August 21, 2017

Central African Republic awaits full lifting of diamond exports ban

The government of Central Africa Republic is anxiously waiting on whether producers in other regions of the country will be allowed to export diamonds.

This is a week after the ban on diamond exports from the country, which was imposed three years ago, was partially lifted. In an interview with African Mining Brief from the country’s capital, Banjul, a senior official from the Mines Ministry (who spoke on condition of anonymity) said: “What we got is what I call half a bread…..when we wanted a full loaf. But given the process we have had to undergo to have the ban (on diamond exports) partially lifted, it’s a case of half a loaf of bread is better than none.” The official revealed that the government was “working hard” to ensure that exports from other parts of the country passed the stringent test.

Last week, a three year moratorium on diamond exports from the CAR was lifted,  following a deal brokered by the United Arab Emirates in March 2015 between producers and the CAR government. Under the deal’s terms, as of now, mining activity will only be confined to Berberati, the country’s southern region, according to what mines minister, Leopold Mboli told Reuters. Other regions of the country are being closed be monitored.

The ban was imposed to prevent armed groups from illegally selling minerals to finance conflict, which has negated the modest gains which the country made in the past ten years. According to Amnesty International, illicit trafficking of minerals has fueled more than two years of interreligious conflict, according to Amnesty International. The Kimberley Process failed to establish exports from the war-torn country were not tainted by blood diamonds.

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