US partners with Guinea to improve diamond mining

The US Department of State announced Friday a partnership with Guinea to increase transparency and reduce corruption in the extractives sector.

In particular, the US will focus on assisting the African nation with diamond mining, especially as it relates to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Washington Declaration.

Guinea is an important source of diamonds produced through small-scale mining. In 2011, it put out 300,000 carats valued at about $30 million, and industrial production is in the development phase. As well, the country hosts several kimberlite deposits.

However, due to regulatory deficiencies, data gaps, limited technical capacity and uneven enforcement in small-scale mining, the country is a thoroughfare for conflict diamonds to enter the international market.

The US and Guinea plan to work on a number actions, including: strengthening property rights and land tenure for small-scale miners to ensure more rough diamonds enter the legal chain of custody; as well as facilitating training and public education of KPCS compliance at national and local levels; and increase public access to information about alluvial diamond resources.

The partnership is measure in the implementation of  the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which was launched in 2002 by the UK at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to improves transparency of natural resources.

Image: Laura Lartigue, USAID, via Wikimedia Commons