The ministry of Mining in Lesotho is planning to extend an amnesty for all Basotho still having illegal diamonds in their possession. The ministry is in the process of passing a bill that allows artisanal small-scale miners to be licensed.
For two days, the ministry will be opening sales to licensed dealers to put their bids for diamonds that have been confiscated over the years.
In 2004, the government passed a law prohibiting private informal diamond digging, therefore making it illegal to privately possess diamond ownership. These diamonds will now be up for sale, legally.
To some, diamond dealing has been a family business passed from generation to generation. There has also been a plea from veteran players for buyers to pay fair prices.
But to others who have been keeping stashes, anything will be welcome.
“I was already dealing since 1989…I have kept it since. We are just hoping as to whether we can get anything satisfactory. I’m just pleading for divine intervention…anything to wipe off our tears,” an anonymous source says.
Lesotho hopes to expedite and present to Cabinet the regulations that would guide dealers on how to handle and hand over their diamonds to the government. While the process will be a transparent one, parties will be protected by a non-disclosure agreement.