Billionaire Beny Steinmetz is back to mining diamonds.
The Koidu mine in Sierra Leone, controlled by the billionaire’s family trust, has started mining again after halting production for almost a year.
In 2015, the mine became part of a fight between Steinmetz’s BSG Resources and the government that involved BSGR’s chief executive betraying its owners in secretly taped conversations.
In the past year, BSGR has worked to bring the mine back to life.
Diamonds from the mine sell for an average of about $300 a carat, with only Gem Diamonds’ Letseng mine and Lucara Diamond’s Karowe selling for higher prices.
The diamond mine is BSGR’s only operating asset and has become something of a rebuke to wider claims that it’s only interested in flipping assets for a quick profit.
Once one of the great hopes of West African mining, the industry has been hit by the iron-ore price collapse and Ebola epidemic that forced two of its biggest mines out of business.