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Where are diamond reserves concentrated in Africa?

Until the 18th century India and Borneo were the only suppliers of diamonds. These countries are also the place of origin of some of the largest and most famous diamonds, including the Kohinoor, Great Mogul, Orlov or blue Hope. However, at present these deposits play a minor role.

Australia

Australia is one of the largest diamond producing countries in the world. Currently, the main production is concentrated in the west of the continent in the Kimberley region (not to be confused with the Kimberley in South Africa!), where primary development of the Argyle deposit is underway in a pipe called AKI. According to available information, this mine currently ranks first in the world in terms of production volume. In 1998, the mine reached its peak, producing more than 43 million carats of diamonds in one year. It is expected that the deposit will be fully exploited in 2018. The concentration of diamonds in Australian lamproites is many times higher than the average for kimberlite pipes around the world. The AKI pipe contains 7 carats per ton of rock. For the most part, inexpensive gem-quality diamonds are mined here. However, although rare, unique pink diamonds are also discovered here, the interest in which is so great around the world that they are sold individually at special auctions.

Botswana

The country, which borders the Republic of South Africa, has rich deposits of diamonds of exceptional quality. Most of Botswana’s territory is sandy desert. The discovery of several diamonds in river sediments stimulated geological exploration, during which first the Orapa kimberlite pipe was discovered (in 1967), which still ranks third in the world in terms of diamond reserves, and later, in 1973, the Ywaneng pipes and in 1977 – Letlhakane, the field is already fully developed. When developing the Yvaneng field, among other things, it was necessary to build a 50 km long water pipeline to it. A power station was also built to supply the diamond mine and the city built for the development of the deposit with electricity. The city has everything necessary for the most comfortable living for people working in the middle of the barren desert. The mine, which produces about half the world’s gem diamonds, has the highest productivity of any diamond mine in the world. All of Botswana’s mines are operated by Debswana Diamond Company Ltd. It is a joint venture between De Beers and the Government of Botswana, with each partner holding equal shares.

Russia

Russian deposits are also rich, most of which were explored between 1954 and 1959. Since that time, the volume of diamond production from Russian mines has amounted to about 150 million carats, a fifth of which can be used for jewelry and investment. Diamond-bearing veins are located in the Yakut region and Siberia. Only a small amount of the several hundred local kimberlite pipes contain diamonds. The most famous are the Mir and Udachny deposits, which rank fourth in the world in terms of productivity. The Yubileiny mine ranks eighth. The stones here are somewhat larger in diameter than at other deposits, and their quality is, as a rule, very high. About 37% of mined diamonds are used in the jewelry industry. Diamonds are mined here under very difficult conditions: frosts in some places reach several tens of degrees, and the soil freezes to a depth of 300 meters, which significantly increases the cost of mining. The right to it belongs to the Alrosa company, the main share of ownership of which belongs to the state.

South African problem

Some of the most famous diamond mines are in South Africa, where a diamond rush broke out at the end of the 1866th century. The history of diamonds in South Africa began in 21, when farmer Schalk van Niekerk noticed a sparkling pebble in the hands of a neighbor boy. The stone was named “Eureka”, in our time it is exhibited in a museum in Kimberley and weighs 1869 carats. In 83,5, another discovery followed – a magnificent diamond weighing 1870 carats, called the “Star of South Africa”. It was he who caused the diamond fever. Over the course of several years, important outcrops of diamond-bearing kimberlites were discovered – Jagersfontein – in August 1870, then, in September 1871 – Dutoispan, Bultfontein – in early 1871, De Beers – in the spring of 1871, Kimberley – in July 1890, Wesselton – in September 1896, Premier – in 1965 and one of the more recent Finsch – in 1. Currently, the largest volume of production among the South African mines is the Finsch kimberlite, which operates on the basis of the last explored deposit and ranks tenth in the world in terms of mining productivity. Some fields were finally closed (Jagersfontein, Kimberley), others continue to be developed to this day (Dutoispan, etc.). The productivity of kimberlites in South Africa ranges from about 3000 carat of diamonds per ton of mined rock. Lots of high quality stones. Thus, it was in the South African mines that the largest diamond known to date, the Cullinan, was mined, weighing more than XNUMX carats in its rough form.

