Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition

The challenges characterizing Sierra Leone’s artisanal diamond mining sector – and why the sector should be formalized

This report is part of a pan-African research project called Grassroots research on local diamond mining impact which was run in eight countries by ten African member organisations from the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition.

In Sierra Leone, the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) surveyed a representative sampling of 21 artisanal mining sites to analyse the opportunities and challenges to the formalisation of the diamond sector in the country. NMJD’s analysis of the characteristics of the artisanal diamond mining sector sheds a light on some legislative, socio-economic and operational challenges. 

Artisanal diamond mining remains an important economic activity in Sierra Leone, especially for rural populations. Today, production in Kono and Kenema districts is lowering, as surface layers in the region have been over-mined. However, legislative limitations on artisanal mining processes prevent artisanal miners from accessing deeper un-depleted layers. Additional factors contributing to the vulnerability of artisanal miners include the lack of available geological data and unbalanced relations towards pre-financers and buyers. 

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union to the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition. The content of this document is the sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

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