There will be a continued push for in-country beneficiation

When it comes to the geographical location of cutting and polishing, the move towards low-cost centres in India and the Far East is likely to have reached its peak. Over recent years, producing countries such as Botswana, South Africa and Namibia have been striving for increased domestic beneficiation, leading to some cutting and polishing jobs migrating to those countries.

Diamonds are critical to the economies of some producing nations. In Botswana, for example, diamonds represent more than one quarter of GDP and over three-quarters of overall exports, whereas in Namibia they represent eight per cent of GDP, and almost 20 per cent of exports. However, diamond mining in itself only creates a limited number of jobs (as is also the case with other types of mining) since it is capital-intensive rather than labour-intensive.

In order for local beneficiation to be sustainable in the long term, producing countries will need to make an effort to develop competitive downstream industries that can create value as well as generate jobs. This will require investment in skills development and infrastructure as well as thoughtful regulation. Only in this way can the downstream diamond industry ensure long-term job creation that will attract investors and developers to the sector.

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