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08.03.2007 General News

Ghana’s Diamond Industry Faces Final Assessment

By Daily Guide

A TEAM of experts from the World Diamond Council would, by the end of March this year, make a final assessment of Ghana's ability to monitor and ascertain diamonds from conflict zones.

South African experts have been helping Ghana to manage the industry and monitor the source of its diamonds, to ensure diamonds from conflict mines especially in the sub-region, were not included as national output.

Ghana was criticised last year for allegedly failing to stop conflict diamonds entering its export chains.

If the country's monitoring structures meet required standards, it would be re-admitted into the global diamond body, the Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, Prof Dominic Fobih, said.

He said government has been able to strengthen its monitoring structures and can now match production levels with what is being marketed by the Precious Minerals Marketing Corporation.

Prof Fobih however stressed the need for continued education of Customs and Immigration officers at the nation's borders, especially at the Western front with Cote d'Ivoire, to ensure no illegal diamonds get into the country.

He said no arrests have been made yet concerning illegal trafficking, and expressed optimism that Ghana would pass the Kimberley test.

It is mandatory to qualify for the Kimberley Certification Process.