Blood diamonds still at Central African mining sector’s heart

Blood diamonds still at Central Africa mining sector’s heart

Diamonds and gold sales continue to finance conflict in chaos-ridden Central African Republic, which has illegally exported an estimated 140,000 carats worth $24 million this year despite international efforts to clamp down on illicit trade.

While tensions appeared to have eased in the nation’s capital Bangui after several days of a standoff between former rebels and international peacekeepers, a United Nations panel is advising peace troops to step-up monitoring of the country’s main mining sites.

In report unveiled earlier this month, U.N. experts warned an export ban on raw gems from the African nation imposed last year is not working as expected, Reuters reported.

The chairperson of the Kimberley Process — a group of 81 nations, including all the major diamond producers, formed to prevent “blood diamonds” from funding conflict — has even put in a written request to the U.N. Security Council to alert neighbouring countries to the presence of renewed diamond contraband, Mining Weekly reports:

Cases of contraband have already been documented and diamond trafficking networks involved in the gradual resumption of artisanal mining activities identified.

A May report from the Enough Project showed the country’s diamonds were being sold mainly to traders in the Darfur region of Sudan, as well as Chad, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Previous studies also revealed that Central African blood diamonds may have also hit the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Qatar markets.

Image: Screenshot from ViceNew documentary, via YouTube.

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