Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition

Grassroots research on local diamond mining impact

During 2021, members of the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (KP CSC) worked on a series of grassroots studies on the human rights, socio-economic and environmental impact of diamond mining in eight African countries.

Ten civil society organisations carried out independent field research and data analyses in order to improve understanding and formulate clear recommendations on enhancing human rights, traceability, accountability and sustainability within their national artisanal or industrial diamond mining sector. Their research combined newly-collected primary data - collected through field surveys in mining communities and communities near diamond mining sites – with secondary data sources.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), CCRAG (Centre Centrafricain de Recherche et d’Analyse Géopolitique) studied the effects of artisanal diamond mining on the living conditions of local communities in the towns of Boda, Nola et Berberati (south-west CAR). There, a total of 42 mining sites were visited. The report sheds light on the impact of artisanal diamond mining on the environment (pollution), livelihoods and social aspects in mining communities, and emphasises the role of national authorities in increasing the economic potential of the sector through a better control over the diamond trade.

In the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, GRPIE (Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives) mapped the economic and social challenges of artisanal and small-scale diamond mining in the areas of Seguela and Tortiya, the two main diamond producing areas of the country. Data was collected in 17 mining sites. The research shows that diamond mining communities experience economic hardship due to the decline of diamond production, leading to workforce migrations towards the gold mining sector. The study includes testimonies of how artisanal diamond mining can be an effective and efficient means of fighting poverty and stimulating development.

GAERN (Groupe d’Appui aux Exploitants des Ressources Naturelles) and CENADEP (Centre National d’Appui au Développement et à la Participation Populaire) analysed the impact of artisanal and small-scale diamond and gold mining on the environment in Kasai-Oriental and Tshopo provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Water pollution and soil degradation are flagged as the two main challenges to a sustainable supply chain. The study calls upon the Congolese government to better regulate and support communities in sustainable management of the environment.

In Lesotho, MCDF (Maluti Community Development Forum) investigated the impact of large-scale diamond mining on adjacent communities. Diamond-affected communities from 19 villages in the mining region of the Maluti Mountains reported environmental pollution, the lack of employment opportunities and insufficient Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) measures as key issues. The study also revealed alarmingly high levels of nitrate in water samples taken near the Letseng mine tailing sites that link to key water sources for communities in Letseng and Maloraneng villages. MCDF calls on the government and mining companies to address and prevent the adverse impacts of diamond mining, through meaningful due diligence and consultation processes, amongst other strategies.

In the Republic of Guinea, Action Mines Guinée and CEDIDE (Centre du Commerce International pour le Développement) examined the vulnerability of artisanal diamond miners through case studies conducted in 38 sites in Macenta, Kérouané and Forécariah. Results show that artisanal diamond mining benefits tend to be undermined by the low level of formalisation within the sector. In order to reduce the vulnerability of miners, the study made recommendations to key actors in the artisanal diamond mining chain in the Republic of Guinea.

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.

The study conducted by the Réseau de Lutte contre la Faim (RELUFA) in Eastern Cameroon highlights that diamond production in the region is both low and very difficult to trace because miners tend to work on unregistered sites and sell their production to informal buyers. Moreover, the lack of buying offices in Eastern Cameroon leads artisanal miners to sell their production to buyers in the neighbouring Central African Republic. Formalisation is therefore identified as key to improve traceability, as well as tax collection and redistribution.

All the studies

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