Trafficking in Gold and Precious Stones
By Dialogo January 01, 2010SINCE THE DAWN OF MAN ON THIS PLANET THERE HAS BEEN TRAFFICKING OF ALL SORTS. MANKIND IS CHARACTERIZED BY HIS AMBITION IN EVERYTHING HE DOES OR TOUCHES IN ORDER TO ENRICH HIMSELF AND WITHOUT CARING WHO LIVES OR DIES. TO SUM UP WE ARE A PLANET OF MALIGNANT BEINGS WHO ONLY LOOK OUT FOR OUR OWN INTERESTS WITHOUT CARING IF THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THAT ARE DYING OF HUNGER OR THIRST. IT IS VERY PAINFUL THAT THIS IS HAPPENING IN THE CENTURY WE ARE IN BUT THAT IS HOW IT IS AS SORRY AS IT MAY BE OK? IT IS HORRIBLE FOR ME TO SEE ON A DAILY BASIS HOW YOUNG CHILDREN DIE AND ALSO ARE USED AS SOLDIERS IN DIFFERENT WARS AND ARE MADE TO WORK AS SLAVES IN EVERY TYPE OF JOB POSSIBLE BECAUSE EVEN IN THIS CENTURY WE LIVE IN CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS 5 YEARS OF AGE ARE EXPLOITED. DEAR GOD WHAT A SHAME! WELL, I STILL HAVE HOPE THAT MANKIND WILL CHANGE AND THE WORLD WILL BECOME A BETTER PLACE SO WE CAN LIVE A FEW YEARS IN PEACE AND TRANQUILITY OR AT LEAST THAT IS MY WISH OK? A BIG HUG TO HUMANITY AND NOW I LEAVE WITH MY INSEPARABLE FRIEND MAFALDA OK? MAY GOD BLESS THIS PLANET CALLED EARTH!! SIGNED MACHACA2010 I would like to receive your articles or website so I can consult the primary sources that you used to write this article.
Best regards Very interesting I loved it. Very complete thank you, too bad this is the sad reality and it would be excellent if a way were found to fight against all that violence created by greed.
Trafficking in gold and precious stones such as emeralds and uncut diamonds is one of the main sources of revenue for organized crime groups, warlords and insurgent groups, according to an International Crime Threat Assessment issued by the U.S. government in 2000.
The price of gold on the world market rose 235 percent between 2001 and 2008, reaching a high of more than $1,000 an ounce, National Geographic reported. The increase generated a 21st century gold rush that has lured poor migrant miners to clandestine mines in small frontier towns. The report said the world’s richest deposits are quickly being depleted and new discoveries are becoming rare.
Precious emeralds, unlike diamonds, are normally not considered “conflict” gemstones — jewels that help fund the illegal purchase of weapons. The emerald trade has, however, been linked to illegal drug trafficking and paramilitary groups in Colombia.
Smuggling of conflict diamonds is rampant, according to newscientist.com. Diamond smuggling intensifies violence and instability in diamond-producing regions such as South America and Africa, fueling civil wars, child labor and displaced local populations. It also reduces the amount of money flowing back into diamond-producing communities, depriving the government of tax revenues needed for basic services.
Peru is the world’s fifth largest gold producer; the precious metal is its top export. Clandestine gold mines represent prosperity for local miners who work under perilous conditions and get paid with a small portion of the gold they find, National Geographic reported. Mine landlords get rich on this type of indentured servitude.
In Colombia, drug lords expand their money laundering through associations with emerald mine owners and traders, hoping to gain access to rivers on the mine properties to use for drug and arms trafficking.
Brazil’s rich diamond mines are located on the reservation of one of the country’s indigenous tribes. Mining these lands is illegal, but a black market has existed since the late 1990s, leading to rising violence between the miners and the indigenous tribes. More than a billion dollars worth of diamonds was extracted in recent years, according to a Frontline/World report in 2006.
Diamonds.net reported in 2008 that Venezuela mined an estimated 150,000 carats of diamonds annually, but the country had not officially reported exports since January 2005. Instead, smugglers continued to route the country’s rough diamonds through Brazil, Guyana, Hong Kong, the United States and Belgium. The country, under attack from nongovernmental organizations for allowing trafficking in unregulated diamonds to evade domestic export taxes, suspended itself from the legitimate diamond market for two years.
Smugglers buy gold with drug money and have jewelers rework the precious metal into everyday objects such as belt buckles, tools and other hardware. The disguised gold is sent to Colombia and sold on the black market for cash. This money laundering cycle allows drug dealers to buy and sell more drugs.
Conflict diamonds are mined through forced labor and sold directly on the black market, according to geology.com. Smugglers also obtain diamonds by seizing commercial shipments or attacking the mining operations of legitimate producers.
In 2000, an emerald tracing system was introduced worldwide for identifying and certifying a stone’s mining origin. The procedure prompted gem-control initiatives in Colombia that have helped the country successfully regulate its lucrative emerald industry.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, established by the United Nations in 2003, is designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds to prevent them from entering the mainstream market. The process was established to prevent rebel groups from being financed by diamond sales and to assure consumers their purchases were not supporting war and human rights abuse.