Mining and Diamonds

Diamonds were first discovered in Sierra Leone in 1930.

In July 1999, following over eight years of civil conflict, negotiations between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front led to the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement under which the parties agreed to the cessation of hostilities, disarmament of all combatants and the formation of a government of national unity.

Following international concern at the role played by the illicit diamond trade in fuelling conflict in Sierra Leone, the Security Council adopted resolution 1306 on 5 July 2000 imposing a ban on the direct or indirect import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone not controlled by the Government of Sierra Leone through a Certificate of Origin regime.

The Kimberley Process Certification System was formally adopted in 2003 and guards against conflict diamonds entering the legitimate diamond supply chain. Today 74 governments have enshrined into their national law the Kimberley Process Certification System.

Koidu Holdings, wholly owned by BSG Resources Limited, operates the Koidu Kimberlite Project in the Kono District, under a 25-year mining lease agreement. The company also has an exploration licence for the Tongo Diamond Field. The company also holds two alluvial diamond Exploration Licences on the Sewa River and another in an area away from the present main drainage systems, the Matemu Exploration Licence.

The Kono area of Sierra Leone is renowned for the quality of diamonds produced. The 970-carat Star of Sierra Leone was recovered from this area and regular discoveries of 100-carat plus diamonds are made. It is estimated that total diamond production from the Kono area is in excess of 9 million carats.

The Tongo dykes have reported grades of up to 300 carats per hundred tons and diamond values of $175 per carat.

Stellar Diamonds is a diamond production and development company that was formed from the merger of Stellar Diamonds Limited and West African Diamonds plc. Stellar owns rights over two high-grade kimberlites in Sierra Leone.

Paragon Diamonds Limited plans to continue production from its established operating Konoma Diamond mine in Sierra Leone. Paragon’s licences cover a combined total area of over 162 km2 in Sierra Leone, where an indicated and inferred resource of 119,000 carats of diamonds has been estimated.
 
(Picture 1: Mine in Kono district, www.landcoalition.org, Picture 2: Mining diamonds, www.coolpicturegallery.net)


(1) CIA World Fact Book, Country Profile, Sierra Leone

(2) Paul Richards, Fighting for the Rainforest

(3) BBC, Country Profile, Sierra Leone  

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