The Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) Liberia project is a USAID-funded intervention to clarify property rights and extend training and outreach to small-scale diamond miners in two areas in Liberia. For the purposes of an impact evaluation following the conclusion of the project, a baseline survey of 826 artisanal diamond mining households in four areas of the country was conducted prior to the start of project implementation in January-February 2011. The survey includes a total of 144 questions, with sections covering household demographic information and economic activity, mining activities, conflicts and security, policy awareness and perceptions, household assets, and opinions on mining-related issues. The survey covered the two areas in which PRADD-Liberia activities will take place, as well as two additional sites designed to serve as control areas to form the basis for a comparison between outcomes in project and non- project areas.
The results show that in most cases, artisanal diamond mining is not a lucrative endeavor. Mining households in the study area tend to be poor, with an annual per capita income of US$ 329. On average, each mining claim yielded $1,335 during the 2010 mining season, with only 5.4 percent of mining claims yielding revenues in excess of $5,000.
Most miners do not hold valid mining licenses for their claims. Nonetheless, miners subjectively attach a high degree of importance to having a license, as 98 percent said that having a license was “very important.” The reasons given most often were to prevent loss of the claims, avoid conflicts with the police and government, and avoid conflicts with other miners.
Familiarity with the Kimberley Process (KP) was very limited among the miners. Over half had never heard of the KP. Only 7 percent were able to correctly answer four questions on the provisions of the KP. The results suggest there is substantial scope for expanding awareness of the KP in the PRADD project area.
The survey results indicate that conflicts over mining claims are common in the study area, with 18.6 percent of miners reporting having had at least one conflict related to their claims. The most common source of conflict is over the boundaries of claims, which accounted for 44.2 percent of the observed conflicts. Disputes between local miners over who has rights to a particular claim were also common, while disputes with outsiders and disputes related to prospecting each accounted for 10.5 percent of the total conflicts. Miners also show significant concern about future conflicts, as 39.9 percent say they are “very worried” that they could have conflicts in the future.
Our analytical econometric results suggest that there are no substantial differences between the prices that miners receive given the quality of the diamonds. Thus, it does not appear to be the case that some miners are able to get better prices than others. However, diamond revenues are substantially higher for miners who sell to licensed brokers and register their diamonds with the Government Diamond Office (GDO).