Crime in the African Mining Sector

Africa's mineral industry is amongst the largest of the existent mineral industries as found in the global arena, with the entitys scale (the 2nd largest continent) implying the existent of huge quantities of resource raw materials. Mineral exploration, production, and other affiliated services do constitute fundamental facets of many African economies, hence remaining crucial to their economic growth. By being richly endowed in various forms of vast mineral reserves, Africa indeed does profit from various resources, with gold mining still being the continents core mineral resource. South Africa provides a symbolic example of the power, effects and influences of the mining industry with reference to the existent social contexts. As such, there is a dual co-existence of the legitimate government-sanctioned and hence monitored global trade, vis-a-vis the thriving black market, which is supported and influenced by the existing social contexts.

This report provides various contexts in which crime and criminal activities affect the mining sector in general, with focus being on the diamond industrial mineral sector as well as the various existing influences on proposed security strategies. South Africas global percentage output is indeed crucial towards stabilizing the economic sector, with reference to mineral sale and production. Consequently, varying crime prevention measures are in use with reference to identifying the core forms of crime and criminal activity exposures. This is in consideration of existing socially rooted, offender typologies/ motivations, which may be in the form of either internal or external compromise. This is to say that in such case scenarios, both internal and external criminal activities do affect overall output as well as result in market price fluctuations.

Usually, this is by way of influence from the existing mineral resources black-market (unofficial) arena, which is majorly entrenched in this minerals reach region. While focus will be on the larger entity De Beers Inc. that is located in South Africa, it should be noted that Southern States in Africa are indeed amongst the biggest producers of diamonds, and hence the continued need for implementation of sound strategies. According to Moorthy et al., criminal law is indeed dispensed with respect to the aforementioned arena, focusing more on the elements of deterrence, rehabilitation and restoration, with incapacitation and retribution being elements of last resolve. Of critical importance are the two core aspects of Actus Reus and Mens rea, both of which provide a focal point in understanding crime and criminal behavior.

The former pertains to the physical criminal act/ activity, with the latter pertaining to the thought process with the intention of engaging in such an action. As McAlhone portends in relation to crime and criminal activities, fatal and non-fatal offenses, homicide, sexual, participatory and property offenses are amongst some of the resultant social ills related to the existent social contexts. With respect to the latter, there is the presence of three facets, i.e. robbery, burglary, and criminal damage (which pertains to espionage and sabotage). With respect to the diamond-mining sector, all the above forms are applicable in different measures and according to the type of security strategy implemented. The Kimberley Process and its implementation does provide a significant first step towards aiding in the strengthening of the existent internal controls with respect to producing countries.

It is through enhanced control that mineral output is best monitored by way of government involvement, amongst other pertinent stakeholders. As espoused in the Moscow Declaration of 2005, there is increased acknowledgment of for the need of formal regulation, economic security, as well as sustainable development, as being critical towards mitigating the existing minerals black market. Artisanal and small-scale miners, especially with reference to the diamond sector, are indeed responsible for the large-scale unofficial possession and trade of rough diamonds, which as such need to be included in various existing legitimate chains of custody. Because of the above trade operations outside a states formal economy, escaping internal controls as provided in the aforementioned process does require some form of intervention and strategic control. Internal controls, when improved, aid in ensuring that only those minerals (rough diamonds) are both produced and traded.

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This is in accordance with the existing Kimberley Process Certification Scheme as well as various formulated national legislations, hence ensuring that only legitimate products do penetrate the existing global market arena. As aforementioned, crime and criminal activities perpetrated in this sector are carried either internally or externally. Internally, burglaries are common, at times affiliated closely with external aid through robberies. At times, non-fatal offences such as injuries, in addition to sexual offences and homicides, may result from prolonged and gradual pressure, due to the conduct of such criminal activities. This is on the side of not only the criminal entrepreneurs, miners and corrupt officials, but also on other stakeholders such as fellow clean workers and the general surrounding society at large.

Related to the above would be the aspects of permissions and causation, complicity, inchoate and dishonest offences, as well as excusatory defenses. This is in respect to staff that being compromised, who are unable to explicitly explain their role in such criminal activities. This is due to inherent fears of reprisal, blame-making, ignorance or threats present, leaving innocent staff at times with little if any option but to be accomplices in such activities. Externally, extreme competitiveness may result in grave consequences such as deaths and injuries as well as wide-scale and costly damage/ destruction of property. This may be achieved by way of economic sabotage and espionage, with the intention of initiating negatively impacting consequences on a given competitor. With reference to the aforementioned entity, the above are potentially influential, hence shaping market output and pricing.

