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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sierra Leone Diamond Exports Up 43%

Photo from AFP
Diamond exports from Sierra Leone increased by 43 percent in the first half of 2010 over the same period last year, reaching $51 million, the Government's Gold and Diamond Office reportedly said Wednesday.

In the first six months of 2009 exports totaled more than $35.8 million, Agence France-Presse reports the government saying in a press release. 

This is the highest amount of exports from the West African since the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme  was implemented in 2000, according to the Sierra Leone government.

The Kimberley process seeks to ensure the sale of diamonds does not fund violence.

Deputy Mining Minister Ignatius Koroma told AFP the figures are the result of a recent decision to reduce the fee for the export license for diamond dealers from $40,000 to $35,000, due to a slowing in the diamond market.

Sierra Leone's government has stepped up efforts to control the trafficking of diamonds across its borders, AFP reports.

The illegal trading of so called blood diamonds was rife in the country's decade-long civil war, which ended in 2002.

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