Saturday, March 18, 2017

Diamonds of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north-east, Liberia to the south-east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west.

The Sierra Leone civil war from 1991 to 2002 devastated the country. Since the end of the civil war in 2002, the country has been peaceful and stable.
The Kono District is an extremely diamond-rich area in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. The Kono District was heavily looted and constantly fought over due to the diamond trade. The 2006 movie 'Blood Diamond' starring Leonardo DiCaprio was based on Sierra Leone's Kono District.

Diamond exports increased by 13.6% to about 605,000 carats valued at $186 million in 2013. The average value per carat remained about the same as 2012 around $303 per carat. Sierra Leone was among the world’s top 10 ranked producers of diamonds.
The Ebola virus epidemic in Sierra Leone occurred in 2014, along with Guinea and Liberia. Consumption of African bushmeat, including rats, bats, and monkeys, is commonplace in Sierra Leone and West Africa.
By December 5 2014 there were about 100 cases of the virus being reported daily. At the time it was reported that families caught taking part in traditional burial washing rituals would be jailed. By the end of December Sierra Leone put the north area of the country on lockdown. On 17 March 2016, the WHO declared the country Ebola-free.
This week Christian Pastor Emmanuel Momoh unearthed a 706-carat diamond in Sierra Leone's Kono district. It is considered to be one of the world’s 20 largest rough gems. President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma vowed the stone would be sold in a competitive and open process.