afrol News, 25 January - The Société Minière de Bakwanga (Miba), the main diamond mining company in the Congo Kinshasa (DRC) had recorded a sharp drop in diamond export last year. Despite more peaceful times, its export had fallen by 80 percent thus making it impossible for the state-owned firm to pay thousands of its employees for four months.
Again, violent conflicts have been blamed as the main cause of the sharp drop in diamond outputs, as fears of insecurity continued to loom over miners who could not use expensive mining machines.
According to official figures, Miba exported 545,000 carats of diamonds from June to December 2006, compared to over 2.5 millions in the same period the previous year.
Gustave Luabeya, head of Miba told the British state broadcaster 'BBC' that the overall output of his firm has fallen by some 50 percent.
While Congo Kinshasa's first elections in over 40 years have been hailed by the international community, Mr Luabeya said the time was not easy for Miba because the region of Kasaai is an opposition stronghold. Kasaai is the main operation field for the diamond company.
He said his company had bought an expensive dragline with the hope of increasing production but the refusal of the seller to send an expert on time had rendered the machine useless.
About 10,000 clandestine miners were reported to have entered Miba's open mine everyday, which creates more security problems, resulting to killings of the company's staff.
Miba is limping with several problems, which if not addressed, would continue to create economic doom for the employees who are battling with their survival.
Geological experts believe that Congo Kinshasa is sitting on huge deposits of very many natural resources, including diamonds, coltan and oil. But decades of extreme corruption and the long war in the country made it impossible for the government to effectively concentrate on mining these resources so as to service the economy as well as ensure better living conditions for its citizens.
After 40 years, the Congolese conducted free elections late last year. They elected incumbent President Joseph Kabila to power in a bitterly contested elections characterised with bloody violence, as the runner-up, former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, described the elections as not free and fair.
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