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DMCC’s Dubai Diamond Conference Concludes with Keynote from Former Prime Minister David Cameron, Inaguration of UAE’s First Diamond Polishing Facility, and a Rare 163-Carat Gem on Display

October 18 2017

Watch the video here for more diamond insights on VAT introduction, Sustainability and Trade from Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman DMCC; Sir Mark Moody–Stuart, Vice Chair, Global Compact; Peter Meeus, Chairman Dubai Diamond Exchange; and Ernest Blom, President World Federation of Diamond Bourses.

The second day of the Dubai Diamond Conference 2017 ('DDC 2017') under the theme ‘Shaping the future of an interconnected marketplace’ organised by the Dubai Diamond Exchange (‘DDE’), a DMCC ('Dubai Multi Commodities Centre') platform, provided participants with a huge amount of food for thought. There was a keynote speech from former Prime Minister, David Cameron, there were press conferences announcing the launch of the Nemesis International diamond polishing factory and the display by Nemesis International, De Grisogono and Christie's of an extraordinary 163-carat diamond necklace to be offered for sale by auctioneer Christie's.

Mr. Cameron spoke about a range of issues, particularly the issue of sustainability and ethical business. He began by praising Dubai and its openness, diversity and rule of law, values which Dubai and the United Kingdom share.

Responsible capitalism is what I believe in. It’s the next logical step. Big business needs to do far more to deliver a fair economy and environment... Business needs to be fair, open and transparent. This is a big opportunity for the industry. You can get ahead of the game by being in favour of ethical behaviour. We need to expand transparency across the globe. Many African countries have suffered from a resource curse, and I believe we have to help countries to make the right choices and spread their wealth among their people. That is the responsibility of us all.”

The official launch of the Nemesis International diamond cutting and polishing factory started off Day 2 of the Conference. The state-of-the-art facility is seen as completing the range of services that Dubai's diamond trade can offer by providing the highest level of diamond polishing. "We now have the complete package, or one-stop shop," said DMCC Executive Chairman, Ahmed Bin Sulayem. "Dubai has become a major importer of rough diamonds which can now be cut and polished by master craftsmen. This joins the world-class facilities that the Almas Tower offers, including customs, insurance, banking, a Kimberley Process office, and international tenders of a wide range of rough diamonds."

Meanwhile, Christie's displayed the 163.41-carat emerald-cut diamond owned by the Geneva-based luxury jeweller, De Grisogono. The auction house said it is the largest D-colour flawless diamond to ever come to auction and will be offered for sale on November 14 as a highlight of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva. The diamond, cut from a 404-carat rough discovered in February 2016 in the Lulo mine in Angola, was displayed at the Conference as part of a world tour. It is the 27th biggest rough white diamond ever discovered and the largest in Angola, said Fawaz Gruosi, founder of De Grisogono, who purchased the rough diamond. A team of 10 diamond-cutting specialists were involved in mapping, plotting, cleaving, laser-cutting and polishing the extraordinary diamond which took almost a year to cut.

After the press conferences, Ashit Mehta, Director of Platinum Sponsor Aurostar, spoke about the challenges affecting the midstream of the diamond sector where diamond margins are dropping. Following Mehta, there were speeches from the Mining Ministers of important African diamond producing states: the Hon Walter K. Chidhakwa, Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Republic of Zimbabwe; the Hon Keketso Sello, Minister of Mining, Kingdom of Lesotho; the Hon Leopold Mboli Fatran, Minister of Mines and Geology, Central African Republic; and Dr Obolokile Obakeng, Acting Permanent Secretary, Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Republic of Botswana. Mr. Chidhakwa spoke about the need for the diamond industry to change and adapt and to increase the benefits received by local communities in diamond mining areas.

A panel on ‘Lab-grown diamonds and their disclosure: Is there a problem’ sparked much debate. “We don’t have a problem with synthetics as long as they are disclosed. Lack of disclosure is our main concern. We rely on our 30 affiliated bourses to aid us in this”, said, World Federation of Diamond Bourses President Ernie Blom.

The next panel debate looked at ‘Bankability, transparency, innovation’, with a range of banking figures discussing the reasons for the increasing difficulty faced by diamond firms in securing credit. Bankers agreed that further efforts to boost transparency were needed.

The conference then moved on to discuss the issue of KP Reform: A reality or a never ending story? where the discussion focused on how far the KP has advanced in the 14 years since it came into being and what should be its future path. The impact of value added tax (VAT) or GST on wholesale diamond trading; Diamond trading centres – working together to create global wealth was the next discussion with participants providing insights as to the likely impact of the taxes. The final panel discussed Tender or auctions: temporary phenomenon or new business of the future? The panellists looked at this relatively new marketing method and how they are affecting the prices being paid by the industry for rough goods.

DDE Chairman Peter Meeus said the third edition of the Dubai Diamond Conference, which took place in Dubai's Almas tower which houses the DDE, had once again illustrated its importance and the ability of Dubai to bring together international leaders of the diamond industry ranging from African Ministers to traders, financiers and world-renowned jewellers. The conference provided an opportunity to build relationships between companies and governments in producing and consuming countries further highlighting the pivotal role that Dubai plays in the global diamond trade for diamonds.