Diamonds are rare, precious and inherently valuable but their worth is eclipsed by that of the people who work together to bring them safely to the light.

DPA members believe in building long-term partnerships with the people they employ – needing both their support and skills in turning a hard to reach resource into real shared benefits. What diamond producers bring to the partnership is expertise, substantial investment and staying power. The result is often multi-generational careers and benefits through the long life of a mine.

All DPA members share the same approach to employment in their mining operations:

Valuing local people We give priority to local employment, and to employing within the local, indigenous population. We source primarily from local suppliers
Compensating fairly We respect local labour laws and offer competitive wages to our employees, typically significantly higher than within the local labour market
Development through training We train and develop our employees, equipping them with the skills needed to contribute, better their situation and further their career
Prioritising health & safety We put the health and safety of our employees ahead of any other consideration. Safety is a culture and a core value in our operations
Respecting human rights We observe, act and invest in initiatives aimed at protecting human rights, and comply with the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights

Two contractors from Petra’s Finsch mine in South Africa

Number of people worldwide
supported by the
diamond industry
10 million

Jabu Majozi, diamond mining geologist for De Beers

Employing and sourcing locally, but benefitting globally

A medium to large scale diamond mine typically employs directly 1,000 or more people, with a significant proportion – sometimes more than 90% – recruited from the local area and communities. Across the world, DPA members directly employ upwards of 75,000 people (including long term contractors at site), who in turn sustain their families and support the local economy. Estimates vary from between five and ten people benefitting indirectly for every direct employee of a mine.

  • Dominion Diamond employs more notherners and more northern Aboriginal people than any other company in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
  • In Botswana more than 97% of the workforce on the diamond mines are local citizens at Lucara’s Karowe mine and De Beers/Debswana mines.
  • In Namibia 88% of the workforce employed by De Beers/Namdeb are racially disadvantaged Namibians while in South Africa 83.5% of De Beers’ workforce are historically disadvantaged South Africans.
  • 94% of ALROSA’s employees are residents of Yakutia.

Optimising local sourcing and supporting the development of local business is also part of the way that diamond producers ensure that the positive impact of their operations are felt beyond the end of mine life.

  • De Beers supports local business through its preferential procurement strategy spending $1.1 billion with them in 2015, comprising 56% of its total spend.
  • The Tokafala Enterprise Development Programme was launched in 2014 as a partnership between Government, De Beers, Debswana and Anglo American. It aims to support small to medium size enterprises through mentoring, capacity building and access to finance. By end-2015 it had already supported 1600 jobs and grown the revenue of participating enterprises by an average of 60%. A similar programme in South Africa, Zimele, has supported 278 businesses and 2824 jobs in the 6 years since it began.
  • Petra’s Finsch mine in South Africa launched the Kgatelopele Small Business Hub in 2015 to assist entrepreneurs in development of businesses, offering free computer and internet access, business advice and training, assistance with business plan compilation and support with regards to marketing material and other corporate matters.
  • Dominion Diamond spent $276 million in 2014 through aboriginal and northern businesses of which $79 million (28%) was spent on goods and services obtained from Northern aboriginal owned businesses. These included contracts for mining services, explosives and blasting supply, catering, transportation services, janitorial services, freight cargo and transportation services.
  • Since 2000 Diavik mine has spent $4.9 billion with northern Canadian businesses equivalent to 71% of its total spend.  $2.5 billion of this has been with Northern aboriginal businesses and their Joint Ventures.

DPA members reward fairly: with employees working for diamond mines usually earning well in excess of the local average salary.

  • ALROSA employees on average earn three times the average wage level for the Russian Federation and two times that for the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The minimum wage at ALROSA is 70% higher than the statutory minimum wage in the Republic of Sakha.

