The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an organization dedicated to improving the working conditions and lives of artisanal diamond miners, is announcing the launch of the Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS), the organization anounced today in a press release. Maendeleo, the Swahili word for development and progress, is a fitting designation for standards that will ensure respect for human rights, for the environment and for community well-being, according to Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director.
The Kimberley Process has sent an announcement warning its members of yet another fake KP certificate from Sierra Leone, the second in two weeks. The Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates reports that the UAE KP Office was contacted by a client prior to the import of a shipment to check the authenticity of a scanned copy of a KP Certificate from Sierra Leone. The UAE KP Office contacted Sierra Leone who confirmed via email that the attached copy is a false certificate.
A copy of the fake certificate is in annex.
Reports from multiple sources are starting to detail the murky structures hiding the tremendous wealth accumulated by certain players in the diamond and gold trade that emerged through last week's release of the Panama Papers.
London-based Citigate Commodities Trading Ltd., a commodities trading/brokerage firm specializing in rough diamonds, precious metals and bonny light crude oil has acquired a kimberlite diamond concession in Sierra Leone. Located adjacent to one of the country's largest diamond reserves, Citigate's extraction and mineral rights are spread over an area of 79 square kilometres to explore diamonds.
The West African country's diamond exports plunged by about 20% on the year in 2015 as a result of miners being unable to work as the Ebola virus spread through the country, said Deputy Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Abdul Ignost Koroma. He told journalists that "diamond exports in 2015 were 500,039 carats compared to 620,181 carats in 2014," a fall of about 20%. Meanwhile, there was an even sharper decrease in the value of the exports of around 30%, to $154 million from $221 million in 2014.
The Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the environmental, social and health-impact assessment (ESHIA) for Stellar Diamonds' Tongo Dyke-1 project in Sierra Leone, writes Engineering News. “The approval of our ESHIA marks another key step in the process of obtaining the mining and environmental licences that will allow for the development of the 1.45-million-carat diamond resource at Tongo Dyke-1, one of four kimberlite dykes at our Tongo project.
A diamond cutting and polishing firm is to be established in Sierra Leone more than a decade and a half after the last one was closed, following a visit by a large business delegation from Belgium, starafrica.com cited sources as saying. Sierra Leone diamonds are currently taken to neighboring countries, like Guinea and Liberia, for cutting and polishing before being flown out. Government officials say the aim is to create jobs at home.
The explorer said the 55-carat diamond confirmed the presence of large stones in the pipe and it continues to recover high-quality gems of up to 12 carats. The stone appears to have a ‘boart’ – or fragmented – exterior and a potentially better-quality diamond on the interior. Trial mining has yielded a total of 8,043 carats to date at an average grade of 12.7 cpht (carats per hundred tones). Revenue from the Baoulé diamond sales to date are $700,644 from 5,173 carats, the firm said in a statement.
The Belgian authorities at AWDC’s Diamond Office have alerted the Kimberley Process team about a fake KP certificate from Sierra Leone that was confirmed by the Sierra Leone authorities. The KP has therefore called on all its members to be vigilant regarding shipments of rough diamonds accompanied by a Sierra Leone KP certificate. As for the certificate itself: the numbering on the certificate (4306) was a number range used in 2014. The parcel number is also incorrect. This number always ends with the certificate number; in this case it ends with the number 4911(JMI/GGDO/4199).
Thomas Biesheuvel and Jesse Riseborough of Bloomberg chronicle the fascinating struggle for control of the Koidu Mine in Sierra Leone that yields some of the most valuable diamonds in the world for premium jeweler Tiffany & Co.
Stellar Diamonds plc, the London listed (AIM: STEL) diamond development company focused on West Africa, is pleased to announce that it has formally submitted to the National Minerals Agency (NMA) of Sierra Leone its application for a large scale mining licence for the Tongo project. The move comes after the World Health Organization's announcement earlier this month that Sierra Leone is Ebola-free after 42 days without any new infections. The Tongo kimberlite diamond project is forecast to yield 840,000 carats and revenues of $358 million.
Stellar Diamonds, announcing a major reorganization of its shares, aims to raise around £1.26 mil ($1.94 mil) net via a convertible loan note agreement and subscription deal, which will be used for ongoing working capital. The company has prioritized its Tongo mining licence application in Sierra Leone and aims to resume the trial mining of the kimberlite pipe at Baoulé in Guinea, which has thus far yielded over 6,400 carats. The aim at Baoulé remains to process 100,000 tons of kimberlite to justify the next stages of project development.
U.S.-Belgian national Michel Desaedeleer has been extradited to Belgium where he is in custody and charged with crimes in Sierra Leone, TV station RTBF reported. Spanish authorities arrested Desaedeleer on September 1 on charges of enslavement and diamond pillaging during Sierra Leone’s civil war, according to Swiss-based victims’ association Civitas Maxima. Desaedeleer is suspected of forcing enslaved civilians to mine for diamonds in Sierra Leone’s eastern district of Kono between 1999 and 2001.
The West African country's economy will shrink by 21.5% in 2015 because of a crisis in its mining sector sparked by collapsing global iron ore prices and the Ebola epidemic which is still having a big impact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said following a report produced by a team of its economists who visited the country. The IMF said the near- and medium-term outlook for Sierra Leone remained problematic, with its economic state next year to remain relatively unchanged.
