By officially exporting its first ever diamond last Wednesday, January 16, the amount of which might not be very important for now, Cameroon has confirmed its admission into the Kimberly process and at the same time asserted its commitment to ensure the transparent extraction, exportation and management of its diamond.
The official handing of the Kimberly certificate to C and K Mining, a Cameroon- South Korea joint venture, has incidentally opened the gate for the company to fully kick start its activities at the Mobilong Diamond reserve field. Choung Sung Hee, representative of the C and K Mining at last Wednesday's ceremony was herself quite assuring when she declared; "we are expecting a monthly production of about 6,500 carats." There is certainly no better way of stating that production is beginning immediately. The operation, according to her will begin with one set up plant. The destination for now is said to be C and K South Korea.
Pending the effective mass production of the precious stone, it is important to note that Cameroon's admission into the Kimberly process signifies many things. One; it is the recognition of the clarity of the country's process; two, Cameroon's diamond will get into the international market system with all legality and three it will be sold at a price that will be highly profitable. Jean Kisito Mvogo, the National Permanent Secretary of the Kimberly Process is quite clear about this. Diamond sold outside the process is depreciated at 90 per cent.
The introduction of diamond into the country's economic train is something of worthy. The reason is simple; it is gthe birth of a new source of income which goes to crystallise the instructions of the Head of State. On several occasions, he, in his speeches would urge government to diversify sources of revenue. In fact, in the last end of year address to the nation, he warned that even though oil prospects were promising, the country will be making a mistake to depend solely on it. If 617 carats or 125 grams of diamond can fetch FCFA 73 Million, then one can imagine what 6,500 carats will be bringing into the economy when production goes operational.
The assurances of such consistent revenue trickling in are in the Kimberly process whereby full transparency will be exhibited. Research undertaken by the French Geological and Mining Research bureau indicates the existence of 5,000 carats per annum. From every indication, the State and above all, the local population will draw enormous benefit from the trade. And as destiny would have it, plans to extend the transparency in the diamond sector to other minerals are already in the air.
Now that the deal has been done, it would be in the interest of the State to ensure that the sector is well followed up, for, it is undeniably a new opportunity.