India Eyeing Ivory Coast for Rough Imports

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Large rough diamond.

Indian diamantaires are looking at Ivory Coast for rough diamond imports after the United Nations Security Council lifted a decade-long ban on diamond exports from the West African country on April 29, reports The Times of India.

Around $25 million worth of gem quality rough diamonds are mined in Ivory Coast every year. Due to embargo by the UN, the illicit trade in diamonds from Ivory Coast was pegged between $12 million and $23 million dollars per annum.

Ivory Coast is a relatively minor producer of diamonds compared to South Africa, Namibia, Congo and Angola or its immediate neighbours Sierra Leone and Guinea. Nevertheless, production figures are not insignificant. Between 1996 and 2001 – prior to the onset of prolonged social disruptions in 2002 – annual diamond production varied between 2,75,000 carats in 1998 and 4,00,000 carats in 1999.

Industry sources said rough diamonds mined in Ivory Coast are of gem quality and command higher price in the global market. This is the right time for Indian diamantaires to enter the region and explore the opportunities to directly import diamonds to India.

A GJEPC office-bearer said, “As the UN Security Council’s embargo has been lifted, the industrial mining activity in Ivory Coast will get a major boost. Like Russia, we intend to contact the government in Ivory Coast to procure rough diamonds.”

AniruddhaLidbide, diamond industry analyst, said, “I have been to Ivory Coast in 2008 when the embargo was in place. Though the alluvial deposits have been largely mined out, the future lies in industrial mining using sophisticated mining machinery. Indian diamantaires must explore close ties with Ivorian government to get direct supplies of diamonds.”

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