I am dedicating this page to a great man and a close friend. I have seen many diamond miners in Sierra Leone and West Africa and this man is the best of the best in more ways than one. We worked together in 1997 the first time in Sierra Leone and then I hired him to work with our small company called Pride Diamonds in 2006. I hired one son as well, Rupert. The other son I had met back in 1997 in the Kono area of Sierra Leone.His name is Otto. This whole family are divers and have worked around the world diving for diamonds and gold. They areexceptional men and true friends. Hector was fun to be around and was always smiling and joking with us. When we were not in good mood he would always find a way to pick us up. He was willing to do whatever it took to get the job done and if he had to more than his share that was fine with him. When he could he would come to our home and eat dinner and he was always the gentleman and never looked down on anyone in the country and that was unusual for a South African. Hector believed in treating people equal and he was exceptionally honest. He and he sons had a work ethic I have not seen in any other divers, both South African or local. All in all he was a great guy and a truly good person. We will miss him as he was a well known figure in Sierra Leone to many people and government people as well. Hector will be missed and I know he is resting in peace. It was nice to know you brother and I will always miss you.
Gregg and Yema
Hi and welcome to the place where you can go and mine diamonds for fun and profit. While you are freezing your buns off in some cold nasty part of the world, in the winter time, you could be in sunny Sierra Leone trying your hand at the fine and fun "art" of mining diamonds and seeing how your diamond ring came to be.
We offer a "mining tour" if you like and we can take you and let you do it yourself or watch the others do the hard work and you reap the benefits. Of course nothing is guaranteed as mining is a gamble but when you make it you can do very well. So look over the photos and see what you think and if you have the adventurous spirit, then leave a message on the Message section and we will get back to you with more information and costs.
I lived there for twelve years and I know the country and the people. I also know of one or two areas that are known to have diamonds and we would start there rather then doing a lot of exploring.
Enjoy the photos and have a good day. Please click on the photos to see larger images of them.
Gregg, and Yema
Some Mining Photos from Several Places in Sierra Leone
Me working on the "Rocker".
A sacrifice for good luck.
Ladies who would cook for us daily.
Our pit each day when we arrived.
Payday at the site.
PC's wife trying to influence me.
Our pit in early stages.
Gathering the diamond gravel in light brown gravel.
More diamond gravel.
Devil "Mamy Watta"
Locally made wash plant
Palm wine in local container
"Moot Moot" Bite ten minutes later.
Putu Putu, a diving machine.
Bored to death watching the gravel washing.
Another view of the "Rocker"
Relaxing at Swarry Kunda Guesthouse after hard day of diamond buying
Seasons find of diamonds in Lowoma.
Mined out pit in kono area.
Building the banks for the river.
Goldfield washplant we used.
Washing the diamond gravel by hand.
Arie watching the washing.
All you need to mine the local way.
My wife supervising the work.
One ton of gravel 3x3x3 feet square
Wedding in Kenama at our house.
Chico, the camp/village mascot
Daily welcoming committee
Rain storm slowing things up.
The Disco Virgin, the only watering hole in town.
Not much of a disco and dont know about the virgins. :)
Arie watching something?
Arie soaking his feet, I guess.
As you can see there is all sorts of things going on all the time at the site. The kids would come by to say hi (instead of being in school) and Arie and I would buy lunch for them. The ladies in the photo would come and cook for us everyday. They would go to other sites as well but we seemed to pay the most so they favored us!
It would take about $4 to buy all the beans and rice that the kids could hold and it was fun to feed them. Eventually the would bring fruit for us so it was a good deal all around. It seems every village has a monkey as a mascot and this village was no different. His name is "Chico" and that seems to be a standard name for them in Sierra Leone.
The roads are very narrow with no markers for the edge and you can see the car almost went over the side. The right front wheel was hanging in the air over the ditch about 15 feet below and the back right was in the air as you can see. I had to run and ask the UN for help and they came and saved the day for us. This was the Pakistani Contingent stationed outside of Kenama.
Other photos show the washing of the diamond gravel by hand and with the Goldfields plant which is very good. You will see one large plant being carried and one working and you can see the vast difference in the more modern machine and the locally made one. Both work OK but the small Goldfields is more efficient and no one can get into the hopper to take the diamonds with the Goldfields.
You will see photos of the local wash plants and you can compare them to the Goldfields one that is working at the site. In other photos we are paying the workers and in others the paramount Chiefs wife is trying to badger us into taking more of her family on the site when we did not need any more help. The one photo of me is my version of Tiny Tim's "Tiptoeing through the tulips" as I measure the site with the gps.
The one photo that looks like a spaceman is one version of what the devil, Mammy Watta, looks like. She is the devil over all water there and there are various drawings of her. to me it looks like something Eric Von Daniken should see! My wife says that other photos of her look like mermaids as well.
The eggs wrapped up in the banana leafs is a "sara"(sacrifice) to insure a good season. Well I hate to say it but it must have been a defective sacrifice as we did not find anywhere near enough diamonds to pay for the costs. But then again as i said above mining is a gamble that can pay good, bad or not all all. In this site it was basically not at all. The diamonds shown are from another site in another part of the country.
The setup with the freon bottle and compressor and motor is another local version of what we use with dredges. The take the air conditioning pump from a car and add a gas engine to it. Then they run the hose from one side of the valve to the pump and the other to the divers mouth and they dive to about 30 feet and scoop up the gravel in buckets. It is simple but it does the job but they are hampered by not being able to go deep and that is good for us.
The one photo of the pit filled with water is what we faced each day as we were in a swamp and had to pump the water out each day before we could start the mining.
I have about 300 photos of the mining all over Sierra Leone but I think these catch the atmosphere of the way the locals mine. In some of the photos you see Arie, my true friend and like a brother to me and a great help to my wife and I when times are hard.
If you would like to experience this adventure and possibly make some money let us know and we will get all the details to you as soon as possible.
The photo of the diamonds are the ones I mined in 2006. They were valued at $50,000 and when cut and polished they were valued at $120,000.
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into what it takes to get the diamond you or your loved is wearing.