Central Africa Republic will be allowed to resume diamond exports after a three-year ban that tried preventing armed groups from financing one of the bloodiest conflicts the region has seen in recent years by illegally selling local gems.
The partial lifting of the export ban follows a deal between CAR’s government and producers brokered by the United Arab Emirates last March. It will initially apply to the southern region of Berberati, Mines Minister Leopold Mboli Fatrane said as reported by Reuters.
Illicit trafficking of diamonds in the nation helped finance a more than two years of inter-religious conflict, which flared up again in September last year, leaving at least 50 people casualties in the capital Bangui in a matter of hours.
CAR’s diamonds exports were banned in May 2013 after the Kimberley Process, which seeks to halt the sale of gems from war zones, said there was no way to determine whether so-called blood diamonds had been eliminated from shipments.
The country was ranked as the world’s 10th-biggest diamond producer by value in 2012, according to the US Geological Survey. The Kimberley Process estimates diamond output was worth more than $62 million in both 2011 and 2012.
The first gems to leave the country following the resumption of exports comprise 3,703 carats of stocks that must be examined and approved by the government’s diamond inspection office.