The secrets of diamond mining are forever

Putting your money where your mouth is

24/7 Wall St says the global diamond mining industry may be one of the world’s best-kept secrets and diamond mining is not unlike the oil business, where about 100 massive fields supply about half the world’s oil.

Until about two decades ago, De Beers effectively controlled 70% to 80% of the rough diamonds market. Because of that control, the company could fix the price of diamonds. Not only that, but those prices were nonnegotiable and could differ from one customer to another. The whole business was shrouded in secrecy that still persists today.

24/7 Wall St. reports in 2010, diamond miners produced more than 133 million carats of the precious stone, which were sold for a total of about $12 billion, according to a report from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

The top five producing countries — Russia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Canada — account for more than 75% of total production by weight. About 175,000 tons of gold have been mined in all of human history. The estimate for total rough diamond production is around 500 tons, of which just 20% to 30% are gem-quality stones.

24/7 Wall St’s look at the ten biggest diamond mines on the planet – with the exception of Alrosa’s Russian projects which are shrouded in secrecy – starts here.

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