Background Paper on Micro Development Issues

Ian Smillie

01 Aug 2005

10pages PDF

"A huge number of people, mostly young men, work in the alluvial diamond fields of Africa. In Sierra Leone there may be as many as 120,000. In the Congo, the government estimates 700,000. In Angola, despite the recent expulsions of illicit Congolese diggers, there may still be 150,000. Taken together with diggers in Guinea, Ghana and elsewhere, there are probably a million African artisanal alluvial diamond diggers. There are perhaps another 200,000 in Brazil. The number of artisanal alluvial diamond miners can be placed conservatively at a million; it may actually be half again as high. As in other types of mining, there are more people involved in informal diamond mining than there are in the formal sector."