Aug 29, 2018

Colombia to Present ‘Mineral Digital Fingerprint’ Project for Tracking Origin at World Emerald Symposium

The Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy will make a presentation related to its ongoing “Mineral Digital Fingerprint” project at the World Emerald Symposium to be held from 12-14 October in Bogota, Colombia. The US$30 million, five-year project to establish the origins of gemstones has been taken up by the ministry in association with the Colombian Geological Service and the National University.

This project is based on a technique developed in Australia and applied in South Africa as a control mechanism for the commercialization of gold and precious stones, the organisers of the symposium said in a statement.

The Fingerprint (or La Huella) project will provide an understanding of the particular conditions and physical-chemical characteristics that were present at the time of the geological formation of the mineral.

This ‘fingerprint’ or specific geo-chemical DNA can help track each stone at different stages from extraction to refinement and commercialization. It can be used at each of these stages to help determine whether they came from a deposit or if they were recycled.

Infrastructure of the project will include accreditation by a certified laboratory, the construction of a data bank of Mineral Fingerprints, and the generation of a certificate validating the origin of the minerals.

Dr. Arce Zapata, outgoing Minister of Mines says the project “will take Colombian mining to another level” and make it “possible to strengthen the audit process for control in the mining production chain, increase technological capacity in the generation of tools for the identification of the lawful and indisputable origin of minerals, and expand the knowledge and geological cartography of the subsoil”.

Other themes that will be discussed at the Second World Emerald Symposium include geology, mining, responsible sourcing, ethical standards along the supply chain, new technologies applicable to the supply chain, artisanal small-scale mining and formalization, gemmology and gem origins, harmonization of descriptions, proof of origin, as well as marketing/branding and jewellery design.