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Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5043

Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières
and the Direction Générale des Mines
under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State

Alluvial Diamond Resource Potential and Production Capacity Assessment of the Central African Republic

By Peter G. Chirico, Francis Barthélémy, and François A. Ngbokoto

Thumbnail image of report cover


In May of 2000, a meeting was convened in Kimberley, South Africa, and attended by representatives of the diamond industry and leaders of African governments to develop a certification process intended to assure that rough, exported diamonds were free of conflict concerns. This meeting was supported later in 2000 by the United Nations in a resolution adopted by the General Assembly. By 2002, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was ratified and signed by diamond-producing and diamond-importing countries. Over 70 countries were included as members of the KPCS at the end of 2007.

To prevent trade in "conflict diamonds" while protecting legitimate trade, the KPCS requires that each country set up an internal system of controls to prevent conflict diamonds from entering any imported or exported shipments of rough diamonds. Every diamond or diamond shipment must be accompanied by a Kimberley Process (KP) certificate and be contained in tamper-proof packaging.

The objective of this study was (1) to assess the naturally occurring endowment of diamonds in the Central African Republic (potential resources) based on geological evidence, previous studies, and recent field data and (2) to assess the diamond-production capacity and measure the intensity of mining activity. Several possible methods can be used to estimate the potential diamond resource. However, because there is generally a lack of sufficient and consistent data recording all diamond mining in the Central African Republic and because time to conduct fieldwork and accessibility to the diamond mining areas are limited, two different methodologies were used: the volume and grade approach and the content per kilometer approach.

Estimates are that approximately 39,000,000 carats of alluvial diamonds remain in the eastern and western zones of the CAR combined. This amount is roughly twice the total amount of diamonds reportedly exported from the Central African Republic since 1931. Production capacity is calculated to be 840,000 carats per year, a number that is nearly twice the 450,000 carats per year reported annually by the Central African Republic. The difference in the two numbers reflects the lack of sufficient data on diamond resource grades, worker productivity, and the number and locations of sites being worked.

First posted April 7, 2010

For additional information contact:
Peter G. Chirico
USGS National Center
Mail Stop 926A
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr.
Reston, VA 20192

Alluvial Mining Diamond Project

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Suggested citation:

Chirico, P.G., Barthélémy, Francis, and Ngbokoto, F.A., 2010, Alluvial diamond resource potential and production capacity assessment of the Central African Republic: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5043, 22 p., available only at (Supplemented in 2013 by a French translation having the same report number and URL.)




Geologic Description of the Central African Republic with a Focus on Diamond Areas

History of Diamond Mining and Production

Methodology for Assessing the Central African Republic Diamond Resource Potential

Methodology to Estimate the Capacity of the Central African Republic Diamond Production



References Cited

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