Bahrain in deal to set up major pearl centre




Bahrain has signed an agreement with a leading global gemological research organisation to create a world-class natural pearl production centre.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Industry and Commerce Ministry, the Economic Development Board (EDB), and Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

It aims at developing the kingdom’s Gemstone and Pearl Testing Laboratory (GPTLB) into a world-class facility for research into the production of natural pearls.

Under the terms of the MoU, each party will contribute to protecting and enhancing Bahrain’s pearling industry, with the aim of developing capacity, research, expertise and technological know-how at the GPTLB, as well as identifying further opportunities for the sector to grow.

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro thanked His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, for his initiative in bringing Bahrain back to its previous status as the world’s pearling centre.

He affirmed that the initiative will benefit the government, Bahrainis and those in the industry.

“By working in partnership with the GIA, the GPTLB will be provided with the facilities and expertise required to capitalise on regional and international trade and investment opportunities in this fast growing sector,” the minister said.

“Historically, pearling was the backbone of our economy, and we want to capitalise on our heritage, combined with world-class techniques and processes, to create a centre of excellence for the industry here in Bahrain,” Transportation Minister and EDB acting chief executive Kamal Ahmed said.

“This partnership will ensure that GPTLB has the tools required to boost Bahrain’s pearl production capacity,” he added.

GIA executive vice-president and chief laboratory and research officer Tom Moses said the institute was honoured to contribute its expertise and research, and to work to build on Bahrain’s history and reputation, as a leading centre for natural pearl research and production.

The agreement builds on Bahrain’s history as a world pearling centre.

The history has been recognised in form of the inscription of the Pearl Road as Bahrain’s second Unesco World Heritage Site, and the 10th site to be awarded this status in the GCC.

The Pearl Road is the result of BD10 million project by the Culture Ministry to renovate one of Bahrain’s oldest neighbourhoods and maintain the artefacts and cultural heritage from the country’s pearl diving industry.

Source: GDN

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