Ten innovations which changed the diamond industry

Aruna Gaitonde

The Mining sector has always been a source of innovation, striving to better safety and efficiency and deal earnestly with environmental concerns. Among the many steps taken by mining companies across the globe, some of them have made radical changes to the sector. Here are a few …

1) Rio Tinto introduced autonomous haul trucks that operated an additional 1000 hours; and at 15 percent lower load and haul unit cost than conventional haul trucks. About 20 percent of the existing fleet of almost 400 haul trucks in the Pilbara is AHS-enabled. Also, Rio Tinto is leading in reinventing the mining site and they have had many others looking into automated heavy rail systems as well.

2) Currently, ore at the Star Diamond Mine in South Africa is hand mucked, which is labour and time intensive, but it is planned to change this to a water jetting method, which will reduce the cost and time to recover material and increase product assurance on diamond handling of large stones. Through the water jetting process, the company believes that it is possible to increase the recovered grade from 40 cpht to 55 cpht.
The Sedibeng Mine in South Africa operated by Petra Diamonds, too, is utilising their extensive expertise in engineering services and underground mining operations to make productivity improvements at their two existing mines and to further develop the operations from a low-cost investment base.

3) Merlin Diamond Mine of Australia has left no stone unturned to improve production. Their XRT Sorting Machine is used to process first kimberlite ore. The new Tomra X-Ray Transmission (XRT) machine is designed to enable the recovery of larger diamonds.

4) In technology development, ALROSA registered numerous patent in R&D work (Rospatent) during 2016/17.

The Scientific Research Exploration Company, an ALROSA’s subsidiary, developed an innovative methodology to predict the local kimberlite bodies on the basis of a comprehensive study of secondary post-magmatic kimberlite mineralization and host rocks, and kimberlite degradation products.

ALROSA, teaming with the Technological Institute for Super Hard and Novel Carbon Materials has developed a series of innovative devices for detecting polished diamonds and diamond jewellery. A device called ALROSA Diamond Inspector can identify natural polished diamonds, as well as synthetic and treated diamonds, non-diamond imitations (simulants), such as cubic zirconia, moissanite, and others.

5) In an industry first, De Beers’ SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) launched the airborne technology that works in places where traditional survey systems struggle to operate. SQUID records how components of the earth’s magnetic field change in different directions. Its first test survey in the Northern Cape, South Africa, detected an anomaly that was later confirmed as kimberlite.

Diamond manufacturing sector

The manufacturing sector has made some extraordinary leaps in utilising technology to upgrade the industry in the past few decades. From antique methods to the high-tech manufacturing facilities of today, the industry has come a long way…

6) Besides many diamond technologies such as Sarine Advisor™, the Sarine Profile™ diamond display system, DiaMension™ etc, Sarine Technologies was instrumental in bringing technology into the diamond manufacturing sector by launching Meteorite™ system recently for inclusion mapping of very small rough stones under 0.35 carats.

7) De Beers Automated Melee Screening diamond sorting device works at a 1 stone per second, thereby increasing productivity. The diamond grading lab in Surat, India, which has the capacity to annually process more than US$500 million worth of diamonds, also offers services including the detection of synthetics, simulants and treatments. The current suite of instruments, including DiamondSure, DiamondSure Mount, DiamondView, DiamondPlus and the Automated Melee Screening (AMS) device and PhosView.


Advertising was part of the industry from the days De Beers came into the picture.

8) De Beers with its generic promotion campaign ‘A diamond is forever‘ supported the industry for many years. Now it’s brand Forevermark is continuing Ad campaigns but focusing on its own brand.

9) DPA (Diamond Producers Association) has now taken it upon itself to promote diamonds through its advertising campaigns in major diamond consuming markets like the US, China, India and so on.

Marketing & Sales

A ‘Johny come lately’ trend, the industry’s marketing & sales activities geared up over the years in tandem with the industry’s growth. As the global gem & jewellery industry grew by leaps and bounds, so did the need to improve ‘marketing’ these luxury goods professionally…

10) De Beers Group’s first blockchain technology initiative underpins confidence in diamonds and the diamond industry by ensuring that all registered diamonds are conflict-free and natural. The group is collaborating with technology and industry leaders to ensure the platform is inclusive and meets the needs of all users.

Source Rough&Polished