Canada

The most recently explored deposits in the world are the Diavik mine (sixth place in productivity, preparations for deep mining are underway) and Ekati mine (seventh place in productivity). Both mines are located in northern Canada. In 1985, in the northern province of Lac de Grace, where frosts persist most of the year, geologists Chuck Fipke and Stevan Blusson discovered heavy minerals indicating the presence of diamond-bearing kimberlites. A thorough geological exploration that followed this discovery revealed the presence of a kimberlite pipe containing high-quality diamonds suitable for use in jewelry. A mine was built, and development of the deposit began in 1999. BHP Diamonds Inc., the largest shareholder, markets only high quality stones cut directly in Canada. Each diamond mined from the Ekati mine must weigh at least 0,3 carats and come with three certificates: a certificate of authenticity and quality issued by the American Gem Society Laboratories (AGS), a certificate from the Government of the Northwest Territory confirming that the diamond has Canadian origin, and, finally, a company certificate guaranteeing that the stone was mined at the Ekati mine. It is assumed that the deposit’s reserves will be sufficient for 25 years of production, i.e. until 2023. Interestingly, it is possible to get to the mine by land only in winter, when the soil freezes.

Angola

The Catoca mine in Angola ranks ninth in the world in terms of mining productivity. It was founded only in 1997, and its production volumes are constantly growing. In 2007, an average annual production of 6,1 million carats was achieved.

Namibia

The uninhabited coast of Namibia has long been called the “Skeleton Coast” by sailors. And for a long time no one could have imagined that it was in the sands of this coast that high concentrations of high-quality diamonds were hidden. It is very difficult to mine here. First of all, it is necessary to raise several meters of thick sediments that do not contain any diamonds. The waste soil is then used to build high, twenty-meter-high coastal embankments. Developments are carried out in compliance with the strictest security measures: no machines and equipment (excavators, trucks, processing machines) delivered to the diamond-bearing territory can leave it under any circumstances, since a full inspection of vehicles leaving the territory, or the possible loss of stones, would be more expensive the price of any car left outside the territory. The boundaries of the area where mining is carried out are also strictly patrolled, both from the ocean and the continent. The fact that the stones located in the coastal sediments had to endure an incredibly long journey to the top determined the high grade of diamonds mined here. Only the highest quality stones can withstand such a journey. The rest, passing this long, several hundred kilometers, path, accompanied by constant friction with other components of the sedimentary rock, are destroyed. As a result, 95% of the stones mined here are gem-quality diamonds.

Other diamond deposits

In Africa, diamonds are discovered and developed in a number of other countries – Lesotho, Zaire, Tanzania. Central African Republic, further north in equatorial Africa is Ghana. Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Global diamond production exceeds 100 million carats per year. 80% of this amount are industrial diamonds, and about 20% are jewelry stones. De Beers operates 20 mines in southern Africa, producing approximately 30 million carats, approximately 40% of global production. Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond producer, will develop mining at new deposits in Zimbabwe. For this purpose, the company Alrosa (Zimbabwe) Limited was established in the capital of the republic, Harare, Alrosa General Director Sergei Ivanov said on Monday, January 14, following a meeting with President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa. The Alrosa subsidiary will engage in exploration, search and production of minerals with the prospect of creating joint diamond mining and other mining enterprises. Alrosa is ready to both develop joint projects for geological exploration and diamond mining in Zimbabwe, and to support the country in developing its own diamond mining industry, the press service reports Ivanov’s words. The company’s investments and activities in Zimbabwe will be determined based on the results of preliminary work by Alrosa specialists who will arrive in the country in February, a company representative explained. According to Alrosa, Africa accounts for 47% of the world’s diamond reserves. The company had been conducting exploration work in Zimbabwe since 2013, but withdrew in 2016 following reforms of the country’s diamond mining sector. Now in Zimbabwe, everything is changing rapidly, says Nikolai Sosnovsky, director of metallurgy and mining at Prosperity Capital Management: “After the change of government, the attitude towards investors has become more friendly, the government is again trying to attract them.”

