Sierra Leone gem sale a break with ‘blood diamond’ past (The Australian – October 18, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

AFP – Sierra Leone plans to auction off a massive 709-carat diamond at a December sale in New York, aiming to make a clean break with the “blood diamonds” of its past.

The stone, which was unearthed in March, is the largest discovered in Sierra Leone in almost a half-century and is between the 10th and 15th largest ever found worldwide, experts say. Sierra Leone authorities told reporters that the massive gem will go up for sale on December 4 at Rapaport Auctions, which specialises in the diamond trade.

The government has pledged to be transparent in the stone’s sale, mindful of the history of cross-border diamond trafficking that fuelled Sierra Leone’s civil war from 1991-2002.

Such “blood diamonds” were often found by enslaved members of the population, who were killed or maimed by rebel groups if they refused to dig.

The 709-carat behemoth was discovered by Emmanuel Momoh, an Evangelical pastor who is also one of hundreds of so-called artisanal miners in Kono, Sierra Leone’s key mining district.

For the rest of this article: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/sierra-leone-gem-sale-a-break-with-blood-diamond-past/news-story/422bfbbbce0a00f9b296ccb606222425

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