When considering the impact of the diamond sector on development it is important to also consider the further downstream impact of diamond mining on the whole “diamond ecosystem” and in particular on the large number of people employed cutting and polishing diamonds. The World Diamond Council estimates that the whole industry supports ten million people with five million of them having access to healthcare as a result of diamond industry investment

  • The diamond sector employs nearly one million people across India, according to the Gem Jewellery Export Promotion Council, all dependent on the continued flow of diamonds from diamond mines around the world for their livelihood and that of their families. The benefits are felt broadly with diamond revenues funding schools, health programmes and hospitals.
  • While 9 out of 10 diamonds are cut and polished in India, China, Southern Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka or Armenia also count vibrant diamond cutting communities.

Community Elder from Ekati in Canada


Botswana diamond mines
% of workforce who are
local citizens

Pauline Phologolo business owner supported by Tokafala

Business owner Pauline Phologolo: “The Tokafala Enterprise Development programme as instilled in me a feeling of confidence that I can really do this. It has helped me to translate my academic training into everyday practice and has equipped me with the tools I need to run my business smoothly”.


Total spend by Diavik
with Northern businesses
since 2000
$4.9 billion
(71% of total spend)

Cullinan shift leader

Shift leader, Monica Sentsho, at Petra’s Cullinan mine in South Africa

Building skills through continuous training

As diamond producers source their workforce mostly from local populations with typically low levels of education and little or no prior experience in mining, robust training programmes are a critical part of building and operating a diamond mine. It ensures that operations are run efficiently and safely, and helps build a human capital that will far outlive any mining operation, to the benefits of the mining regions. Trained professionals are then able to seek well compensated jobs in other mines in the region, bettering their lives and that of their families. Training programmes typically cover technical skills required to perform a role, leadership development, and most importantly health and safety, for no employee is allowed to work in a DPA member’s diamond mine until it is assessed that he/she is equipped to keep him/herself and colleagues safe on the job.

  • ALROSA provided an average of 34 hours training per person in 2015. The company actively supports young specialists. In 2015 656 students undertook work placements in ALROSA and 172 were awarded ALROSA scholarships to enter university. They will be hired by the company after graduating.
  • Petra invested $6.7 million in training in 2015 equivalent to 6.8% of the payroll.
  • Between 2012 and 2013 De Beers relocated 80 skilled diamond sorters and sales professionals from the UK to Botswana as part of an accelerated talent development and skills transfer programme to empower local people.
  • Dominion Diamond’s Ekati mine offers apprenticeships to northern residents in the areas of carpentry, millwrighting, plumbing, mobile crane operation, machining, electrical, warehousing and parts, and process control and instrumentation.
  • The Northern Leadership Development Program (NLDP) is sponsored by Aurora College and supported by the Mine Training Society and the Ekati and Diavik mines, as well as the Snap Lake mine prior to 2015.

Recently, women empowerment programmes aimed at increasing diversity and supporting women advancement have been put in place by many DPA members. There are also a number of programmes to support people with disabilities.

  • 23.8% of the De Beers workfoce in 2015 were women, compared with 16% in the mining industry as a whole (source: www.mining.com) The company has a number of programmes to help them attract, develop and retain female talent and in 2015 De Beers Consolidated Mines was named South Africa’s Top Gender Empowered Company (in the resources category)
    in the Standard Bank Top Women Awards.
  • 35% of ALROSA’s workforce are female
  • Petra formed a partnership to support the National Council for
    People with Physical Disabilities in Southern Africa (“NCPPDSA”)
    to create income-generating, self-employment and entrepreneurship
    opportunities for people with disabilities. The partnership has set up a glove-making factory in a specially-restored workshop and provided a minibus to transport the workforce.

Aletia Buck Senior Environmental Scientist

Aletia Bock is a Senior Environmental Scientist working for Debmarine Namibia. She sums up the ethos perfectly: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him and his family for life! Not only did the company sponsor me financially, it also offered me a job after completion of my studies to further develop my career.”

Students gaining valuable work experience at Petra’s Williamson mine in Tanzania

Worker in wheelchair making a glove

A worker at the Ikageng workshop in Kimberley restored by Petra Diamond in partnership with the National Council for People with Physical Disabilities in Southern Africa.

