Antwerp Welcomes DRC Minister of Mines

Antwerp, led by umbrella organization AWDC, yesterday welcomed the new minister of mines of the Democratic Republic Congo, Mrs Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi and the General Directors of the Ministry’s two main diamond institutes, the CEEC and SAEMAPE, on a working visit to Antwerp
Antwerp Welcomes DRC Minister of Mines

The delegation was welcomed first by the AWDC leadership, before embarking on an extensive tour of the district. The minister and her entourage witnessed the import and export procedures at the pinnacle of the world’s largest trade hub, the Diamond Office, visited the HRD Antwerp grading lab and received an extensive tour behind the scenes of HB Antwerp.

During a meet and greet with several stakeholders active in the DRC, AWDC renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with the CEEC, the Centre for Expertise and Evaluation of Precious Minerals of the DRC. “After the visit of DRC President, Felix Tshisekedi, in 2019, direct imports of DRC rough in Antwerp jumped from 27% of DRC’s total exported volume in 2019, to 51,5% in 2020. Renewing this MoU will allow us to continue this collaboration, including capacity building in the DRC, and facilitating sales of the country’s rough diamonds via Antwerp.”, AWDC President Chaim Pluczenik commented, during a closing dinner attended by Antwerp Governor, Mrs Cathy Berx and Alderman for diamonds, Peter Wouters.

A second MoU, concluded between the AWDC, the CEEC and SAEMAPE, the governmental institute charged with streamlining the DRC’s Artisanal and Small-scale Mining operations (ASM), outlines the fundamentals of a “mine-to-market” pilot program, to set up a blueprint for a digitally enabled, fully transparent value chain for small-scale and artisanal, responsibly mined diamonds, to be developed over the course of the next years in the DRC. Mrs N’Samba Kalambayi, the first female mining minister of the country, welcomed the initiative, remarking that the DRC is the world’s largest producer of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mined diamonds. “Formalization, transparency and value addition for DRC’s mining communities, is a primary objective of the DRC government and the ministry of mines in particular”, she said.

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