Mining Law Summit

Mining Law Summit 2023 logo

Eighth Annual Mining Law Summit 
November 9, 2023
University of Arizona Law

All that Glitters: The Law of Gems and Gemstones

Sponsored and hosted by The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Global Mining Law Program and the School of Mining and Mineral Resources.


The 2023 Mining Law Summit takes a slightly different tack compared to past summits and looks at law and policy issues surrounding the production, collection and sale of gemstones. This is a little-understood area of the law for mineral lawyers and the backbone may be a combination of individual effort, private arrangements with major mines, or artisanal mining.

This free virtual conference, on Nov. 9, 2023, will combine recorded presentations from internationally recognized authorities with live participation in answering questions and providing commentary.

SCHEDULE (8 a.m.–2 p.m. MST; times approximate)

8–8:06 a.m.             Greeting and Introduction
University of Arizona College of Law Dean Marc Miller will welcome participants and registrants and John Lacy will introduce the topics.

8:06–9:15 a.m.      First Topic: Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum
The museum’s leadership, including Director Violetta Wolf and Curator Susan Leib, PhD, will provide some foundation regarding this year’s theme—gem governance. They will first give a virtual tour of the museum’s collection and content and then explore emergent issues regarding the collection acquisition. This base—viewed through the lens of the museum’s mission and public-facing work, including as a resource for collectors, researchers and industry as well as for various communities—highlights the multiple interdependencies of the legal issues no less relevant to the private and production sectors in the gemstone space. The presenters will look at concepts of responsible sourcing and supply chain transparency in conversation with notions of gemstones and minerals as, for example, antiquities or natural heritage and cultural patrimony.

9:15–9:50 a.m.      Second Topic: Gemstones in Antiquity  
Professor Kray Luxbacher, chair, University of Arizona Department of Mining and Geological Engineering, and John Lacy, director, University of Arizona College of Law Mining Law & Policy Program, will discuss the ancient sources of gemstones (including their representation in both the Hebrew Bible and Christian Bible).

9:50–11 a.m.          Third Topic: Mineral Specimen Mining and Collecting
Peter Megaw, a major gem collector in Tucson, along with his daughter Lauren Megaw, herself a well-known collector, will discuss the issues and practical aspects of gem mining and collection.

11–Noon                  Fourth Topic: Artisanal Mining
Dr. Brad Ross and John Lacy will discuss the legal and practical issues related to the practices of artisanal miners with a focus on Namibia.

Noon–1 p.m.          Lunch Break

1–1:40 p.m.            Fifth Topic: Social Issues
James Hopkins, associate clinical professor, Indigenous Peoples Law Program at the University of Arizona College of Law, will discuss the difficult environmental and social issues related to production and trading of gemstones. Many workers and communities rely on gemstone production for their livelihoods. Efforts to improve labor, human rights and environmental issues in the sector continue and have been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Technological innovations like lab-grown diamonds and gemstones reduce some environmental and social harms while creating new concerns, including loss of livelihoods for artisanal and small-scale miners.

1:40–2 p.m.            Discussion

Download Schedule

Registration is free and open through Nov. 8


Using Zoom, the 2023 Summit format will include:

  • substantive presentations previously recorded;
  • discussion by the organizing committee following each presentation with the presenter(s) who can be available live to respond;
  • registrant-submitted questions via the Zoom chat feature; and
  • a live wrap-up discussion between the registrants, the organizing committee and the available speakers, including any chat questions that have not been addressed.

See you Nov. 9, 2023