IS SUCH DEVASTATION TO OUR EARTH WORTH ALL OF THIS FOR THE SAKE OF VANITY?
Consumers are led to believe that there is a certain romance in wearing a diamond that has grown in the belly of the Earth for millions of years, particularly “ethical” Canadian diamonds which are sold with a higher price-tag for that reason. Retailers and suppliers claim that Canadian diamonds are ethically sourced, will advocate the CanadaMark and are free from all conflict. However, given the destructive nature of mining, including gold and diamonds, we would strongly disagree that Canadian diamonds are completely ethical and certainly not conflict-free. Here, we want to talk about the truth about Canadian diamonds and what you should know before you make the purchase for an ethical diamond.
TRUTHS ABOUT CANADIAN DIAMONDS AND DIAMOND MINING
There’s no romance in a stone that has been pulled from the Earth causing irreversible damage to delicate eco-systems and environments or with potential human harm.
It’s a contradiction. Any gift of love from the heart should not result in such irreversible damage. Canadian diamonds are not an ethical choice.
The majority of people who look at diamonds on an aesthetic level are usually oblivious to how diamonds are mined, what diamond mines look like and what types of diamond mines exist.
Undoubtedly, without diamond mining there would be no diamonds. So for those of us who enjoy wearing such gems, we should at least know some basic facts about how diamonds are mined in order to increase our awareness about how these practices affect our Earth.
The 3 standard types of diamond mining include open pit mining, hard-rock mining and alluvial mining. There’s also marine diamond mining which is extremely damaging, since eco-systems that haven’t even been fully understood are being destroyed.
Each year, over 150 million carats of diamonds are extracted from the Earth through mining. To do so, enormous amounts of soil needs to be removed and processed.
The diamond industry would like consumers to believe that the benefits of formal (regulated) mining far out way the environmental impact, however, the truth is that mining is catastrophic to eco-systems, the environment and its indigenous people.
- 250 tons of earth has to be extracted to find a 1.0ct rough diamond and consumer demand for larger diamonds is on the rise. Average engagement ring diamond size in 1920 was 0.30ct. Today that has risen to per 1.25ct.
- So called “conflict-free” and ethical Canadian diamond mines are located in areas with environmentally fragile ecosystems, have significant ecological footprints, and will significantly impact upon the caribou, wolverine, bears, ptarmigan and fish which provide food for Aboriginal people. Therefore, they cannot be classed as conflict-free or ethically sourced in the truest sense.
- 20 tons of mined waste is produced to make one gold ring to hold that diamond. The earth mined ore is mixed with Cyanide, a known toxic poison, to dissolve the gold or silver from the ore, making the land and waterways around the mining area poisoned.
- Gold and diamond mining create extreme environmental damage including logging and removing hundreds of tons of earth to mine a 1.0ct diamond, however, there is also the contamination resulting from leakage of chemicals also affect the health of the local population. Mining companies in some countries are required to follow environmental and rehabilitation codes, ensuring the area mined is returned to CLOSE to its original state (but how can you fill in an open-pit diamond mine or gold mine that is 2.5 miles in depth – that’s 10 Empire State Buildings?).
- Some areas have no regulations at all. That is why we feel it is so important that the definition of a conflict diamond is redefined to include the protection of the environment. You may have been led to believe that “ethical” Canadian diamonds are conflict free, however, the federal, provincial and territorial regulatory frameworks in Canada are inadequate to protect the environment from long term and cumulative environmental effects.
CASE STUDY OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE VICTOR MINE – CANADA
Water Impacts from Victor Mine for Canadian Diamonds
- 100,000 cubic metres of salty water will be pumped out of the pit each day into the Attawapiskat River. This is equivalent to 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools per day or 14,600 per year.
- The flow of the Nayshkatooyaow River will be decreased by at least 15%.
- A 2.6 kilometer stretch of South Granny Creek will be “moved.”
- 1.2 million cubic metres of muskeg, including trees and other plants, will be removed. This is vital for the livelihood of Caribou and other grazing animals.
- River crossings may lead to siltation of rivers and creeks and impact water quality.
- Fish populations such as lake sturgeon, brook trout, walleye and whitefish may be harmed by the changes in water flow and water quality. Water fleas or Daphnia that feed the fish are being poisoned thus making if impossible for fish to feed and so they too diminish. The start of the food chain leads to catastrophic results further up. Animals like Grizzly Bears are declining because they are now a more serious threat due to hunger and so are being killed in ever higher numbers.
