Metals and Minerals Smuggling

Information and statistics about metals and minerals smuggling. Data about gold smuggling, diamond smuggling and other precious metals are collected from intelligence reports, security agencies and other public information sources.

In 2008, the Governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank told a conference that 10,000 people were entering Zimbabwe each month to work in the illicit diamond trade.


The ” blood diamond” market, or diamonds smuggled and trafficked for illicit products,  is estimated  to  amount  up to 4 percent of the $7 billion global diamond market, or $280 Million.


Diamond smuggling in the Ivory Coast leads to $23 Million worth of diamonds to leave the country each year.

$23 million of diamonds smuggled out of Ivory Coast each year.

(Additional illicit products sold around the world.)



Officials from Botswana, the world’s biggest producer of high-quality minerals, reported to participants of the Kimberley Process that 99.8 percent of the world’s diamonds are being certified as legitimate.

(Environmental Crimes around the world.)


Although Venezuela is estimated to produce 150,000 carets of diamonds annually, it has officially exported none since 2005.


In the 1990s, it was estimated that as much as 25 percent of the world’s diamonds were in some way illicit (used for money laundering, tax evasion, purchasing drugs, weapons and other goods, or were stolen).


Author Larry Kahaner reported on the value of diamonds as an illicit product. Kahaner stated that “Diamonds and other gemstones are perfect for moving wealth around they are small, hold their value, and are universally acceptable as barter, don’t set off airport metal detectors, and can easily be converted to cash.”

Source: Larry Kahaner, AK-47: The Weapon That Changed The Face Of War, (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2007), pg. 90.