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Indian diamond industry gears up for global campaign with mining cos

Economic Times:  December, 2015

Kolkata: The Indian diamond industry is all action these days. While trial run at the special notified zone in Mumbai has begun already, the trade is readying to hammer out the modalities of an international campaign with mining companies such as Rio Tinto, ALROSA and De Beers for generic promotion of diamonds.

Rio Tinto, De Beers, Dominion Diamond Corp, Petra Diamonds, Gem Diamonds, ALROSA, and Lucara Diamond Corp have formed an alliance to promote diamonds across the globe.

"Rio Tinto diamonds head Jean-Marc Lieberherr has been tasked to prepare the modalities of this promotional campaign. He will be in India on December 20 to hold discussions with all stakeholders," Praveen Shankar Pandya, chairman, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), told ET.

"We will have to figure out the countries where we will first launch the campaign. Our target markets are the US, Korea and China and we will first enter those markets where the economy has picked up. We also have plans to enter Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, but may have to wait for a while due to their currency devaluation. The campaign cost will be borne by all the stakeholders in the industry, and we will request the government to offer financial assistance also," Pandya explained.

The move comes at a time when gem and jewellery exports from India are sliding. While in the first seven months of FY16, overall exports have dropped 12.9 per cent to 1,16,476.5 crore, exports of cut and polished diamonds have fallen 8.6 per cent to 78,795.9 crore.

In volume terms, India has exported 203.5 lakh carats of diamond in the first seven months of FY16, a drop of 4.5 per cent compared with the last fiscal.

The Indian diamond trade is also making an effort to reduce the transaction cost in an effort to remain profitable. "The first trial run at the Mumbai special notified zone (SNZ) has taken place and Rio Tinto participated in it. Other mining majors such as ALROSA and De Beers have booked dates to showcase their diamonds to Indian manufacturers and a formal inauguration by Union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely this month."

Once the 4,500 sq ft Special Notified Zone (SNZ) at Bharat Diamond Bourse becomes operational, it will help miners such as Rio Tinto, Alrosa and De Beers to showcase their rough diamonds and invite bids.

Indian diamond traders, who are facing a slump in sales, will be able to buy directly from these mining companies.