Diamond Industry Annual Review: Sierra Leone 2006

Esther Kamara

01 Feb 2006

12pages PDF

"That has been the historical problem of the industry. Largely of an alluvial nature, its very high unit value, the ease with which it can be mined — without need for sophisticated processing and transport facilities — its immense attraction to smugglers and other criminal predators, the diamond industry in Sierra Leone is extraordinarily difficult to manage and control. Indeed it was these very factors that made the country so vulnerable to instability. But government officials are right to claim that they have made progress in expanding the licit sector. By end of the war, there were fewer than 100 mining licenses; today the number is close to 2,400. And the steady increase in official exports clearly indicates at the very least an improvement in management and control. But the problem is not just illegal mining and smuggling. There is the issue of pricing. The pre-export trade in diamonds – that is, marketing within Sierra Leone – is notoriously confusing and opaque."