Government has begun negotiations with the United States Geological Surveys to assist the country in the exploration of other diamondiferous areas outside the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Limited's concession to identify viable areas for demarcation for small scale diamond mining in future.
According to Esther Obeng Dapaah, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, the move is to make sure Ghana remains extra vigilant on diamond mining to justify her successful compliance of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), an international process to ensure that trade in diamonds does not fund violence.
Mrs. Dapaah disclosed this over the weekend at the2005-06 Gold/Diamond Awards Night by the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC).
Since Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Limited is not producing rough diamonds currently and thus rough diamonds would come from the small scale miners, the sector needs to be properly regulated, she said.
She therefore charged the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), the Minerals Commission and the Geological Survey Department to ensure that they play the roles assigned them under the KPCS implementation in the country to avoid the negation of what has been achieved so far.
Whilst Ghana rejoices for becoming completely KPCS compliant, she said, it would not rest on its oars because 'conflict diamonds' still remains a problem in West Africa.
“La Cote d'Ivoire, which is still in conflict situation remains Ghana's neighbour, therefore extreme vigilance is needed if we are to prevent the entry of conflict diamonds into the country.”
Ghana was declared compliant in November 2006 by a UN Experts Group on La Cote d'Ivoire, after it was accused of allowing conflict diamonds to pass through its territories.
Available statistics indicate that from 1989 to 2006, over 11.14 million carats of rough diamonds valued at $281.85 million have been purchased and exported by the PMMC.
The company, also between the same period, purchased and exported 22.32 tonnes of gold valued at $294.29 million.
Giving an overview of the company's performance, Aristotle Quartey, Managing Director of the PMMC said in 2006, over $2.25 million worth of jewellery was produced and sold using about 10 per cent of raw gold purchased from small scale miners.
He said the production of jewellery was expected to increase in the coming years.
The awards night rewarded gold/diamond licensed buyers and companies that over the years have contributed in diverse ways to the growth of PMMC.
By Charles Nixon Yeboah