Need to Revamp Diamond Industry
Sierra Leone is globally renowned for her diamond riches but over the years, our diamond industry has declined sharply as confirmed by many diamond dealers interviewed by this press. The sharp decline in our once booming diamond industry is clearly manifested by the closure of many diamond offices in Bo, Kenema and other diamondiferous districts in the country.
We have reliably learnt that one of the main factors responsible for the dramatic fall of our diamond industry is the exhaustion of most diamondiferous plots due to decades of incessant mining compounded by the massive illicit mining that obtained during the war years. Since this country was prospected for diamonds during the colonial era, no major nationwide diamond prospecting exercise has ever taken place since independence in 1961. Obviously, most of the areas prospected by the colonial masters have been exhausted hence the need for government to empower the Department of Geological Surveys to do a nationwide prospecting exercise to discover new diamond spots in the country.
The emergence of the commercial motorbike (OKADA) industry has also had a negative impact on our diamond industry as most alluvial diamond miners have abandoned their shovels and pickaxes for OKADA riding. We have observed that many of the current OKADA riders in especially the provinces were once diamond diggers.
For years now, we are yet to hear of another big diamond discovered anywhere after the one that metamorphosed overnight into a giant stone. There is need for government to revamp the diamond industry which was once the main source of national revenue. We are globally known as a diamond-rich country so we should not allow such an industry to be dying slowly.
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