The USGS has collaborated with several international organizations working to track and monitor illegal mining and armed groups funded by natural resources around the world.
The concept of conflict diamonds or “blood diamonds” emerged in the late 1990s when it became evident that several violent civil wars in Africa were connected to mining and trading of rough diamonds. In 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey was asked by the U.S. Department of State to help address illegal diamond mining in Africa.
Since then, the USGS has collaborated with several international organizations working to track and monitor illegal mining and armed groups funded by natural resources around the world. USGS scientists help detect where illegal mining is likely taking place and develop realistic production numbers to determine a country’s true capacity for mining and exporting various resources.
This knowledge helps identify differences between what can be produced versus what is being exported, and whether miners are crossing borders to illegally mine and sell resources.
Many armed conflicts are financed and sustained by illegally selling or trading natural resources, including gold, tin, tantalum, tungsten, gemstones such as diamonds, rubies and jade and construction materials such as sand and gravel.
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