Markets: Rocky start

Update: Our readers’ comments on Wonasa

(November 2010) Wonasa is the acronym for the newly launched natural stone world organization presented at this year’s Marmomacc – two years in the making by the „World Natural Stone Association“.

The organization’s chief executives were introduced on the fair’s opening-day press-conference: President is R. Veeramani (India, Gem Granites), Joint Vice Presidents are Antonio José Guidoni (Brazil, Mineração Guidoni), Medhat Mustafa Attia (Egypt, Sinai) and John-Petter Gundersen (Norway, Lundhs). Secretary General is C. Kaliannan (India, Metal Management Services), who also takes on the day to day running of the office, and the Deputy Secretary General Paulo Lucio Florio Giafrov (Brazil, DGG Stones).

Public relations for the stone branch is Wonasa’s main assignment. As President Veeramani expounded in his opening statement, the ecological advantages of stone as compared to other materials is a little known fact as is the awareness of its unique position as the first and foremost building material used by mankind in early civilized cultures. Man did not have to learn to produce stone: „Stone is a gift of God to mankind.“

A later published press-release gives a detailed overview of the themes to be dealt with:

„1 To promote and increase the use of natural stone in the world markets.

2 To educate the stone industry and society of the positive features and advantages of natural stones, a natural green product.

3 To identify the new challenges facing the industry in the globalised, modern world and to develop solutions for facing them.

4 To encourage new Ideas, Technology and exchange of information relevant to the natural stone industry in a mutually, beneficial way.

5 To interact with international organizations and different government authorities, when necessary, with the objective of promoting the natural stone industry and encouraging industry friendly pro active policies.

6. To ensure eco friendly, sustainable mining with full safety standard.“

Wonasa was registered and founded in Chennai and thus is legally subject to Indian law which stipulates that 10 is the minimum required number of founding members. Anyone „who has a passion for natural stone“ is eligible according to Anil Taneja (Spain, Publicaciones Litos), also seated on the podium at the press conference. It was mentioned on the side, that the approval of two members is a required precondition to membership as is the entrance fee of 500 US-$. The yearly membership fee is also 500 US-$.

One of the organization’s statutes stipulates that no one country may comprise more than 25% of members. First step is launching a web site. Some 80 participants were counted at the opening event in Verona.

Wonasa will make it’s first official appearance at the Kamien-Stone-Fair in Poznan on November 10th at 4. p.m. (pavilion 14B, room A) and President Veerami will address participants. Theme of the presentation following the opening speech will be „Why natural stone is the best option“ and „Why demand for natural stone in Poland must grow“ at the end of which a discussion will take place, closing with a cocktail reception.

Functioning secretary and addressee in the preliminary office is C. Kaliannan (Mail), Tel: +91 44 2811 6107, Fax: +91 44 2811 1159.


The birth of Wonasa did have its ups and downs. To begin with, granite producers clearly dominate with but one representative for marble and none for sandstone or slate.

Noteworthy, too, that despite lengthy preparations other trans-national organisations were not even consulted. This was confirmed by the Marble Institute of America (MIA), whose members are not exclusively American, as well as Euroroc, a cooperative effort of European organisations.

This was explained away with the fact that Wonasa-initiators met in many different locations making it all but impossible to meet with other organisations. But it is hoped „that the others come“ (Veeramani).

Our conclusion: every initiative working pro stone industry is meaningful. But because national and trans-national organisations already exist and do as good a job as possible under the circumstances, Wonasa would be well advised to join forces with them rather than pursue new paths.

It is not the job of a global organisation to lecture and point fingers – rather the global organisation must address global themes.

We wish the new Organisation well and good luck.

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