Government red tape is killing an industry that is crucial to the survival of hundreds of small rural towns and communities in SA, says Lyndon de Meillon, deputy chair of the South African Diamond Producers Organisation, which represents small-scale alluvial diamond mining businesses."The alluvial diamond mining industry has been the primary employer in remote rural areas, where existing unemployment levels are upwards of 70%," he says.According to a new report by the Africa Earth Observatory Network (AEON), the industry has collapsed from more than 2,000 businesses employing more than 25,000 people to about 220 employing some 5,000 since 2004, when the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act was implemented.The act, along with Mining Charter 3, makes no distinction between major listed mining companies and small, self-funded entrepreneurial mining operators, who have been squeezed out of business by a crippling compliance burden and bureaucratic indifference to their...

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