Almost all diamonds from West Africa are of alluvial origin. In Guinea, diamonds are found in the rainforests and in Sierra Leone diamonds are present throughout the territory and 70% of the stones are of gemstone quality. It is in Sierra Leone that the best quality diamonds can be found today.
Ghana is another diamond-producing country. However, the stones found there are very small and 90% of mined diamonds are of industrial quality with significant fluorescence.
The bestknown mine in Tanzania is Mwadui, which was the first African mine outside South Africa to become famous worldwide for diamond extraction. The mine has been in operation since it was established in 1940 by John Williamson, a Canadian geologist. It is one of the oldest diamond mines in the world.
Since opening, the mine has produced 19 million carats of diamonds. Today, 75% of the mine belongs to Petra Diamonds and the remaining 25% to the Tanzanian government.
The world of gemstones : Diamonds in Guinea
Production is mainly alluvial: The diamonds are found in the riverbeds. It’s in the Banankoro region that the largest and most beautiful stones are to be found. Further north, the region of Kindia also holds some treasures. Two exceptional stones weighing 250 and 180 carats were discovered in 1989. In early 1993, a 284 carat stone was discovered in the Aredor mine. Measuring roughly 9 inches long and 4 inches wide, the gem was sold in Antwerp to a Lebanese trader from Geneva for $8,000,000.
Despite controls by mining companies and the government, smuggling continues to be the main problem in Guinea and is perpetrated by between 5,000 and 20,000 miners. The problem is not recent and began at the beginning of the 1960s when more than 30,000 miners from Sierra Leone literally plundered the sites of Avila and Feredou! The firm Aredorcurrently makes more than 250 arrests per month, with an estimated annual loss of more than $80 million.
It is very difficult to work in this country; the risks are very high. Political instability has led to a heated social climate and the current situation in neighbouring Sierra Leone, tends to rub off on Guinea.
The exceptional quality of the stones in this region encourages us to invest in West African countries.
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