The Export of Diamonds from Ghana

Like most other countries in West Africa, Ghana has several deposits of diamonds as well. However, the country has yet to feature in the global list of major diamond producers. Ghana produced a little more than 370,000 carats of rough diamonds in 2009, and this was seen as a major reduction in the production of diamonds in terms of volume. However, now with things falling in place, Ghana diamonds are becoming popular, albeit gradually.

Diamond Mining in Ghana

Diamond mining in the country is concentrated in the Birim Valley, near Akwatia. Usually, these diamonds are mined by small scale miners from alluvial as well as in-situ deposits. Under the British, Ghana had one of the biggest state-owned diamond miners in the world, but once the British left, diamond mining operations have gone down and it is now confined to the small scale sector. Unfortunately, diamond mining in the country has not taken off as the government would have liked it to, with the country producing around 400,000 carats a month.

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Diamond Industry in Ghana

In Ghana, there is a three-tier system in place for diamond mining and selling. The country has miners, who are usually small scale miners, sellers and then there are exporters. Till 2007, the Ghana Minerals Commissioned supervised the miners. However, once the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was launched, the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Ltd. supervises not just the miners, but also the trading activities. The PMMC collects all the required information about the miners and forwards it to the Kimberley Process authorities.

In 2006, the UN had banned Ghana from exporting diamonds, as there was a doubt that Ghana was dealing with conflict diamonds. However, once the Kimberley Process authorities visited the country to check for compliance, the country was allowed to export diamonds again.

The small scale miners, who sell their diamonds to exporters, have often complained about the ban on excavators. The government decided to ban excavators for diamond mining due to environmental issues. However, miners often claim that they have to dig deep to reach the rocks containing the diamond and using manual labour is making it unprofitable and difficult for them.

The Export of Diamonds from Ghana

The country has many rules and regulations in place to ensure that the export of diamonds takes place within the framework of Kimberley Process. Before shipments are exported, they are inspected to ensure that illegal diamonds do not make their way into the diamond markets of the world.

Nearly two-thirds of Ghana’s diamond exports are generated by the Great Consolidated Diamond Ghana Limited based at Akwatia.

Most diamond exports find their way to Belgium and The Netherlands, and from there to other parts of the world. Since the country is dealing with ‘clean diamonds’, the demand for Ghana diamonds is gradually increasing. However, to become a major player, the country still has to do a lot.

The Future of Export of Diamonds from Ghana

The production and mining of diamonds have to be streamlined. The country produces and exports mostly rough diamonds and the government has finally realised the importance of polished diamonds. The Precious Minerals Marketing Company has set up a plant for diamond cutting and polishing. This will help Ghana stop exporting rough diamonds. Furthermore, it will also generate employment, as workers will be required to polish and cut the diamonds.

If the country can add value to the diamonds before exporting them, it will increase exports and also help exporters and miners reap higher returns. This can be done if the country begins using the diamond for jewellery locally and then exporting them.

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