Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Keith Pitt MP opened the Kimberley Process Plenary meeting in Brisbane yesterday on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP. The Plenary meeting is the second and final meeting Australia will host for the Process in 2017.

Since 2003, the Kimberley Process has brought together government and industry in a global partnership to eliminate conflict diamonds. Through targeted compliance measures and a robust trade certification system, the Process has helped ensure the rough diamond trade is free from conflict diamonds.

“The Kimberley Process is central to the transparency and integrity of the global trade in rough diamonds.  The Process has made an important contribution toward global peace and security. It has reduced the proportion of conflict diamonds in the global diamond trade from over five per cent in 2003 to almost nothing today,” Mr Pitt said.

As the fifth largest producer of diamonds by weight globally, with most diamonds produced at Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine, Australia has strong interests in the Kimberley Process and a sustainable diamond-mining sector.

The Plenary meeting, which will continue till Thursday, will focus on the outcomes of a comprehensive review of the Process in 2017, led by Australia’s Kimberley Process Chair, Robert Owen-Jones. The review has considered proposals to further strengthen the scope, integrity and implementation of the Process.

“The Process has helped build consumer confidence and protect the reputation of the diamond industry, which provides livelihoods for millions of people around the world. But some countries continue to face the threat of instability and conflict. Consumers also look to the diamond industry to continue to guarantee conflict-free diamonds and to help ensure diamond production is ethical, sustainable and responsible,” Mr Pitt said.

Australia will host three special forums during the Plenary meeting. They will focus on sustainable development in artisanal and small-scale mining, sustainability reporting and the application of blockchain technology to the diamond trade.

The Plenary meeting will be attended by 350 foreign delegates from the 81 government members of the Process, the global diamond industry and invited guests. Up to 10 mining ministers from African countries are expected to attend along with senior government and industry representatives.

Australia proudly supports the Kimberley Process and we will continue to work with all stakeholders at the Plenary meeting to forge a stronger and more comprehensive Process.

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