Mining Intelligence reveals the latest top ten list ranking the world’s biggest diamond mines
The diamond industry was one of the winners as the economy rebounded from the pandemic. Consumer demand for diamond jewelry grew, while supply remained constrained.
This year, the $80bn industry saw more turmoil as cutters, polishers and traders hunted for ways to keep buying from Russia — Russian miner Alrosa accounts for about a third of global rough-diamond supply. The sudden shortage of stones sent diamond prices surging, but Alrosa PJSC has revived exports to near pre-war levels.
Using data compiled by Mining Intelligence, the latest top ten list ranks the world’s biggest diamond mines, delineated by carat production for Q1-Q3 2022 (kct) and estimated value (USD million) The estimated value is based on average historic annualized price per carat.
“A place of small stones” tops the list for production with 10,319 kct. Located in southern Botswana, the Jwaneng pipe was first discovered in 1972, and became operational a decade later. The Jwaneng mine falls under the Anglo American portfolio operated by Debswana, a partnership between the De Beers company and the government of Botswana.
One of four Debswana operations in Botswana, Orapa, meaning “resting place for lions”, is the world’s largest diamond mine measured by area and number 2 with 8,033 kct. Currently, Orapa is mining at a depth of 305 metres and is expected to reach 350 metres by 2026.
The biggest diamond mine owned by Alrosa, Udachny ranked number 3 with 4,649 kct. Located in the Sakha Republic region of Russia, outside the Arctic circle. At a depth of more than 630 metres, Udachny is currently the third deepest open-pit mine in the world (after Bingham Canyon Mine and Chuquicamata).
Anglo’s mine in South Africa is number 4, producing 4,567 kct. Venetia mine was designed as an open pit, and in 2013, an underground extension project began extending the mine life to 2046.
Alrosa’s mine in Yakutia, Russia is number 5 on the list, producing 3,616 kct. in 2019, Alrosa found a Matryoshka-style stone in Nyurba, the first in diamond mining history.
The richest diamond mine in the world in terms of value, estimated at $1.25 billion, with an average historic annualized price at $121.5 per carat.
Second place for value as well, estimated at $976 million, and neck and neck with Jwaneng with an average historic annualized price at $121.5 per carat.
Swapped 4th place in production for third place in value, estimated at $425 million and an average historic annualized price at $93 per carat.
Number 3 for production, ranked number 4 for value, estimated at $404 million and with an average historic annualized price at $87 per carat.
Owned by Rio Tinto, makes an appearance as number 5 in terms of value, estimated at $394 million and with an average historic annualized price at $118.2 per carat.