There has been a mistaken perception over the last couple of decades that diamond mines around the world are running on “Empty” and that they will soon be mined out. This would create a demand over supply situation unless new discoveries are made. However, diamond production figures have a different story to tell. Year upon year, production has been constant at around 130 million carats without any signs of any significant fall. This has been possible due to large discoveries made in Canada with Gahcho Kue set to produce almost 5 million carats annually.
How does this stack up against other the top and famous diamond mines around the world? Here is a list of them in no particular order of priority.
- Botuobinskaya, Russia – This mine is located in the Yakutia region of Russia, about 200km northwest of Nyurba in the Nakyn Kimberlite field. Even though it began commercial production only in 2015, it has ramped up an impressive 1.5 million carats by 2016. It is estimated that the reserves standing at 69.3 million will last for another 30 years. Additionally it is also a high grade mine with an output of 5.2 carats per tonne. It is operated by Russian major ALROSA.
- Argyle, Australia – The Argyle mine has been in production since 1982 and has been the source of almost 750 million carats since then. In 2014, it went from an open pit mine to underground operations. It is estimated that it still has 93 million carats in reserve and is expected to last another 5 years before being fully depleted.
Argyle is the largest source of fancy red and pink coloured diamonds of low quality which is a great boon to those who would like to sport one but do not have the means to buy a solitaire or an expensive colourless stone. So next time you need an affordable diamond ring and pick a piece from adc.com.au, the chances are that it was mined at Argyle. For the full range of diamond jewellery that will not blow away your savings, navigate here on this site.
- Catoca, Angola – In 2016, the output of Catoca was about 6.5 million carats, making it one of the largest in the world. But what makes it stand out amongst the other mines is the quantum of reserves at an estimated 110 million carats with a projected life span till 2034. Production can be carried on after that for another 6 to 8 years once it shifts to underground mining at this stage. Catoca is the largest diamond mine in Angola and is jointly operated by ENDIAMA, the state run mining corporation of the country and ARLOSA of Russia. It has been in production since 1997 and is considered to be among the oldest in-production diamond mines in the world today.
- Orapa, Botswana – Orapa is one of the largest diamond mines in the world in terms of reserves which is calculated at 151.4 million carats. Situated 500km from capital Gaborone in Central Botswana, the mine was discovered in 1961, soon after the country’s independence from Britain. Commercial production started in 1971 with top output levels achieved in 2006 at 17.3 million carats. The mine is operated by Debswana, a joint venture between the Botswana Government and the diamond mining giant De Beers. The surface area is the largest in the world for diamond mines covering almost 188 square kilometres. Production is expected to last to about 2033.
While reserves at diamond mines are rapidly depleting the world over, it is also true that advanced equipment and technological innovations in mining are extending the life span of some of these mines by plumbing to lower levels below the surface. However, natural diamonds are a finite resource and there is no doubt that existing known reserves all over the world will come to an end unless new discoveries are made quickly.