Those sparkling diamonds in the shops of Bond Street and Hatton Garden look wonderful. But where do they come from?
The diamond industry pipeline starts with mining, then rough trading, manufacturing/cutting, jewellery setting and finally retailing. Producer countries are rich in natural resources. Other countries have special creative skills, financing and high tech developments that make them manufacturing centres. Yet other regions are consuming markets.
Producing countries are countries where diamonds are found and mined. There are two major bands around planet Earth, the northern band and the southern band. A third centre band also has diamonds but of lower quantity and value.
The Northern band includes Russia and Canada, two of the leading diamond-producing countries. The Southern band includes Southern African states such as Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, as well as Australia. The centre band includes the Ivory Coast , Sierra Leone and DRC in Africa, together with Venezuela and Brazil in South America. Some diamonds are not without conflict, but the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme has improved matters.
The top five producing countries by volume of production are Russia, Botswana,the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Australia and Canada. Russia holds what is believed to be the world’s largest and richest diamond resources.
Botswana is the world’s leading diamond-producing country in terms of value, and the second largest in terms of volume. This is the home base of De Beers, and the source of most of its production today. In 2013, Botswana produced 23.2 million carats with a stated value of $3.63 billion. Botswana has seven mines. The two important ones are Orapa and Jwaneng, two of the most prolific diamond mines in the world. Both are operated by De Beers, which also operates Letlhakane and Damtshaa. Lucara operates the Karowe mine, Kimberly Diamonds operates Lerala, and Gem Diamonds runs Ghaghoo. Thanks to great report here.
Many of the top quality diamonds you see in London’s shops are from Botswana. Production in Botswana is a great success story and has transformed the country and its 2.5 million people. Here is the story of Botwana’s success –
At the time of its independence from UK in 1966, the country had few paved roads and few secondary school graduates. Its economy was that of subsistence farming and cattle. The country and the lives of its just 2.5m people were transformed when, some say by luck, just four years after independence, diamonds were discovered at Jwaneng. In 50 years the country has gone from being one of the poorest in Africa to one of the wealthiest and most stable, thanks to the discovery of diamonds, its long-standing partnership with mining house De Beers, and its wise Government. Thanks to great Telegraph report here.
De Beers is now within Anglo American plc, a multinational mining company based in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, United Kingdom. You’ll find the UK offices at Carlton House Terrace, street view here.
And Botswana is blessed with another jewel – its spectacular wild life.