Voices From the Mine: Artisanal Diamonds and Resource Government in Sierra Leone

Weston Studio

This is the launch screening of a new 30 minute documentary film by Dr Roy Maconachie from the University of Bath’s Centre for Development Studies, and Simon Wharf from our Computing Services’ Audio Visual Unit. The film, produced with funding from Humanity United, will shine a light on the realities of life for some of the workers involved in artisanal diamond mining in the country.

Diamond mining is Sierra Leone’s most lucrative export industry, with annual production of up to $US 250 million. But due to poor governance and widespread corruption, only a fraction of this wealth returns to the areas where diamonds are mined. While international traders reap vast rewards, for those in the mining pits, poverty and hardship remain.

The film examines local level governance arrangements in the artisanal diamond mining sector. In exploring some of the governance challenges in artisanal mining, it is suggested that a more nuanced understanding is needed at the micro-level, if we are to hope that policy reforms and international initiatives that address poverty and inequality in the sector will bring about meaningful change.

In collaboration with Simon Wharf, and with support from postdoctoral researcher, Felix Conteh, Roy has researched and filmed in the areas where alluvial diamonds are mined, following through to the traders in Antwerp who are buying diamonds from Sierra Leone, to see if and how they are addressing these challenges.

Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion centring on the issues raised by the film. Stills from the film will also form an exhibition in the foyer area, so come early to have a look around before the screening.

Watch the 4 minute trailer

Roy and Simon have worked together previously, alongside Dr Elizabeth Fortin at the University of Bristol, with their film ‘Gender and Fairtrade: the stories of women cocoa farmers in Ghana’ , scooping a top national award at the Higher Education Oscars hosted by the British Universities Film and Video Council.

Free Admission