Peace Diamond


Sierra Leone Trade Mission diary
October 15-20, 2023

This page will be updated regularly throughout the mission

Day 4: How Diamond Mining Causes Malnourishment in Sierra Leone – and How to Change that

If one goal of this Trade Mission is to discover how diamonds can make the world a better place, we have to take an honest look at the negative impact of diamond mines on local communities in Sierra Leone.

At our Town Hall meeting, this local woman explained to us why malnutrition is more widespread now compared to a generation ago.

She and other explained that in diamond-rich districts such as Kono, which we are visiting now, agricultural land is converted into mines. That results in a lack of nutritious food for locals.

So today we visited a project run by a NGO called Resolve, that is reclaiming abandoned diamond mines for agriculture. This is a solution that comes from locals and benefits them!

Day 3: A Visit to the Peace Diamond Village

Today we visited the village of Koyardu, which is home to the miners who found the 709-karat Peace Diamond in 2017.

We have a special connection to Koyardu, AKA the “Peace Diamond Village,” because the Rapaport Group marketed and auctioned the Peace Diamond free of charge. Proceeds were used to develop education, health and welfare infrastructure in this severely impoverished village, where most residents live on less than $2/day.

No wonder our the Rapaport Trade Mission got a festive welcome, with the whole town coming out to greet us, led by dancers and stilt walkers.

We then got a grand tour of the local school and hospital. These institutions may appear basic but in fact they have been hugely upgraded thanks to the proceeds from the Peace Diamond.

The day closed with a Town Hall meeting with local residents, to discuss the impact of the Peace Diamond and the future of the village.

Now we’re ready for Day 4….

Day 2: Sierra Leone Trade Mission

Day 2 was a very big day, with an early start and 5+ hours of travel, much of it on dirt roads.

Our delegation visited the diamond mine outside Koidu, where we met with diggers.

At night we hosted a leadership dinner, bringing together our delegates and local leaders from the Kono district.

Martin Rapaport and son, Ezi Rapaport, talk with local District Council Chair, Mam Augustin Sheku

The dinner was addressed by Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, an artisanal diamond miner who found the 709-carat “Peace Diamond” in 2017. His decision to sell it through official channels and invest the proceeds into local infrastructure made international headlines.

At the request of the Sierra Leone government, the Rapaport Group marketed and auctioned the diamond in New York on Dec 4, 2017 free of charge. It was bought by the House of Graf for over $6.5 million.

Day 1: Arrival in Freetown, Sierra Leone

We have arrived in Freetown and gathered together at the hotel. There are 15 members of our international delegation, including diamond dealers and jewelers from the USA, UK, India, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Botswana and Singapore.

We are ready to head upcountry and uncover the hidden heart of our trade: the mines and miners!

Trade Mission 2023 – Full Itinerary

Oct 15 Sunday

Arrival Guests will be met at the airport by Rapaport representative 

20:00 Welcome Dinner 

Oct 16 Monday 

06:30 Breakfast 

07:30 Travel to Koidu 

14:30 Arrival to Koidu 

15:00 Visit Digger Site 

19:00 Leadership Dinner 

Oct 17 Tuesday 

07:00 Breakfast 

08:00 Depart to Koryadu – Peace Diamond Village 

09:00 Tours of Village, Community Presentations,  

Discussion with Villagers 

11:30 Lunch with the Children 

12:30 Medical Clinic Presentation 

13:00 Optional Hike to digger location where Peace Diamond was discovered. Please note the hike can be strenuous and takes about an hour and a half round trip. View the initial transformation to a rice field. 

Those not going on the hike will have an opportunity to visit Koidu town 

15:00 Depart for Diamond Lodge  

16:30 Arrival at Diamond Lodge 

18:30 Dinner followed by Town Hall meeting with local community 

Oct 18 Wednesday 

07:00 Breakfast  

08:30 Visit with GemFair, De Beers artisanal digger program 

11:00 Visit with Resolve, NGO working on land restoration 

12:30 Depart to Freetown 

18:30 Dinner at the Beach 

21:00 Return to Hotel 

Oct 19 Thursday 

08:00 Breakfast 

10:00 Travel to National Museum and Empower Africa Business Center 

12:00 Sierra Leone Business Development Conference 

18:00 Networking and Cocktails 

20:00 Farewell Dinner 

Oct 20 Friday 

08:00 Breakfast 

09:00 Visit to Freetown Markets and Shopping 

12:30 Visit Pastor Momoh’s School  

13:30 Departure to Beach Hotel 

Oct 21 Saturday 

Relaxation beach day with optional visits to Freetown, Banana Island Spear Fishing, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary 

Transportation to airport will be available based on departure times