Valuation training provides a big boost to miners and government officials

Valuation training provides a big boost to miners and government officials

“We were selling diamonds without knowing their worth,” laments Mohamed Kanu.

The words of one artisanal diamond miner find their echo from mining pit to mining pit across the diamond-rich Kono District of Sierra Leone. Digging diamonds is one thing. Selling them is another. Getting a fair price, it seems, is yet another thing altogether.

The challenge of being able to sell a diamond for its true value begins with understanding that value, and for any system to be effective, that knowledge must begin with the miners themselves. That is why DDI, with support from Brilliant Earth, recently offered training in diamond valuation to a small group of local miners, building capacity from the ground up.

Over a period of two weeks, Hope Maseko, a diamond valuation expert from Botswana, provided miners with an introduction to recognizing diamond quality characteristics (carat, clarity, shape and colour), sorting diamonds according to given specifications, estimating the value of small and medium size diamonds, and creating a manifest for those diamonds. These concepts, although presented at an introductory level, are extremely significant for the miners.

The training has boosted Kanu’s confidence considerably. “Now when I go to a diamond dealer, and I start using terminology that he did not expect me to know, he will be surprised. He will understand that I know something about diamonds, and if he wants to cheat me, it will be harder for him.”

“On behalf of my community and on my personal behalf, I wish to thank DDI for bringing this expert to our district to give us this very important knowledge,” says Tamba Saquee. “As artisanal miners we were completely ignorant of diamond pricing before this training. We will put our knowledge into practice and complement the efforts of DDI.”

Following the very successful training of miners, DDI’s valuation expert provided similar training to a group of government officials from Liberia and Sierra Leone, in order to build their capacity to execute their functions. This training was offered as part of DDI’s support to the Kimberley Process Regional Approach in the Mano River Union states, with the support of the Regional Resource Governance Programme of GIZ, the German International Cooperation agency. Three officials from Liberia took the training along with five from Sierra Leone, including two women.

According to Patric Macua of GIZ, the government participants, from both countries, were very happy with the training and the trainer. In fact, they found their time so valuable that they said they wished it could have lasted longer.

DDI has purchased diamond valuation equipment for its office in Koidu, and will continue to seek opportunities to provide essential training to the players in the diamond chain who need it most.