The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

Diamonds were first discovered in Sierra Leone in the 1930s and the Sierra Leone Selection Trust, a company which was part of the Selection Trust - Selection Trust was a very large, one of the largest, international mining firms of the day. It was taken over eventually by BP, but Selection Trust owned the Sierra Leone Selection Trust. At the beginning, Sierra Leone Selection Trust had a lease on the entire territory of Sierra Leone. In other words, they had the sole right to do all mining in Sierra Leone. It became fairly clear by the 1950s that this was not viable. They could not manage the entire country and there was a lot of illicit behaviour as well, and so their lease was contracted to an area around - well, an area in Kono District and an area around Tongo Field. In the 1950s, the government allowed licensing of artisanal diamond miners and so there was small scale mining as well as large scale mining. And on top of that - that is all the legal side of things. On top of that there was a great deal of illicit digging as well.

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