Diamonds in the DRC: A Wealth of Potential
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (commonly known as DRC) is located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area, and extremely rich in natural resources, including diamonds.
DRC is among the top five diamond producing countries by volume of production, third only to Russia and Botswana. Despite this impressive statistic, artisanal mining (that is, small-scale digging by individuals, families and communities sing basic technology) is still very much prevalent in the DRC.
According to mbendi.com, the only commercial diamond producer in DRC is Miniere de Bakwange (MIBA) – a joint venture between Belgian company Sibeka and the DRC government, which owns 80%. De Beers holds a 20% stake in Sibeka (Belgian Umicore the remaining 80%) and markets about one third of the country’s diamonds.
In 2003, DRC was admitted into the Kimberley process, but was kicked out in 2004 due to reports of illegal trading in conflict diamonds. It was readmitted into the KP in 2007. It According to the KP website, the DRC produced 15,652,014 carats in 2014, with a value of $136,505,486.