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Alluvial Diamond Mining Project
Project Background

Project Background

The US Department of State (DOS) has received Economic Support Funds (ESF) to help support the goals of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), an international activity designed to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds, while helping to protect the legitimate trade in rough diamonds. Previously, the DOS had provided ESF funds to the USGS to assist in supporting KPCS objectives in Liberia. That effort, which is still in progress, has made substantial contributions and has helped move Liberia closer to lifting the sanctions of the mining and sales of its diamond resources. With these funds, the DOS intends that the USGS will use its scientific and technical skill to promote a broader set of KPCS objectives.

The USGS is continuing to support DOS objectives by providing technical assistance in support of the KPCS in three areas:

  • Completion of Liberia GIS,
  • Provide statistical support for the KPCS,
  • Make assessments of geological resource potential of countries and their rough diamond production capacity.

It is often difficult to obtain independent verification of the diamond production statistics that are provided by the countries involved in KPCS compliance issues. However, some degree of independent verification can be obtained through an understanding of a countries naturally occurring endowment of diamonds (diamond resources) and its diamond production capacity (intensity of mining activity). Studies which integrate these two components can produce a range of estimated values for a country’s diamond production and these estimates can then be compared with the production statistics released by the country. Recently, the Bureau de Recherche Geologique et Minieres (BRGM) has released an assessment for the Republic of the Congo (Congo Brazzaville). This assessment has been highly acclaimed within the KPCS community. A similar assessment is currently being developed in Liberia under a USGS-supported project.

This IAA will support the USGS in assessing the geological resource potential and the rough diamond production capacity in Mali and the Central African Republic. Because of the experience of the BRGM in these two Francophone countries and because of the BRGM’s recent experience in similar assessment work, the USGS intends to partner with the BRGM in this work.

These studies will involve the following:

  • A compilation of historical diamond production statistics and mine information
  • A compilation of relevant digital geologic data sets
  • A geological assessment of diamond resources
  • Remote sensing studies to locate and map existing mine sites
  • Between one and two months “on the ground” field investigation of mining areas in each of the two countries to be evaluated to determine intensity of mining and mine production capacity
  • Creation of a geographic information system (GIS) integrating data accumulated during the assessment of diamond production capacity.
  • Preparation of estimates of diamond production capacity for each country
  • Training, capacity building, and technology transfer in the Mali and the CAR
  • A workshop involving participants from Mali and the CAR that present the results of the study.
  • Release of final reports


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