Diamonds & their Impact on Mining Communities

Many people believe that the diamond industry is still filled with conflict. However, this is not the case – 99.8% of diamonds today are certified by the Kimberley Process as conflict-free. 

In fact, Ritani has been a part of driving this change in the American diamond industry since our founding in 1999. We work to provide full visibility throughout our diamond supply chain – from diamond mine to her engagement ring. Ritani makes every decision with a commitment to ethical practices, which is why we choose to source our diamonds from Diamond Producers Association members. In addition to ethical diamond sourcing, our bespoke engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry are handcrafted with love in our New York studio.

Do mindful choices, like those of Ritani’s, truly mean anything to the communities that the diamond industry touches? In order to completely understand the impacts of the diamond industry, The Diamond Producers Association decided to investigate the industry’s impact on  the surrounding communities by hiring a third-party organization (Trucost, part of S&P Global) to conduct a study on the entirety of the industry. In doing so, they learned that initiatives undertaken by mining companies are in fact key to the economic development and future of mining communities.

What is the Diamond Producers Association?

The Diamond Producers Association is a group of the world’s leading diamond mining companies. These companies include ALROSA, De Beers, Dominion Diamond Mines, Lucara Diamond Corp., Murowa, Petra Diamonds, and Rio Tinto. These seven members represent approximately 75% of the world’s rough diamond production. The DPA is committed to best-in-class ethical and sustainable operations as well as transparent business practices. At Ritani, we choose to source our diamonds from DPA companies because we stand by their ethical mission.

Benefiting People

Modern diamond mining provides safe, high-quality, and high paying jobs. Over 77,000 people are employed by DPA Members. DPA Member employees on average even earn 66% more than the national average salary and 5 times the living wage in the countries of operation. DPA mining companies also take the time to invest in career development, training, and apprenticeship programs.

Modern diamond mining is far safer than other industries. In diamond mining, there is one incident per million hours worked (an incident rate of .20 on average). This is a significantly smaller incident rate compared to construction workers, retail employees, and people working in business & consumer services.

Industry Rate
DPA Average 0.2
Telecom (Wireless) 1.2
Business & Consumer Services 1.34
Power 1.63
Retail 3.16
Transportation 6.32
Engineering/ Construction 8.7

 

Because of the diamond mining industry’s massive job creation, $3.9 billion in benefits are created locally through employment.

Benefiting Communities

Each year, over $6.8 billion is infused into surrounding diamond mining communities. These benefits positively impact diamond mining regions such as Botswana, Northern Canada, Western Australia, and Russia. A large majority of these benefits enter local communities through employment, sourcing of goods and services, taxes and royalties, social programs, and infrastructure investment.

The growth of jobs and local DPA partnerships improve healthcare, education, and local economies. Additionally, nearly $300 million every year is committed to social programs to fund the construction of schools, hospitals, art centers, recreational spaces, and more.

Benefiting the Planet

A common misconception is that diamond mining causes massive amounts of pollution. In reality, mining protects 3 times the land it uses. The total area of protected land by DPA mines is over 1,000 square miles, which is equivalent to the size of Yosemite National Park. Around the world, the total combined area DPA members use for mining is 325 square miles, which is about the size of New York City. Because mining operations are compact in size, mining operations leave a relatively small footprint on land. 

Diamond mining is almost completely dependant on mechanical processes; large amounts of chemicals are not necessary. While significant quantities of energy are needed to mine diamonds, natural diamonds produce 69% less carbon emissions per carat than lab created diamonds. Lab created diamonds produce 511kg CO2e per carat. Collectively, DPA members emit 160kg CO2e per polished carat diamond produced. This is the same amount of CO2e generated by driving 390 miles in an average passenger vehicle.

All DPA members are actively working on ways to reduce energy consumption and their carbon footprint. For example, the Diavik mine in Canada has installed a wind farm that provides up to 10% of the mine’s energy needs. This wind farm replaces about 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year. 

When DPA members are finished using land for mining operations, the land is reclaimed. Closure plans take several years to execute when mining operations are over. This ensures that the land is safe for wildlife and people to use once mining ceases.

To learn more about the reality of modern diamond mining, click here

To learn more about Ritani’s commitment to ethical diamonds, click here.