When we talk of luxury, wealth and power, no other gemstone symbolises these greater than the diamond. Diamonds are the strongest, most valuable rocks on earth. Throughout history, countless have risked their lives in pursuit of diamonds, and governments have literally moved mountains and civilisations just to get to these precious prizes.
It’s no wonder that today, there are more than 30 active diamond mines throughout the world, each producing millions of carats of diamonds every year. Here we list down some of the largest of those diamond producers, and what makes them the supreme suppliers of these shining, sparkling stones.
Argyle Diamond Mine, Western Australia
Owned solely by the multinational mining corporation Rio Tinto Group, the Argyle Diamond Mine is said to be the largest producer of diamonds in the world. It produces roughly 20 per cent of the world’s natural diamonds, though only a small percentage can be considered gem-grade. Majority of the diamonds it produces are industrial grade diamonds which are used in various other applications such as cutting, polishing, and in different areas of construction.
Aside from being the largest diamond producer to date, what makes the Argyle Diamond Mine most distinctive is its production of rare pink diamonds. It currently contributes around 90 per cent of the world’s supply of pink diamonds, and is a significant producer of various other rare coloured diamonds as well. These include brown, red and purple toned diamonds, all of which warrant a very high demand and consequently high prices.
In recent years, the Rio Tinto Group has decided to expand the Argyle Diamond Mine. In partnership with major mining assets provider Tenix, Rio Tinto will soon turn the Argyle Diamond Mine into an underground mine from being an open-pit one, thereby extending the lifespan of the mine for at least 7 more years.
Orapa Diamond Mine & Jwaneng Diamond Mine, Botswana
The Orapa Diamond Mine may not be the largest producer of diamonds, but it is the largest diamond mine there is, spanning 118 square kilometres. It is one of the major contributors to Botswana’s success as the world’s largest diamond producing country, alongside its neighbouring mine and the most valuable mine in the world, the Jwaneng Diamond Mine.
The Jwaneng Diamond Mine is one of the newer mines in Botswana, having started operations in 1982, while Orapa is by far the oldest. Jwaneng earned the title as the richest mine in the world as it produces significant amounts of high grade ore at a high rate of extraction. Both Jwaneng and Orapa mines are owned by Debswana, a union of the government of Botswana and the largest well-known diamond supplier in the world, De Beers.
Venetia Diamond Mine, South Africa
The Venetia Diamond Mine is a major asset of South Africa as it produces the largest quantity of diamonds in the country. It currently supplies 40 per cent of the total number produced annually, and is one of six mines in South Africa owned by the diamond giant, De Beers.
Due to their limited period of productivity some of the world’s largest mines are no longer active, and eventually these big diamond basins will become inactive as well. But until then, they will continue to be the world’s major sources for the finest stone in nature.
Debra Wright blogs about a plethora of topics including heavy industrial, mining and other fields. Wright considers Tenix as one of the leaders in providing infrastructure solutions.
Enjoy our Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring post here.