- Methyl mercury may be released by the dewatering of the muskeg.
Land Impacts from Victor Mine for Canadian Diamonds:
- 2.5 million tons of rock would be processed (piled, crushed and dumped) each year.
- 28.7 million tons of rock would have been dug from the ground over the life of the mine and dumped in the surrounding area.
- The waste rock may leach chemicals, such as acids, into the surrounding water.
- The mine would sit on top of a nationally significant geological feature called a karst, which has been described as the “best developed and most extensive karst topography in Ontario.”
Wildlife Impacts of Victor Mine for Canadian Diamonds:
- The area of the proposed mine and its associated infrastructure provides critical habitat for woodland caribou, a threatened species. Woodland caribou are extremely sensitive to industrial activity and usually disappear from areas where it occurs. After the Victor mine closes and the site is re-vegetated, studies say that an “excellent habitat for moose” (shrubs and young forest) will be created, which means that the habitat and vegetation that previously supported caribou (older forest and bogs) will be diminished. This may result in the local extinction of caribou.
- The water table would be affected for up to 260,000 hectares surrounding the Victor mine. This would dry out muskeg, change the vegetation of the area and reduce the abundance of lichens, a key food for caribou.
- The noise of the explosives used to construct the mine and from pit operations combined with trucks bringing supplies and materials to and from the Victor mine site (60 trucks per day) would negatively impact wildlife behavior.
- Easier motorized access (better and more roads) to and in the region will increase hunting pressure on game species.
- Habitat for migratory birds will also be affected.
A report released by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s (CPAWS) Wildlands League has alleged that neither De Beers nor the national government monitored mercury risks from the Victor Diamond mine in northern Ontario. The study titled “Nothing to See Here” is the result of an investigation carried out by the environmental group for 18 months and calls for environmental monitoring of the Victor mine. The investigation found failures in self-monitoring and increased concerns about entrusting the company to protect the environment in which it operates. CPAWS Wildlands League policy and research director Trevor Hesselink said: “De Beers has failed to report on five out of nine surface water monitoring stations, a mandatory requirement of its permit, for the last seven years. “To compound matters, it is the downstream mercury samples that are not being reported.”
De Beers denied the allegations and stated that its environmental data is often misrepresented. De Beers spokesperson Tom Ormsby told CBC News that the company collects data from 200 ground wells and 15 surface wells and submits it to the government. Ormsby said: “Some sample sites that were relevant in the past may no longer be the most relevant or material now as the mine moved from construction to operations.” The Victor mine opened in 2008 and has an expected operations life of ten years.
Production officially ceased from May 2019. The news came 10 years and 10 months after the Victor mine was officially opened in July 2008.
THE ETHICA DIAMOND IS THE 21ST CENTURY CHOICE FOR 21ST CENTURY PEOPLE
Contrary to mining, no water or air pollution results from the production of CVD laboratory created diamonds. There are no devastated ecosystems associated with it, nor or substantial amounts of water, hazardous chemicals or any other environmentally dangerous substances or processes, so the carbon footprint is negligible. The same cannot be said for HPHT lab grown diamonds, since the energy required to create them is so vast, but CVD methods use a fraction of the energy.
Our Ethica Diamond is an exceptional stone that is grown in a lab and the toughness, longevity, brilliance and independent grading which exactly matches that of pure diamonds. Every stone is consistently VVS1 in clarity, E in colour, and Ideal cut, or Hearts and Arrows cut in the case of round brilliants, which is the best cut available.
These exceptional ethical diamonds have been created by a leading university who are market leaders in gemstone science, combining the latest technology together with the least impact on the environment. It is also independently certified by the GRI, a trusted global research institute and each stone is laser marked for identification and verification purposes. The certificates that we provide are also a trusted means of insuring any piece of our jewellery.
Each ethical Ethica Diamond is grown under strict conditions and is cut and fully faceted to exact diamond proportions, giving it incredible depth and realism. This stone truly radiates the same sparkle and brilliance as the most expensive earth mined diamonds and are made to last forever.
Since the creation of our Ethica Diamond is not tied to the diamond industry, and unlike mined diamonds, including Canadian diamonds, they are independently priced based on the cost of production and research & development, rather than being artificially inflated. Therefore, we are able to bring them to the customer at a fair price and know that they are truly ethical diamonds.