On a recent visit to Colombia, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri held wide-ranging discussions with representatives of the country’s government and industry on methods for responsible sourcing of coloured gemstones, which included possible alternatives that will meet the requirements of smaller-scale miners.
This visit comes on the heels of increasing demand for an international system that will monitor coloured gemstones mining and ensure the implementation of the principles of responsible sourcing.
Dr. Cavalieri was visiting Colombia at the invitation of Jorge Martín, President of Expojoyas Colombia, the organiser of the country’s leading jewellery and gemstone trade fair, and the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá.
“What was apparent both from the thoughts expressed by officials from the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Colombia, as well as representatives of the local mining, coloured gemstones and jewellery trades, is that there is a readiness to consider a structured system that will help monitor the chain of supply, on condition that it does not compromise the basic interests of individuals and communities that are dependent on the revenues and jobs provided by small-scale mining,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “The task of developing a viable international system that can monitor the coloured gemstone industry, where upwards of 80 per cent of rough output is produced by small-scale and artisanal miners, will be made considerably easier if we can do so with the cooperation of government, community and business leaders in the producing countries.”
Dr. Cavalieri added: “After visiting Colombia, I am more convinced than ever that this is possible, but it will require maintaining a spirit of goodwill. Attempts to push through solutions without consulting the people on the ground, who ultimately will be those most affected, almost certainly will be counterproductive.”
While in Colombia, Dr. Cavalieri also visited the Porvenir emerald mine, near the town of Chivor, which is 160 kilometres from Bogotá in the State of Boyaca. There he met with the small-scale mine’s owner, the mayor of Chivor and local business leaders, who stressed the importance of the gemstone mining sector to the life and well-being of local inhabitants.
“It was an enlightening experience,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “These are people who have a vested interest in the integrity of their business and also in continuing economic opportunities in their community. Increasingly they realise that the two are interlinked.”
Dr. Cavalieri stressed CIBJO’s support towards attaining a viable and sustainable system for monitoring responsible sourcing in the coloured gemstone sector, in his discussions with various stakeholders. He said that possible solutions will be discussed at the 2017 CIBJO Congress, which is scheduled to take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from November 5-17, 2017.
CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (centre), during the visit to the Porvenir emerald mine in the State of Boyaca, Colombia. He is flanked (from left) by Rafael Daza Montenegro, the mine’s owner; Carlos Perilla, Mayor of the nearby town of Chivor; Jorge Martín, President of Expojoyas Colombia; and Hugo Orlando Sanchez, a jewellery maker from Chivor.
News Source: gjepc.org