De Beers Inc., being a group of entities dominant in the diamond industry with controlling stakes in diamond mining and trading, diamond hops as well as the crucial industrial diamond manufacturing sector, is actively involved in majorly all categories of diamond mining. Diamonds are hence procured by way of open pit, large-scale alluvial, deep sea, coastal and underground mining methods, with this providing a rough understanding of the potential areas of crime and criminal activities taking place. Adding to that is the fact that the entity as the dominant player in this sector holds a monopolistic hold, dating back from its founding by way of merger between two companies, Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato. With such being a practice throughout the 20th century, many potential enemies were made.

This is resultant from the entitys utility of its dominant position as a manipulative pivot, with regard to the global diamond market output and capacity. One should also note its utility of various means towards exercising overall control of this market, providing ample reasons for various individuals and stakeholders to repay by way of criminal activities and acts. However, with the recent change in trend by producers based in Australia, Russia and Canada of shifting their distribution of diamonds outside the entitys official channel in addition to the entitys association with blood diamonds has resulted in the firm safeguarding of its greater public image. Blood diamonds, as mentioned before, are majorly procured by way of criminal activities, thus portending to a conflicting organizational goal-mission/ aim.

Accordingly, Bernasco portends to the fact that many offenders do organize their criminality around/ near their neighborhoods, with the crime pattern theory displaying this claim, because criminals operate best in environments they are familiar with. In regards to our case study, though great strides have been made towards more oversight, involvement and scrutiny, this criminality is entrenched from eras past, involving a chain-link of individuals from the miners up to the selling point. As such, both currently prevailing and past differential influences and contexts do affect contemporary choices of target arenas. The diamond mineral industry is hugely profitable and hence lucrative enough to influence generations of individuals, their differences notwithstanding.

Organized crime does operate in illegal markets-arenas, which are regulated by prevailing criminal economic groups, usually conducting extortionist activities, provides optimal arenas for the concealment of their illegal activities. Most important is the ability to keep these activities as well as valuable items, machinery and tools utilized, hidden from public viewership. With neither written contracts nor legal agreements, prevailing internal systems tasked with amongst others: - funding and resolving conflicts etc, within such criminal organizations, provide the criminal underground with their codes of conduct, arbitrage, regulations and rules. Consequently, it is easy for organized crime to run an economy (black market) parallel to the existing legitimate economy through taking advantage of prevailing social contexts.

With reference to the above, the prevailing cases of diamond-related crimes are either locally based or transnational in nature, with our case being focused on complex smuggling schemes of this rare gem to its final destination in Antwerp, the diamond-capital of the world, various criminal organizations are involved in illicit diamond activities. De Beers as well as various organizations present, have through time contributed to raising the overall value of a diamond, with their active participation in anti-conflict diamond campaigns. These have been programs aimed at encouraging the greater clean-up of the diamond market arena, with the above move also being relevant to existing organized crime by way of both continuing and promoting the glory and myths surrounding diamonds. This has inadvertently affected and generally influenced both the legal and illegal diamond market arenas.

To be noted is the aspect of a thin, yet critical link between legal and illegal activities within the larger diamond market. This is brought about by large-scale, transnational organized criminal groups operating in the black-market underworld, stretching from the mines themselves throughout the chain and eventually into the lucrative market arena. With the Antwerp market arena being confronted gradually since the early 1990s by organized criminal groups staking their interests/ claims in the diamonds market, the smuggling of this pure gem has gradually risen. Due to the very publicly known notion that blood diamonds do play an integral role in financing not only civil wars, but also the inherently consequential results of exploitation and abuse, there has been concerted efforts in stemming the tide, with focus being on enhancing greater legitimacy through enhanced transparency and cooperation.

The above is crucial, because smuggling of minerals is often accompanied with other criminal activities, i.e. money laundering, fraud, and organized (and often violent) robberies, amongst other forms of smuggling. Greater global cooperation is required. This is not only focused on stemming the tide against illicit trade of gems, but also on mitigating the existing social contexts, which often prove to being catalysts for such illegal trade. Once diamonds are able to reach Antwerp, their sale is indistinguishable, in the majority of cases, with reference to either their legality or illegality. Because organized crime has been able to penetrate Antwerps most secure place, namely the Diamond Quarter, it is hence a big challenge, with reference to stemming the overall smuggling of diamonds. Due to the fact that smuggling of diamonds, especially conflict/blood diamonds, is majorly based on existing social contexts, it is hence critical to also focus on this aspect.

As Holllinger portends, not only is the existent criminal underworld responsible for current affairs, as existing with reference to diamond mining, but also staff/ employees who are dishonest, thieves, or both. While many organizations often do take preventative measures, fraud and fraudulent cases are often inevitable, especially if specific contexts are existent towards catalyzing this form of activities. As such, an entitys staff may perceive themselves as being poorly paid, or working in poor conditions, or are even dissatisfied with their jobs, in addition to engaging in unethical/ immoral work practices or even being tolerant to petty fraud or crime, with all these aiding in the conduct of illegal activities. Additionally is the present existence of increased financial problems of both the greater public and individuals.

