Canada is the gold standard for ethically produced diamonds. Since diamond mining began in the country in the 1990s, Canadian miners have had to meet exacting standards set by the government and local watch groups that seek to ensure that the aboriginal population is treated fairly and that the environment is preserved as best as possible.
Because of this, Canadian diamond mines are some of the most progressive in the world. Diamonds are responsibly mined and ethically processed which goes far more than the basic requirements outlined by the Kimberley Process. Some of the areas that mining and processing of Canadian diamonds excel include:
- Prevention of human rights abuses, including the prevention of child labor
- Offering fair wages to workers
- Fostering humane working conditions
- Precautionary measures to preserve the natural environment and make reclaiming of the land easier once mining ceases
Canada Diamonds are Traceable Diamonds
One of the issues plaguing most diamond producing countries is the inability to prove where and how their diamonds are sourced. This is also a problem for the Kimberley Process which tries but does not prevent all blood diamonds from making it into the legitimate world diamond trade.
This is one of the areas in which Canadian mined diamonds excel. Canadian diamonds are mined mostly in the northwest provinces along the Canadian arctic. The current mines are the Diavik Mine (the largest open-pit mine in the world in terms of production), Ekati Mine, Snap Lake Mine, and Victor Mine in Ontario.
From newly mined diamonds to polished gems, Canadian diamonds are fully traceable and their history apparent. By meeting the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct diamonds from Canadian mines can show their history from mine of origin to polisher and retailer. This ensures that only legitimate Canadian-mined diamonds do make it into the trade and are associated with brand Canada.
Each diamond is engraved with a unique mark based on the province/mine in which it was sourced. They are also assigned a tracking number. This process makes it easier to trace diamonds from origin and during the cutting and polishing process which sometimes takes place in other countries.
Canadian diamond mining has a strong record of monitoring by independent groups to meet environmental and labor standards. For example, the Diavik and Ekati mines are monitored by the Environmental Monitoring Advisory Board and the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency, respectively. These organizations are formed as partnerships between the mine owners, local communities, and local and federal governments and they consistently monitor the impact of the mines on the environment.
Environmental Monitoring and Preservation
All Canadian diamond mines are supervised by the Canada Mining Regulations for the Northwest Territories. This is to ensure that mining is carried out under strict regulations to preserve the surrounding environment and aquatic habitats. This is not to say that there is no negative impact from Canadian diamond mines. It is just that the impact is significantly less than unregulated mines and the people have a voice and are heard when mining activities severely affect their livelihood.
Miners’ rights are governed by the Mine Health and Safety Regulations which seeks to ensure that laborers work in humane conditions and are paid fair wages. Further, the polishing plants outside of Canada to which its diamonds are sent, are either Jeweltree certified facilities or facilities that operate according to the Business Excellence Model standards. This means that they do not employ child laborers, workers are paid fair wages, and they work in a safe environment.
Canada Diamonds – A Class by Itself
Canadian diamonds are generally more expensive. But this is because of the stringent measures they must meet in order to adhere to the regulations governing mining in Canada. Canadian diamonds meet more rigorous regulations that are geared at protecting laborers, not just in Canada, and the environment.
It is good to know that the beautiful diamond that adorns your ring has a pristine past as bright as its current glow.
Mine Health and Safety Regulations, NWT Reg 125-95, <http://canlii.ca/t/52b6t> retrieved on April 18, 2017.
Photographed by lovely @rachelkoll