Australia is one of the most diverse countries in terms of people, land forms, industries and definitely mineral resources also. The world’s smallest continent and biggest island has a huge stockpile of fancy coloured diamonds.
The Argyle mine, towards the north of Australia, operated by Rio Tinto is one of the leading mines in generating fancy coloured diamonds. Pink, purple, red, orange and yellow are some of the colours of diamonds found here. Although, the clarity of Australian diamonds is low, they have a large market in the world due to the fancy colours.
Australian diamonds, first discovered in 1980s, is believed to be responsible for the rise of the cutting industry of India. Since then, Indians have been cutting majority of the world’s rough diamonds.
Botswana, in the southern region of African continent, is the leading producer of diamonds in terms of value. It is the base of DeBeers, of the leaders in the diamond mining and exploration. DeBeers and the Botswana government work together as a joint venture by the name of Debswana.
Botswana attracted very high investments and attention from all around the world after its first diamonds were discovered in 1970s. The diamond mining industry has proved to empower the local youth of Botswana by providing employment and education to hundreds of local. With the earned profits from the lands of Botswana, the mining companies believe in giving back to the society through the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility. There is huge positive change in the country before and after the diamond discovery.
The lands of Botswana has produced more than 800 million carats since operations began in 1970s. More than 20 lakh lives have been touched by the industry. Diamonds accounts for more than 70% exports by value.
2 big mines operated in Botswana are namely – Jwaneng and Orapa Mine.
Canada is the most recent diamond mine of the world on such a large scale. After major diamond discoveries in Africa, no one had thought that Canada will turn out to be such a big diamond producer. All this started, when 2 young geologists namely Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson, found evidence of diamond bearing kimberlite pipes in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Diamonds in Canada are mined and processed in some of the most extreme conditions. The temperatures fall as low as -40 degree Celsius which makes it extremely difficult to function. This hasn’t stopped Canada from being the world’s leading diamond producer. The mining companies had to make sure the flora and fauna of the region is not disturbed and follow the strict government regulations. After immense planning, the Ekati mine which was discovered in 1981, started its operations in 1998. Canada produced about 23 million carats valued at $ 2.7 billion in 2017.
2 big mines operated in Canada are namely – Ekati Mine and Diavik Mine.
The Cullinan diamond is the biggest diamond ever found in history weighing about 3106.75 carats in its rough form. The discovery happened on January 26, 1905 and its news spread like wild fire and caused an 80 fold jump in the share price of Premier Diamond Mining Company Ltd.
A legend goes that J.J. Asscher, who was responsible for cutting the Cullinan spent a whole year in studying the rough diamond. When the day arrived to actually make the cleave, Sir J.J. Asscher held the diamond and the tools but fainted before he could do anything due to immense responsibility and pressure bestowed upon him. Finally he cleaved it and 2 stones weighing 2029 ct. and 1977 ct respectively were formed.
Thefirst diamond of South Africa, called the Eureka, was discovered by a 15 year old boy named Erasmus Jacobs in 1867 in a small farm in Kimberley. This discovery led to the so called Mineral Revolution where thousands of people left their homes and came to Kimberley in search of diamonds. Kimberley, from a village, soon became a town with a population of more than 50,000. South Africa has a very important history associated with diamond exploration. There are several museums one can visit in South Africa if interested in diamonds and its history.
Other countries producing significant quantity of diamonds are Zimbave, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and Brazil.