for the third term, has served on a range of industry bodies as an executive as well as chairman for many years, including Chairman, Diamond Dealers Club of South Africa...

23 october 2017

Mir Disaster Puts Diamond Industry's Excellent Record In The Spotlight

11 september 2017

By Abraham Dayan

Just a month after the terrible disaster at ALROSA's Mir mine in Yakutia where eight miners lost their lives following a sudden flooding at the underground operation, attention turns to the safety record of the diamond mining industry. It might appear to be too soon to talk about the subject with the memory of the catastrophe still fresh in the mind and with families and friends of the eight miners still grieving terribly, but the accident nonetheless leads our attention to focus on the safety precautions and standards that are in place.

Firstly, however, the Russian authorities must be praised for immediately setting about the rescue operation which extracted 143 miners. More than 300 rescue workers fought continuously for over three weeks to find the eight missing men in conditions that are too awful for most people to possibly imagine, with a reported 40,000 tons of water above where the miners were located. That enormous mass of water, together with tons of rock and suffocating mud, could have broken through at any moment, and it was with an understandably heavy heart that the rescue operation was ended.

As WFDB President Ernie Blom said in a media release: "I would like to praise the speedy response by ALROSA which allowed 143 miners to be rescued quickly, and the way in which it rapidly put the rescue operation into place. Rescuers worked around the clock for more than three weeks facing incredible dangers and operating in conditions that are impossible for outsiders to comprehend. Unfortunately, a point was reached where it was simply not possible to continue. With great sadness, we had to accept that the trapped miners are unlikely to still be alive without food and water, in appallingly high levels of humidity and with a high content of hydrogen sulfide and salts in the mudflow."

Hope inevitably was in the hearts of all involved in the rescue operation – and in those of the many outsiders looking in. Their belief that the miners could be rescued may have been sustained by recorded accidents where miners were trapped underground for long periods but who survived. Among the best known examples is one that had billions of people around the world glued to their TV sets in 2010 when a mining accident in Chile saw a cave-in at the San José copper-gold mine. Incredibly, after 69 days the 33 workers trapped 700 meters underground were rescued.

If there is one thing that stands out about the terrible accident, it is actually to show how rare such occurrences are in the diamond mining industry. Periodically, there are incidents around the world where miners become trapped and rescued, as mentioned above, and unfortunately not a few instances of deaths.

These have typically happened in coal mining operations. In Pakistan earlier this month, five coal miners were killed. In Iran in May, 21 coal miners were killed trying to rescue trapped colleagues, while China has also experienced accidents resulting in the deaths of scores of miners. Even the United States has recorded fatalities among coal miners, almost a dozen killed in the first half of this year – which is more than in all of 2016.

The fact is that the diamond mining industry has an excellent safety record. The last such incident was when a father-of-three was killed driving inside the pit at the enormous Jwaneng mine in Botswana in July 2012.

As the rescue efforts in Russia testified, excellent safety records are only possible when mining companies insist on stringent safety procedures. In the nature of work that has a potential for danger, there will always be incidents caused by unforeseen events. This does not detract, however, from the work of all the diamond mining firms and their procedures and policies insisting that employees follow very strict guidelines in order to slash the risk of an accident down to extremely low levels.


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