Searching for diamonds is not the easiest thing to achieve; great distances are travelled in order for miners to find work. Under the best circumstances, mining is troubled with many dangers. The likelihood of mudslides, collapsing walls, drowning and other accidents for miners searching for diamonds in alluvial deposits is relatively high.

As a means to improve the conditions of informal mines and to bring them in line with the formal  diamond industry, the international mining industry has made some significant decisions. This was first evident with the initiation of Diamond Development Initiative (DDI).

In 2005 the DDI was founded in order to address various problems of informal diamond mining and attempt to bring it into the mainstream diamond industry and the Kimberley Process. DDI’s aim is to create awareness of  the poor living and working environments of the people at the core of the diamond industry, amounting to 1 million diamond diggers. The initiative hopes to convert diamonds from a means for war into a catalyst for economic improvement.

DDI hopes to assist diggers obtain better prices for their stones and progress their lives and communities through educating diggers on the fair market value of stones, creating better access to artisanal mining equipment and lobbying for better labor laws to reduce the exploitation of child laborers in the mining fields.

DDI objectives are as follows:

Government regulation and mining regulation;

Distribution and marketing channels;

Organizational aspects of artisanal production;

Legitimate and transparent distribution channels;

Organization among artisanal miners;

Free and open markets for artisan based mined diamonds.

Education Programmes for Artisanal Miners

DDI International has developed various education programmes that can reduce the gaps in knowledge within the artisanal diamond mining sector, and therefore act as an incentive for social changes. A core education program for miners, operators and intermediaries within a specific country may include the following:

  • Miners’ rights
  • Human Rights Education
  • Geology and basic prospecting techniques
  • Mining and processing
  • The value of diamonds
  • Occupational health, safety and welfare
  • The environmental impact of mining and mitigation
  • Food security as related to the environmental impact
  • Land rehabilitation of previously mined mines for other purposes.
  • Making small scale mining a
  • Social issues
  • HIV and AIDS awareness – (miners discuss ways in which HIV and AIDS is contracted and how it can be avoided)