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Diamond activities in Liberia gears up



Listener staff report

Liberia is making progress with diamond mining reports say since the ban on the precious stones were lifted by the united nations security council five years ago. Under president Charles Taylor Liberia used the mineral in what became known as “blood diamonds.”

According to information, the Liberian government exported 27,772 carats of diamonds during the first 9months of the 2012. According to Rough and Polished, an “information and analytics on diamond and jewellery markets,”  an industry insider, which boasts offices in Russia, the U.S. and Europe. The entire value of the diamonds was roughly $10.4 million.  Liberia which is still recovering from civil war has had its diamond industry banned, with the six years suspension lifted by the United Nations in April of 2007.

The UN security council took off the suspension after it said Liberia had made significant progress under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party led administration in keeping with the Kimberly Process, and that the Liberian government under her leadership had set in place sufficient mechanisms to control the diamond trade. The Kimberly requires national governments to certificate diamonds before the rough stones are traded on the international market. Liberian diamonds were a source of conflict which helped fuel the Liberian war, and bringing destabilization to the sub region of West Africa. Zimbabwe, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Angola, central African Republic, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congo Republic were all accused in the illicit trade.

According to the Israel Diamond Portal, mining for the first three quarters of 2012 plummeted from the “33,831 carats that were approved for export from Liberia between January and September 2011. This drop of about 18% was attributed to a rise in the market price of gold, which drew alluvial miners away from the diamond industry and to inclement weather that inflated fuel prices.”

In a separate development, diamond operations in Liberia recently change hands between two Australian companies. Reports say Narthex Life Sciences bought Golden Saint Liberia.  The companies both trade in “rough diamond and gold resources.”

The deals involved Blocks 71 and 72, situated in Grand Cape Mount County. Together the new holder Narthex Life Science will now control about 504 square kilometer area, said to “contain primary and secondary occurrences of diamond and gold.”

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