Spanish authorities have arrested Michel Desaedeleer, who has US and Belgian citizenship, on charges of enslavement and diamond pillaging during Sierra Leone’s civil war, according to Swiss-based victims’ association Civitas Maxima. Desaedeleer is suspected of forcing enslaved civilians to mine for diamonds in Sierra Leone’s eastern district of Kono between 1999 and 2001. A Belgian investigation led to a European arrest warrant being issued against Desaedeleer, who normally lives in America, earlier this year.
Stellar Diamonds said a preliminary economic assessment shows the Tongo kimberlite project in Sierra Leone can produce almost 1 million carats over the next 18 years, according to a company announcement. "The objective was to define updated project economics for both surface and underground mining of the diamond resource in support of the mining license application," according to the assessment by Paradigm Project Management.
Sierra Leone said Saturday that gold exports had plunged three-fold and diamond exports nearly halved in the first half of 2015, a sign of the devastation wrought on the mining industry by the Ebola epidemic. "The whopping 297% drop in gold export is not unexpected given that the deadly Ebola virus was raging through the countryside by then driving the workforce from the mining fields and mine owners from the country," the National Minerals Agency (NMA) said in a statement.
Sierra Leone's alluvial diamond deposits in traditionally mined areas are said to have depleted following decades of intensive digging. Diamond Intelligence Briefs reports, citing Sierra Express Media, that the mining industry had “declined sharply", with the closure of many diamond offices in Bo, Kenema and other diamond districts in the country. Apart from the exhaustion of the country’s “most diamondiferous plots”, the report claimed that no major nationwide diamond prospecting exercise had been done since independence in 1961. It noted that there had been no large diamonds discovered in
Artisanal diamond mining communities identified their top needs to the Diamond Development Initiative. Joining forces with the Government of Sierra Leone (Ministry of Water Resources) and the Kono District Council, DDI contracted local company IMK Construction to build wells with the permission of the Chiefdoms.
Guinea and Sierra Leone reported 35 new Ebola cases in the past week, four times as many as the week before, in a reminder that the virus "will not go quietly", a top World Health Organization official said on Tuesday. Just a month ago, the Diamond Development Initiative reported on its Ebola Response Project in Sierra Leone’s Kono District.
The London-listed Golden Saint Resources has reported the recovery of several diamonds and gold at its Tongo deposit after it received approval from the Sierra Leone National Minerals Agency to carry out exploration work. The largest diamond weighed 2.77 carats.
In December 2014, DDI launched its Ebola Response Project in Sierra Leone’s Kono District. Focusing on the specific context of artisanal mining communities, DDI is adopting a 3-S approach: Sensitization, Support and Safeguards. Sierra Leone experienced the highest amount of Ebola cases worldwide, especially the Kono mining district was hit hard
Tatafoe Mani Tumoe was a journalist and poet. From the diamond-rich Kono District in eastern Sierra Leone, he was educated at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, and lived in Freetown. He wrote passionately about the depredations wrought in his Kono homeland by largely unregulated diamond miners, and above all about the lack of returns from the diamond profits to the people of Kono. He died on August 16, 2012.
Stellar Diamonds has started an application process for a mining licence at its 100%-owned, 1.45-million-carat Tongo Dyke-1 kimberlite project, in eastern Sierra Leone. "Moving Tongo to the mining licence application stage is a major milestone", said Stellar CEO Karl Smithson. The company would need to invest $20-million in capital expenditure to bring the mine into production and to reach its target of producing over one-million carats over the mine’s estimated 16-year life.
The firm, which explores and mines in West Africa, posted a loss of $934,000 for the six months that ended on December 31 compared with a $1.55 million loss a year before. The firm said that it was seeking to raise $20 million for its project in Sierra Leone.
The Ebola virus in Sierra Leone has spread to diamond mines, with two workers infected at Octea Ltd.’s Koidu mine, located in the Kono district bordering Guinea. 119 Ebola cases have been reported in Kono as of December 9th.
Stellar Diamonds, which is focused on mining in West Africa, has raised by 35 percent its Joint Ore Reserves Committee compliant inferred resources for its Tongo kimberlite Dyke-1 project in Sierra Leone.
Ebola is proving catastrophic for Sierra Leone’s small-scale mining sector, as restrictions on the movement are putting a stop to the artisanal mining of diamonds and gold. The consequences of the mobility restrictions are also far reaching for the mining sector in general, as they are not only affecting diamond producers, but also buyers, who are no longer traveling to West Africa.
JCK talked to Babar Turay, an experienced ecologist living in Sierra Leone’s Kono diamond district, on how Ebola is affecting Sierra Leone’s diamond industry.
Authorities in the diamond-rich eastern town of Koidu brought in a curfew after a clash between youths and police over a suspected case of Ebola led to gunfire and rioting.
Octéa Diamond Group, formerly BSG Diamonds, said it does not expect its 2014 diamond output to drop due to the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone where it operates the Koidu mine.
Diamond mining companies in Sierra Leone have been forced to adapt their mining operations due to the Ebola virus.
During the three-day nationwide lockdown, no one is allowed to leave their home, while volunteers go door-to-door to educate people on the virus.
Mumbai’s Parikh Bros. and Golden Saint Resources Ltd. Signed a memorandum of understanding, with the former to cut and polish rough diamonds from Golden’s alluvial mining in Sierra Leone.
The CEOs of 11 mining firms operating in West Africa are continuing operations where possible, with the health and safety of employees being top priority, but are calling for more aid from the international community.
Sierra Leone will impose a four-day, countrywide "lockdown" starting September 18, in a bid to stop the spread of Ebola across the West African country.