Lucapa boosts Angola kimberlite exploration with establishment of standalone bulk kimberlite sampling plant

Lucapa Diamond and its Angolan partners are making great strides to improve the Lulo kimberlite exploration programme. Company chief executive and managing director Stephen Wetherall told Rough & Polished’s Mathew Nyaungwa on the sidelines of the Mining...


“In the jewellery art, we express our feelings, emotions and share them with others”

Over 30 years, the MOISEIKIN company based in the Ural area has become a famous jewellery brand. The jewellery and souvenirs of this jewellery house made of precious and semi- precious stones and metals are displayed at museums and in private collections...

20 march 2023

Automatic double upgrade of diamonds is not only a questionable practice but could be systemic fraud – Meeus

HRD Antwerp is under investigation by Belgian authorities following allegations that for every Gemological Institute of America (GIA) stone, which entered their lab for certification an automatic upgrade would be given two colours up and one...

13 march 2023

"At House of Ashish Vijay, diamonds and coloured gemstones will only ever mean stones that carry a storied legacy"

Ashish Vijay, a Dubai-based investor, philanthropist, entrepreneur and businessman with decades of experience in the precious gemstone and luxury jewellery industry, finance and investments sectors, set up his business in Dubai in the year 2013. As the...

06 march 2023

KP should remodel its enforcement, accountability mechanisms if it wants to remain relevant - Fula-Ngenge

The African Diamond Council (ADC) is calling on the Kimberley Process (KP) to remodel its enforcement and accountability mechanisms if it wants to remain relevant and effective. ADC chairperson M’zée Fula-Ngenge told Rough&Polished’s...

27 february 2023

UN report calls for the ban of mercury trade and its use in gold mining

29 november 2022
Marcos Orellana, the UN’s special reporter on toxics and human rights called for an end to mining, exporting and trading mercury, as well as a ban on the use of mercury in small-scale gold mining in a presentatio before the United Nations Human Rights Council on Sept.20. 
Artisanal gold mining is driving the global demand for mercury, with 2,058 metric tons of the toxic metal contaminating water, land and air every year, according to a recent report ' Mercury, Small Time Gold Mining and Human Rights'.
According to the report, an estimated 10 mn to 15 mn people were directly engaged in small-scale gold mining in 2017, including an estimated 1 mn child workers and 4.5 mn women. It generates up to 20% of the global gold supply annually, equivalent to approximately 500 tons, with a market value of almost $29 billion annually.
Orellana, who teaches international environmental law at George Washington University in the U.S., found that the demand for mercury used in small-scale gold mining stems from three key regions: South America (39%), East and Southeast Asia (37%), and sub-Saharan Africa (21%). Most small-scale gold mining in South America is centered in the Amazon. In Brazil, it has gone 'big scale.' 
According to MapBiomas, a research collective that tracks land use changes through satellite imagery, small-scale gold mining in 2018 overtook industrial mining in scale, covering 107,800 hectares (266,000 acres) in 2020, 94% of it in the Amazon.
The Inter-governmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) estimates there are more than 450,000 artisanal miners, or garimpeiros, in Brazil. More than 20,000 operate illegally inside the Yanomami Indigenous Territory alone.
Small-scale gold mining not only destroys vast areas of forests, leaving moon crater-like wasteland in its wake. The most devastating aspect, for both miners and people worldwide, is the use of mercury to extract the gold from the ore.
Also known as quicksilver, mercury is liquid at room temperature. When heated, it evaporates into the atmosphere or washes away into rivers, lakes and oceans, contaminating fish and thus entering the food chain.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished