Monday, February 7, 2011

Diamond exports increase by 28% in 2010

A senior official of the Ministry of Mineral Resources Sierra Leone’s has disclosed that diamond export figures have shown “a slight increase of 28% for 2010 as compared to 2009 which (showed) a low export figure of 79 million dollars while in 2010 the export (figure) was about 109 million dollars.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview with our senior correspondent the Ministry official said “much has not been yielded for the past years as compared to 2007 export (figures) which was 142 million dollars (although) it was much higher in 2005 which was about 143 million dollars.”

The reason for this he said is “the slow export and cost due to the world recession in prices per carat for diamonds which dropped” significantly. Furthermore he said “there has been a considerable cut down in artisanal diamond mining in Sierra Leone because surface mining does not yield much any longer unlike before.”

Despite these constraints suffered by the artisanal miners “diamond license owners continue to invest and many of the investors are Lebanese,” with “about 5% of investors coming from Europe and Asia.” He urged that if government must derive any substantial returns from its diamonds then investors must get into deep mining as deep mining investors like Koidu Holdings company contribute about 25 to 26% of all diamond exports while the rest is from artisanal and export license owners.

The senior official also revealed that since 2000 and after 11 years of rebel war with the help of the Kimberly process by 2010 Sierra Leone had exported four million nine hundred and thirty five thousand, five hundred and seventy two point one eight carats valued nearly one billion dollars.

During the entire 11 years of war he said the country did not make a single cent from diamond exports but after 2000 when the democratic government started functioning for the first time 77,372.39 carats valued about 11 million dollars was exported.

The “future for Sierra Leone’s diamond market is Koidu Holdings company who will soon expand its kimberlite mining into Sierra Leone’s second largest diamondiferous area Tongo fields in the East of the country, and when once the company starts its operation there are future hopes for 2012.”

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