diamond mine labor conditions

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Jun 6, 2003
Thanks to those who responded to my last post about this.
Anybody else out there have info or an opinion about labor conditions
in mines or for diamond cutters? It seems that what people have been
saying here is that the issue is over sensationalized and not really a problem.

Can anybody comment or respond to issues such as shown here:

I really appriciate your comments, as I want to make sure I make a
good desicion about buying a diamond. THanks in advance


Mar 31, 2003
I commend you on seeking out more information and not just believing what you read or hear. Bravo.


Nov 20, 2002
I replied to your question in that other thread, but I'll elaborate some more here, mostly because of what I read on that website, which is, IMO, a lot of muckracking nonsense.

It's not that the diamond trade hasn't had problems, it's that I think you've been getting a highly skewed view of it. Let's look at just one paragraph I snipped from that web page:

In my book I wil alsol take you to the fantastically rich Atlantic coast of Southern Africa known as "the Forbidden Zone" where they literally vacuum up diamonds and can them like peas. Learn how De Beers can make flawless gems from sewage gas. Learn diamond secrets hidden for decades. And also learn how a major American diamond mine was sabotaged so the US would not have its own diamond supplies.

Let's see: there is no "forbidden zone" in southern African. What there is is a series of marine and coastal mining leases north and south of the Orange River in South Africa. In these places, alluvial diamond have collected along the beach and the surf zone, and can literally be picked up and carted off. If you had paid for one of these leases, it's hardly surprising that you would want to keep non-miners out, since they could easily poach off your claim. This is standard in the mining business, large and small--you don't let strange people wander around your claim.

"Flawless gems from sewage gas"? No. This is a bald-faced lie. The only thing I can think of that would explain this statement is chemical vapor deposition (CVD) which is a process by which high-temperature methane is used to deposit a micro-thin layer of polycrystalline diamond on the surface of industrial cutting tools. You cannot make gem-quality diamond with CVD.

And as for that "major American diamond mine," there are only two known sources of diamond in the US, Murfreesboro AK and Kelsely Lake CO. The first is a state park that has been tested and sampled numerous times over the last century. It has been repeatedly found to be uneconomic, that is, the reserves are not enough to support large-scale mining. Kelsey Lake has been under development on and off for years, and though it shows some promise, it is by no means a major deposit. I am also unaware of any attempts by De Beers to shut it down. De Beers is under federal indictment for anti-trust violations, and their people will not even set foot in the US. It's hard enough to get them to respond to email and fax inquiries because they are trying to avoid coming under US jurisdiction by doing business here.

If the rest of that book is as faulty and poor-researched as the web page, I'd say there's nothing there you need to worry about.
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