Diamonds up the Lomami

There are not many diamond miners up the Lomami. But is that because there are not many diamonds? Or is it only because prospection is just getting started? There are some disturbing signs.

    mining camp on the Lokomue
    A diamond mining camp just north of Obenge

  1. The gems are not small. At least they don’t seem to me to be small. This photo of two diamonds “in hand” is what they showed us at the camp on the Lokomue, a tributary of the Lomami just north of Obenge. We were surprised to see miners there. We thought we had seen the last of the miners 300 km and four days earlier. We thought the diamond “sluicers” on the Lutanga River just south of Opala were the last we would see. But not so.
  2. diamonds from near Obenge
    Diamonds from a tributary of the Lomami River

  3. There was a Congolese “prospector” looking for diamonds in the village of Lisala, not far north from Katopa. He said that he had not found much but there was every reason (like I might have been a competitor) that he would not tell me the truth.
  4. diamond miners with tools of trade
    Diamond miners with the tools of their trade

  5. The chief of the village of Lisala told me privately “there are lots of diamonds in our river” , and he waved his hand in the direction of a tributary of the Lomami. “We are just waiting for you people to come and take them”.

Team 1 arrive at the Tshuapa river
This is the upper Tshuapa, the farthest south west that we got. There was one small diamond camp here as well.

This is what is disturbing in all of this. If there are really diamonds, soon there will be lots of artisanal miners. Just like Terese saw north of Kisangani. And remote diamond camps live off of bushmeat. For now the Lomami forests are still rich with animals, but diamond camps would turn them silent and still.
vieux sage2
The oldest men remember diamond prospectors of the colonial era, but only from the northern Lomami


  1. filip verbelen
    Posted 2007-09-13 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I just discover this most interesting blog, thanks to a hint from Teresa. Excellent work and very exciting indeed. I am just wondering whether you guys are also trying to keep records of birds. There may be also significant discoveries to be made in that respect as well. Any records of Congo Peacock so far ?

  2. Terese
    Posted 2007-09-14 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    good questions. John joins the teams in the TL2 at the end of October and then we will have a first ornithologist. It would be great to have a second!

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