Absolute Priority on Health & Safety

Health & Safety is part of the culture of each member of the DPA, it’s at the centre of everything they do. Their investment in driving a genuine safety culture and implementing robust safety systems within their mines is driven by a “zero harm” objective: the belief that it is possible for everyone to go back home safe and uninjured at the end of every day.

  • De Beers’ Victor Mine won a top Canadian national safety award – the John T Ryan award – for its outstanding safety performance in 2015.
  • Dominion Diamond was presented with the Safe Day Everyday Gold Award by the Association for Mineral Exploration BC for completing the 2014 large scale drilling program at the Ekati Mine with zero recordable injuries.

Every DPA member monitors the safety performance of each of its mining operations. An operation’s safety performance is rigorously measured by the number of injuries and days taken off-work as a result of a safety incident compared with the number of hours worked. In that respect, the performance of DPA members is excellent and comparable to that of any other industrial activity, which is remarkable when considering that mining involves large equipment and ground movements. Importantly, the ability to lead and work safely is central to any employee assessment and critical to their career advancement.

  • De Beers Marine South Africa is responsible for maintaining the Group’ marine mining vessels. While a vessel is in dry dock around 1800 contractors work around the clock so safety is critical. Around 9,000 job safety analyses are carried out during each docking. In 2015 2.25 million hours were worked and there were zero lost time injuries.
  • Employee safety is an absolute priority for ALROSA. Each year the company provides all employees working with potentially dangerous objects training and certification. All employees are insured against workplace accidents and occupational diseases.

Health and safety prevention programmes implemented by DPA members cover a wide range of risks, from fatigue management to occupational illness through to critical fatality risks. Health programmes also include local community support such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria prevention programmes.

  • There were 88,000 community visits to De Beers mine hospitals in Africa in 2015 representing 47% of all visits to the mine hospitals.
  • Approximately 12,000 ALROSA employees have recharged their batteries in healthy retreats. In 2015 ALROSA also funded medical examinations and treatment for 2,200 people in leading medical and scientific institutions.
  • Subsidised primary health care is provided to employees, their dependants and to local communities at Williamson Diamonds Hospital in Tanzania. Additionally the hospital pilots various health programmes in conjunction with the Tanzanian Government and certain NGOs. The programmes include mother and child health, malaria prevention, voluntary counselling and testing (“VCT”) as well as antiretroviral treatment (“ART”) for HIV/AIDS. These services are provided free of charge to employees and their families, as well as community members. The programmes are financially supported by AGPAHI (Ariel Glaser Paediatric AIDS Health care Initiative), with infrastructural and services support from Williamson

Donatus Mukungu portrait

Donatus Mukungu is HSE Manager at Petra’s Williamson mine in Tanzania. “All work exposes an employee to hazards. These hazards can become a cause of an accident, if not well controlled. It is an obligation of Williamson and for me as a custodian, to ensure that every member of Williamson goes home in the same condition that he/she arrived for work.”

Protecting and promoting human rights and responsible practices

DPA members are actively engaged in the promotion of human rights and the management of the social impact of their activities within their operations, within their communities, but also within the industry at large.

Each DPA member has a clear human rights policy that reflects most recent guidelines such as the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights. They support human rights in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and commit to respecting those rights in conducting their activities.

Beyond their own operations, DPA members believe in their responsibility to promote human rights within the broader industry and to be a force for continuous improvement. Many DPA members are actively involved in the Diamonds Development Initiative (DDI) which brings together civil society, governments and industry to promote the rights and opportunities of employees of the artisanal diamond mining sector. DPA members are also driving and supporting global initiatives aimed at ensuring that consumers can be confident that the diamond they buy is legitimate and has made a positive contribution. These include the Kimberley Process Certification Mechanism that controls the trade of conflict diamonds, or the Responsible Jewellery Council that sets standards by which the industry operates. Beyond this, some members implement their own set of standards which they expect their customers and partners to comply with. This is the case with the De Beers’ Best Practice Principles (BPP) programme which for ten continuous years has set robust ethical, social and business standards and today covers some 320,000 people around the world.

Cover of UN publication Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Link to The UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights