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Diamond Conference Ends

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Lazare

Rough_Rock
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Nov 10, 2002
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(October 2002) The Diamond Conference, held in Antwerp on October 7 and 8, 2002, was highlighted by the signing of a co-operation agreement between ALROSA and the Antwerp Diamond High Council (HRD) as well as the presentation of approximately $250,000 to Botswana's president, Festus Mogae, by the newly created Diamond Relief Fund at a dinner attended by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

In a keynote address, Gore expressed concern over the world’s economic situation, saying evidence of a strong economic recovery is “mixed at best”. He commended the diamond industry for embracing responsibility in the face of negative publicity generated by conflict diamonds and for playing a role in helping nations.

At the conference, organized by the HRD, industry leaders discussed international diamond policies and strategies. Although many were realistic as to the challenges facing the industry, they remained optimistic.

Vladimir Kalitin, ALROSA President, predicted that while the total world production of rough diamonds will continue to lie in the hands of a few mining companies for the next three to five years, the range will expand. This will bring new supplies into the market, stabilize the supply and demand of rough diamonds and improve the range of qualities of goods on the market. He said ALROSA hopes to increase production up to $2 billion worth of rough by 2005.

Speaking on the role of financiers, Paul Goris, executive chairman of Antwerp Diamond Bank, warned that diamond banks as well as diamond companies should brace themselves for an “inevitable new environment of uncertainty.” According to Goris, diamond bankers should offer clients “more than just money” as they have become industry specialized, sensitive to sector-risk and tuned into economic developments.

Other key speakers included Mogae; De Beers Chairman, Nicky Oppenheimer; JFPI Chairman, Andre Action Jackson, Lazare Kaplan’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Maurice Tempelsman and Secretary-General of Shanghai Diamond Exchange Administration, Du Gong-pu.
 
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