Sierra Leone Diamonds: How Conflict Diamonds Brought Both Joy And Pain To Africa

When the first Sierra Leone diamond was found in 1930, the people of Africa rejoiced. For this impoverish land, the presence of diamonds brings about some promises of prosperity. By the year 1935, significant mining and production of the Sierra Leone diamonds started. Hundreds of Africans and foreigners work in the minds day in and day out to retrieve precious stones from the bowels of the earth. They extracted several pieces of precious stones and one of the most significant find was the Star of Sierra Leone, a beautiful 969-cara diamond which was unearthed in the mines located at the Koidu area. The Star of Sierra Leone is considered as the most famous diamond unearthed from this place.

The mining activities in Sierra Leone peaked in 1960 when the mines produced 2 million carats of diamonds. Up and until now, the mines in Sierra Leone are still producing a large amount of Sierra Leone diamonds. Experts estimated that the Sierra Leone diamonds extracted for the past 60 years already reached the value of over $15 billion. However, the sad truth is that despite the fact that Sierra Leone is very rich in natural resources, its people continue to suffer from extreme poverty. In fact, the presence of diamonds in this area may have even aggravated the situation and brought more hardships to the people. Note that the diamond mines in this part of the world have sparked several armed conflicts that these diamonds are often referred to as conflict diamonds or blood diamonds. The word blood diamond is actually very appropriate because hundreds of people have died in the diamond mines of Sierra Leone either through armed conflict or through some mining accidents.

Violence And Human Security In Sierra Leone

For the last several years, civil war raged all throughout Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone Diamond smugglers and revolutionary groups in the area are often engaged in armed conflict. In most cases, innocent civilians are caught in between the armed clashed resulting to numerous civilian casualties. Corruption in the government is also very common in this part of the world that many people who have lost their confident in the government often join in the armed conflict to manifest their discontent. Indeed, presence of diamonds in Sierra Leone have caused not only joys but also tremendous amount of misery to its people that some of these people have come to think that the Sierra Leone diamonds are cursed.