Diamonds Are Forever?
As the largest producer of diamonds in the world, diamond mining in Africa is woven into the history of the continent. At once the source of immense wealth, and extreme poverty, the history of diamond mining and the future of the diamond mining industry in Africa is a hot topic around the world.
World Wide Diamond Mining
Though Africa is the world’s leading producer of diamonds, there are large diamond mining operations in Russia, Canada, and Australia. In 2007, the discovery of the Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field in Russia meant that ALROSA, the Russian-owned diamond mining company, would finally be able to compete against the dominance of South African mining conglomerate De Beers.
Where are Diamonds Mined in Africa?
The largest diamond producers in Africa are South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In this south central region, diamonds are mined from kimberlite mines in South Africa, Angola and the DRC, and from alluvial dredging mining operations in Angola, Namibia and again, South Africa. West African diamond mining is mostly from altered kimberlite pipes and eluvial deposits. West African mining operations are on a much smaller scale and many are managed and owned by artisanal miners. The largest diamond mines in Africa are in Botswana: Jwaneng and Orapa. They are also the largest diamond mines in the world.
The most famous diamond mine in the world in Kimberly, South Africa, is now a tourist attraction. The mine was owned by De Beers until 2015, when it was sold to Petra Diamonds and
South African company, Ekapa Mining.
The alluvial diamond mining operations are perhaps of most interest currently: The source of many of the alluvial diamond deposits have not yet been traced. The exploration race is on to find the next big diamond mines.
The Value of Diamonds and Diamond Mining – Uses for Diamonds
Currently, diamond mining in Africa produces around half of the world’s diamonds, however to date, they have produced over 75% of all diamonds. Over 1, 9 billion carats with a value of around $ 158 billion.
Though diamonds have always been associated with the production of jewelry and indeed, it was the De Beers mining company that successfully spearheaded the campaign to introduce diamond engagement rings to the world, they also have an industrial use. As the hardest naturally occurring mineral in the world, diamonds are in demand in the drilling industry, as abrasives, and even in medical equipment.
Diamond Mining in Africa – De Beers
De Beers is the largest diamond mining company in the world with mining operations in 28 countries. It is a global brand and is a company that has received a large amount of criticism over the years for their attempts to control the diamond industry. De Beers was founded in 1888 with the merger between South African companies owned by Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato. Apart from mines in South Africa, De Beers owns mines in Namibia, under the company name Namdeb, and in Botswana as part of a joint venture with the government, under the name Debswana. Not only does De Beers control diamond mining in Africa, it also controls most of the world’s rough diamond sales.