Most diamond consumers occupy themselves with details relating to the 4Cs, and all around education. And, while everyone looks at the prices, people are generally less concerned with the origin of the diamond. However, the diamond’s source can tell you a lot about the diamond, and can also help you understand and appreciate the journey and history of just how far that diamond has come.
While diamonds are found all over the globe, there are certain areas that are richer in diamonds than others. This is where some of the world’s largest diamond mines can be found. There are also areas known to produce specific stones more than others. For example, when talking about natural pink diamonds, the name Argyle immediately comes up, referring of course to the Argyle mine in Australia which produces a large amount of pink diamonds. As important and as large as this mine is, there are even larger mines that are less heard of. In fact, many will be surprised to hear that half of the world’s ten largest diamond mines are in Russia. The other half spans over two continents: Australia and Africa. Let us take a glance at these significant mines, the number of diamonds they produce, and what type of diamonds can be expected to be found in these locations.
As the largest country in the world in terms of landmass, it is only logical that a great deal of the ten biggest diamond mines in the world would be found in Russia. Jubilee is the largest diamond mine in the world and is located in Sakha (Yakutia) in the Republic of Russia. The mine contains an open-pit mine and is owned and operated by a division of Russia’s state-owned diamond company, Alrosa. The second largest mine in the world is also found in Russia. Udachny is located in the Yakutia region and is owned by Alrosa as well. Mir is the third largest diamond mine, also found in the Yakutia area of Russia. Grib is Russia’s fourth largest diamond mine, and the seventh largest in the world. It is being developed by the Russia oil company, Lukoil. Russia’s fifth largest diamond mine is Botuobinskaya, and the world’s tenth largest diamond mine.
The Argyle mine in Australia is the world’s fourth largest diamond mine and is Australia’s claim to fame in the world of diamonds. Since the island country is only a fraction of the size of Russia, it is most certainly impressive to have a mine of this stature. The diamond mine is owned by Rio Tinto and has been producing diamonds since 1983. The Argyle mine has been primarily operating through its open-pit, but has been focusing far more on underground operations over the past few years. This, in fact, is the first block cave mine in Western Australia.
Angola, South Africa, and Botswana are the three African countries where the remaining largest ten diamonds are found. Catoca is a mine located in Angola and is the fifth largest diamond mine in the world. The sixth largest diamond mine is also located in Africa, the Limpopo Province of South Africa to be exact. This is the Venetia mine, which has been operating since 1993. The Jwaneng mine and the Orapa mine are both located in Botswana and rank eighth and ninth largest diamond mines respectively.
Jwaneng Diamond Mine Buildings | Image courtesy of Wikipedia
While the aforementioned mines are indeed the largest diamond mines on the planet, additional large functioning diamond mines have sprouted in areas across the globe. One of the newest mines is Gahcho Kue, a joint venture between De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds. It is located near the Arctic Circle and is the largest of its kind in the last thirteen years. It is believed that this new mine will be able to make up for the loss of production other Canadian mines have seen even though it is smaller in size.