Liberia completes diamond certification

Liberia announced completion of its own diamond-certification program Wednesday, saying it aims to prove it is doing its part to keep conflict diamonds off the market, The Associated Press reports.

Authorities of the West African nation hope the plan will lead to lifting international sanctions against it for its alleged gun- and diamond-trafficking ring, which has helped finance Liberia’s deadly civil war, the AP reports. Energy Minister Jenkins Dunbar told journalists Liberia’s plan includes a tamper- and forgery-resistant certificate in line with recommendations of the Kimberley Process.

“Any Liberian diamonds that are not accompanied by the certificate should be banned on the world market,” Dunbar reportedly said. The minister said he was optimistic the sanctions would “shortly be lifted” so that legal mining can resume in Liberia.

The worldwide production of rough diamonds was worth $7.8 billion last year. Most of the gems come from Botswana, South Africa, Canada, and Russia.

Diamond production has financed deadly conflicts in Angola, Sierra Leone, Congo, and Liberia. Conflict, diamonds are estimated to make up about 3% of the annual global diamond trade.

Liberia’s diamonds have been barred from the world market under sanctions imposed for its alleged dealings with rebel groups in the region.