Canadian Mining Journal


DIAMONDS: DDI sets standards for ethical artisanal mining

OTTAWA – On April 24, 2019, the Diamond Development Initiative launched the Maendeleo Diamond Standards, calling this an innovative certification system that guides the ethical production of diamonds by artisanal and small scale mines.

Although numerous ethical standards for mining diamonds have been initiated since the original Kimberly Process 2007, they are more applicable to larger operations. The Maendeleo Diamond Standards are the first suitable for artisanal and small mines. (Maendeleo is a Swahili word meaning “development.”)

The MDS consists of eight principles covering legality, consent and community engagement, human and worker’s rights, health and safety, violence free operations, environmental management, interactions with large miners, and site closure. Each principle has provisions defined by measurable requirements, concrete performance criteria, and a list of acceptable audit evidence.

The DDI developed the standards in consultations with a wide range of stakeholders in four African and South American countries. Pilot projects were conducted in Sierra Leone in 2012 and 2013, and in 2014 the pilot was expanded into a full program. The standards received broad acceptance in Sierra Leone, and they are now ready to global implementation.

Rough diamonds mined according to the Maendeleo Diamond Standards are certified by DDI as Maendeleo Diamonds. The MDS certification is voluntary and aims to unlock the development potential of artisanal and small mines through a pragmatic certification process that enables progressive improvement over time.

Read the Maendeleo Diamond Standards at

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