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Published on 04/11/2016
Published on 11/19/2015
After Traveling Africa, Diamond Hunter Arrives in Brazil
05/25/2015 - 09h14
BRUNO VILLAS BÔAS
After more than two decades searching for diamonds in African countries, Canadian geologist Kenneth Wesley Johnson, 57, is about to begin extracting the precious stone in the interior of Brazil.
Johnson has invested US$ 44.2 million with Canadian and European partners in a mine in the Northeast, five hours from Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia.
"My experience in Africa lasted two decades and was not successful. I didn't develop a world-class mine," he said.
He decided to go to Venezuela, which he left for lack of respect for private property, and from there went to Brazil, where he has been for three and a half years. He married a Brazilian woman and the two have a daughter.
De Beers, who dropped out of the business, previously explored the area Johnson invested in.
"In the region many people are poor by Brazilian standards, but compared to what I saw in Africa, they live like kings. They have a lot of difficulties, but they have water and electricity," he said.
According to Johnson, the area is not large, but it has top-five quality diamonds and the potential to increase by seven times the annual output of diamonds in Brazil.
He complains, however, of the difficulty in understanding the legislation and bureaucracy in the country. "I like working here, but Brazil is not cheap."
Translated by JILL LANGLOIS