Surat Dealers “Smuggling Diamonds from Sierra Leone”

Kono District, Sierra Leone

Diamond dealers from Surat are routinely flying to Sierra Leone, buying uncertified rough diamonds from artisanal mines and smuggling them home, according to an investigation by The Blunt Times.

Many of the stones are reportedly stolen by workers and sold for dollars at “throwaway” prices.

One diamond dealer, who said he was a frequent visitor, told the Surat-based news website: “We have a network of artisanal workers in Sierra Leone from whom we purchase diamonds.

“They (artisanal workers) steal the diamonds from mines and they have to sell it within a day or two. Since we pay them in dollars, it is a quite a big deal for the poor workers.”

Another dealer told how he hired a team of four or five security guards on his diamond-buying trips.

None of the diamonds has a Kimberley Process (KP) certificate.

According to the latest figures from KP’s Certification Scheme, Sierra Leone exported 641,469 carats in 2020, with a value of $119m.

Source: IDEX