While investigations are often costly, the firms capacity notwithstanding, experts do agree on the need for external expertise as well as internal control measures. As such, criminal activities, i.e. deception and fraud theft, burglaries and robberies, property damage and violent crime, do occur due to the greater presence of various exploitable opportunities. To this effect, a greater dynamic shift with respect to the above as well as the aspect of corruption would majorly aid in instilling intolerance as well as active employee participation in preventing such activities. Though this is achievable through various channels, as exemplified by internal controls existent within a firm-entity, there is also a need to focus on the greater contexts, which inadvertently influence, effect, enhance and preserve various criminal activities.

Internal controls, designed with the aim of reducing opportunities for crime and criminal activities, are effective in curtailing resultant cases of criminality. As such, physical measures, accounting procedures, separation of duties, supervision and authorization are amongst core measures critical towards reducing the instances of criminality. Additionally, there is the aspect of screening, where entities are able to identify, confirm and address issues related to employee identity, address, credit/ bankability and character, in addition to employee history, qualification, and professional association. Of crucial importance is also managements enhanced outlook for red flags, which often provide vivid indicators of potential risks. Through various tests, such as integrity and accountability tests, negative social ills, i.e. corruption, fraud and general criminality, can also be mitigated, with their effects being manageable.

As Elliot  portends, not only individual firms, but also the existent governments are supposed to recognize and formulate preventative measures, with reference to crimes against legitimate businesses. This is educated by the fact that criminal activity does not auger well with legitimacy, as well as transparency, with respect to business conduct. This is a view that is also held by the British Chamber of Commerce, which holds that there should be an enhanced partnership between both the private sector and prevailing governments, with reference to business/ economic crime. The Chamber portrays a very alarming situation, where criminality continues rising rapidly, the net effects being distorted by market pricing indices, enhanced corruption, as well as other negatively impacting social contexts.

Due to the fact that criminality against economic output/ business does cause economic growth reduction and/ or stunting, there is a need to enhance greater vigilance, as businesses thrive in the areas of growth, hence creating much needed jobs as well as contributing to overall national growth and development. He also focuses on the unique aspect of business entities not reporting the detected forms of criminality, due to a number of reasons such as relatively little damage or loss, maintenance of the companys image and brand-name, time, man-power and resource-consumption, in addition to a lack of trust and confidence in police responses, investigations, and timely prosecution. With both the costs and impacts of criminality majorly influencing global trade and commerce, various preventative measures should be put in place.

Crime and criminal activities do have fundamental influences on employee morale and recruitment, firm operations, investment ventures and insurance covers (costs) as well as enterprise location, amongst others. The general impacts of crime are not only felt by the affected entity, but also by the prevailing societies, the existent national governments, as well as the greater global society. Localized opinions and perspectives, with respect to offender typologies/ motivations, are indeed crucial, especially towards understanding why criminality and criminal activities take place. With a variety of ways towards reducing crime, organizations such as the aforementioned mining giant, should formulate various initiatives and measures, which involve surrounding societies/ communities.

According to Matthews, protective factors are crucial, towards mitigating existing risk, by way of utilizing various risk-factor approaches, about crime prevention. Consequently, has been the need of attempting to identify various factors, which negate or reduce resultant impacts of the prevailing risk factors. With such protective factors being enhanced, a sort of resilience is established, with focus being on the greater mitigation and reduction of criminality. There hence is a greater need to establish the aforementioned protective factors, through various measures, especially with regard to the mining industry. This may be through increased community development and participation in the reduction of crime, better public-private partnership, good working conditions, as well as better payment/ wages.

With existing evidence, firms such as the one discussed in this reports case study are able to better formulate, instill and implement various measures aimed at curbing the rising cases of diamond smuggling. Exposure to varying contexts fundamentally influences not only groups carrying out criminal activities, but also individuals as well as their relations/ families. As such, there is a prevailing co-relation between existing risk factors, and resultant acts of criminality. A predictor of this social ill/ vice would be strained labor relations between employees (miners, white-collar employees etc) and the firms top management, with respect to employee job satisfaction, complicity, greater involvement and participation. With the above being put into consideration, can an entity be able to effectively manage its affairs, in the most transparent and legally acceptable means possible.

In conclusion, the case example is indeed privileged to have been in existence for a long period, through which various challenges and effects have resulted in better understanding, control and enhancement of the diamond mineral sector. Though accused of monopolistic tendencies, as well as practices, the entity continues to strive towards providing better job security, minimum wages, conducive working environments, as well as streamlined procedural measures about diamond mining, handling, distribution and sale. To this effect is the need for stricter observance of the earlier aforementioned Kimberley Process, which necessitated the entitys change of business operations, with regard to halting its procurement of diamonds outside its official channels. This is towards guaranteeing that its products are indeed in the threshold of conflict-free status diamonds.

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