- Year Founded: 1888
- Key Founding Individuals: Cecil Rhodes, Alfred Beit
- Key People: Mark Cutifani – Chairman, Bruce Cleaver – CEO
- Mined Resources: Diamonds
- Operational Regions: Worldwide
The De Beers Group of Companies is a leader in diamond exploration, mining, retail, trading and the industrial diamond manufacturing sectors. Its operations include open-pit, large-scale alluvial, coastal and deep sea mining. De Beers operates in 28 countries with mines in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada. Although it lost complete monopoly at the turn of the century, the Group is still a major shareholder responsible for around 35% of the world’s rough diamond production and sales.
De Beers is the namesake of brothers Diederik Arnoldus De Beer and Johannes Nicolaas De Beer, who owned a farm named Vooruitzicht near Zandfontein in the Orange Free State, South Africa where they discovered diamonds. They sold their farm in 1871 to merchant Alfred Johnson Ebden. It later became the site of the Big Hole, the world’s largest open-pit diamond mine, and the De Beer Mine.
The company pioneered the diamond industry’s first online international auction sale in 2008. It is now the world leader in this type of auction sale.
“Pursuing brilliance” is the catchphrase used by De Beers to encompass its values: “Be passionate, pull together, build trust, show we care, and shape the future.”
Its purpose: “to turn diamond dreams into lasting reality for the benefit of our customers and our stakeholders”.
De Beers believes that embracing its vision and values will strengthen its brand.
Working sustainably is an integral part of its business strategy to protect its licence to operate and consumers’ confidence in its product. They call it “Building Forever”, a term which describes its commitment to creating a lasting positive legacy. It aims to maximise sustainable value from the natural resource in the counties in which it operates. It uses its position to deliver socio-economic benefit to communities through close partnerships with governments. Beyond the revenues paid to governments, socio-economic benefit is created through enterprise development, local procurement and infrastructure development.
De Beers acknowledges that its long-term success depends upon its strong ethical foundation. Its Best Practice Principles (BPPs) assurance programme provides a set of mandatory environmental, social and ethical requirements applied to all operations. It is committed to identifying, managing and reducing human rights issues within its operations by means of a Human Rights Working Group.
The Group seeks to employ locally and develop skills in the countries where it operates. Efforts are focused on four areas: employing the best people; developing the right leaders; providing an energising work environment; and developing excellence in its human resources systems.
De Beers recognises that the sustainable management of the natural environment is vital to the future prosperity of its partner countries. Therefore it strives to steward and protect the environment to support healthy ecosystems and thriving communities after its operations cease. Its Environmental Standards cover five key areas: water; energy/climate change; lifecycle planning and management; hazardous substances, waste and emissions; and biodiversity.