Diamonds: Bill introduced to strengthen Canada's role in Kimberley Process

05/19/05

This release is also available in French



OTTAWA -- The Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, today introduced a bill in the Senate to ensure that Canada meets its obligations under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme -- an international agreement to help eliminate trade in illicit diamonds. The bill proposes two amendments to the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act.

The first amendment will allow Canada to publish Kimberley Process Certificate-based trade statistics, aligning Canada's methods with those of other international participants. The second amendment will clarify the size of diamonds subject to the Kimberley Process. Illicit diamonds are those that are traded for the purpose of funding armed conflict, notably in Africa.

"The Government of Canada is committed to the Kimberley Process, which is helping build greater transparency and accountability in the international diamond trade," said

Minister Efford. "This bill will help Canada meet its international obligations under this agreement, ensuring the smooth trade of legitimate diamonds and supporting Canada's burgeoning diamond industry in the North."

The Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act is under the authority of the Minister of Natural Resources and serves as the legal foundation to implement the Kimberley Process in Canada. At the Kimberley Process plenary meeting held in Gatineau, Quebec, in October 2004, several modifications were brought forward to improve the effectiveness of the process. As a result, amendments are required to the Act to ensure that Canada remains compliant with the international agreement.

The Kimberley Process was initiated by South Africa in May 2000 to break the link between trade in rough diamonds and armed conflict in some African states. It includes 43 participants involved in diamond production and trade. Industry and non-governmental organizations are also active stakeholders in the process. Canada has participated in the agreement since its inception.

In 2004, Canada ranked as the world's third largest diamond producer by value, with production estimated at 12.6 million carats or approximately $2.1 billion. Diamond mining provides approximately 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada.

The amendments to the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act advance Canada's international leadership role in the natural resources sectors, which are a vital part of Canada's economy and society. They also support the Government of Canada's commitment to building on the strength of our country and our people.

Additional information is available on NRCan's Kimberley Process for Rough Diamonds Web site at www.nrcan.gc.ca/kimberleyprocess. A media backgrounder is also available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media.

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