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March 2008

De Beers Group Managing Director Gareth Penny sat a conference for Rough Diamond Conferences held in Tel Aviv, Israel, questioned whether the diamond industry should continue to rely on the dollar.

“We commenced trade with US dollars 40 years ago,” he said. “Is it time for a change in currency?

Maybe it’s time to recognize the need for a different paradigm.”

He also said that among the biggest problems in the industry is “poor” retail environments, particularly among major chains, that turn off consumers.

“What is imperative is getting to the end user,” he said. “You can blame the debt on the banks, the mining companies, the manufacturers – but the goal is to get to the end user.”

Penny said that one of the biggest drivers in the industry was the new markets that are being opened up in China.

Penny noted that challenges for the industry include the increase in production costs, electrical supply problems in the southern Africa, and the desire by producing countries in Africa to receive added value for the diamonds in their territory. 

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