Many other dealers from Surat, travels to Sierra Leone multiple times a year, purchasing high-value rough diamonds from artisanal workers employed in the local diamond mines
Surat : Samrat Patel (name changed), a diamond dealer from Surat, has become a frequent visitor to Sierra Leone, a diamond mining country in West Africa. Patel, like many other dealers from Surat, travels to Sierra Leone multiple times a year, purchasing high-value rough diamonds from artisanal workers employed in the local diamond mines. However, these diamonds are often stolen from the mines by the workers and sold to dealers like Patel at throwaway prices, allowing them to earn significant profits back in Surat.
Sierra Leone, known for its diamond reserves, has attracted the attention of Surat’s diamond industry, primarily centered in the world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing center. Patel’s visits to Sierra Leone have resulted in a lucrative bounty of rough diamonds that he brings back with him. The diamonds are concealed in bags to evade the scrutiny of customs officials at the airport, as carbon-based diamonds are not easily detectable by sophisticated scanning machines.
Rajesh Gabani, another prominent diamond dealer, shares a similar story. Gabani, upon his arrival in Sierra Leone, hires a team of four to five armed security guards to ensure his safety during the diamond purchasing process.
Each security guard costs him Rs 500 per day. After spending about a week in Sierra Leone, Gabani returns to Surat with diamonds worth over $3000, ready to sell them in the local market. Notably, these diamonds lack Kimberley Process (KP) certificates, which are essential for ensuring ethical sourcing and preventing the trade of conflict diamonds.
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