Nongovernmental organization Resolve has launched a project to rehabilitate land affected by artisanal and small-scale diamond mining in Africa.
After miners leave a site, local inhabitants lose arable land they need for basic farming, as soil gets depleted and abandoned pits fill with water, Resolve explained in a statement [the week of May 2nd]. They also face insect-borne diseases and other safety hazards, such as drownings.
Starting in Sierra Leone, the Peace Diamonds Restoration Initiative will address these problems while prioritizing areas that lack access to support of this type. It will also promote women’s participation in consultations and decision-making.
During a pilot phase, the initiative succeeded in rehabilitating 90 abandoned diamond pits in Sierra Leone into arable land, Resolve said. The project will now expand its efforts across Sierra Leone and, over the next five years, carry out work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries.
“The Peace Diamonds Restoration Initiative helps communities heal the land and achieve closure, and it’s an ideal way for the diamond and jewelry industry, from industrial miners to retailers, to give back,” said Stephen D’Esposito, president and CEO of Resolve, which absorbed the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) almost two years ago.