Alrosa wants to increase its share in the Angolan project Catoca

Business/Industry “The main region of the company’s presence – Yakutia – has already been heavily explored; the prospects for discovering light objects there are small. And in Africa there is a chance to discover new large objects,” Sosnovsky continues. “Remembering its success in Angola, Alrosa is trying, with relatively small means, to guarantee its presence in a region that is potentially important in terms of future production.” In 1993, with the participation of Alrosa, the joint venture Catoca was created in Angola, in which the Russian company owns 41%. The Angolan state-owned company Endiama has the same amount. Katoka is developing the Luashe field. Its production is about 7 million carats annually, Ivanov cited data in an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel in the spring of 2018. The risks in Africa are higher than in Russia, emphasizes senior analyst at BCS Global Markets Oleg Petropavlovsky: “But in the long term, deposits around the world will continue to be depleted, so the search for new facilities is justified.” According to his estimates, Alrosa’s costs for geological exploration in Zimbabwe in the near future will not exceed several tens of millions of dollars. The expected volume of capital expenditures at the end of 2018 is RUB 28,3 billion. (about $422 million), thus geological exploration of new sites in Zimbabwe may account for slightly more than 2% of total investment. Back in 2012, Alrosa developed a “Project Development Strategy in Africa” and it corresponds to the company’s new development strategy until 2024, adopted in 2018, says an Alrosa representative. The company is interested in increasing its presence in African countries, in searching and implementing geological exploration projects and creating new diamond mining enterprises on the continent, he explains. “Given the growth of the middle class and, accordingly, the consumption of diamond jewelry in emerging markets, in the near future we can expect an increase in the volume of African diamonds on the global market. In these conditions, it is necessary to establish mutually beneficial cooperation between African countries and foreign partners,” concluded the representative of the diamond company. Contact Us

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Download for Android Online publication Vedomosti Decision of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) dated November 27, 2020 EL No. FS 77-79546 Founder: Business News Media JSC And about. editor-in-chief: Kazmina Irina Sergeevna The site uses IP addresses, cookies and geolocation data of site users; the terms of use are contained in the Personal Data Protection Policy Any use of materials is permitted only if the rules of reprinting are observed and if there is a hyperlink to vedomosti.ru News, analytics, forecasts and other materials, presented on the data site, are not offered or recommended for purchase or sale of any assets. The information resource uses recommendation technologies (information technologies for providing information based on the collection, systematization and analysis of information related to the preferences of Internet users located on the territory of the Russian Federation). All rights reserved © JSC Business News Media, INN/KPP 7712108141/771501001, OGRN 1027739124775, 127018, Moscow, st. Polkovaya, building 3 building 1, room I, floor 2, room 21. 1999—2024 Any use of materials is permitted only if the rules of reprinting are observed and if there is a hyperlink to vedomosti.ru News, analytics, forecasts and other materials, presented on the data site, are not offered or recommended for purchase or sale of any assets. The information resource uses recommendation technologies (information technologies for providing information based on the collection, systematization and analysis of information related to the preferences of Internet users located on the territory of the Russian Federation). All rights reserved © JSC Business News Media, INN/KPP 7712108141/771501001, OGRN 1027739124775, 127018, Moscow, st. Polkovaya, building 3 building 1, room I, floor 2, room 21. 1999—2024 Online publication Vedomosti Decision of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) dated November 27, 2020 EL No. FS 77-79546 Founder: Business News Media JSC And about. editor-in-chief: Kazmina Irina Sergeevna The site uses IP addresses, cookies and geolocation data of site users; the terms of use are contained in the Personal Data Protection Policy

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