While diamond industry experts warn that demand is expected to outstrip supply as early as 2019, the largest mines keep producing the coveted rocks at full steam.
Here are last year’s top 10 diamond mines in terms of output and value, based on data compiled by expert Paul Zimnisky.
1. Jwaneng, Botswana
Produced 11,975,000 carats, worth $2,347 million
Jwaneng, the richest diamond mine in the world, is located in south-central Botswana in the Naledi river valley of the Kalahari. It’s 2 kilometres across at its widest point and patrolled by colossal 300-tonne trucks that labour up the terraced slopes.
Nicknamed “the Prince of Mines“, Jwaneng was opened in 1982, as the diamond trade helped Botswana go from being one of the world’s poorest countries to one of Africa’s wealthiest.
2. Jubilee, Russia
Produced 9,231,000 carats, worth $1,431 million
Belonging to ALROSA, the world’s top diamond miner by output in carats, the Jubilee mine (also known as Yubileinaya), has been in production since 1989. It’s among the world’s biggest diamond mines by area.
3. International, Russia
Produced 3,948,000 carats, worth $829 million
Also known as Internatsionalny, this underground mine has been in operations since 1999. ALROSA estimates the deposit will run out of diamonds by 2022.
4. Orapa, Botswana
Produced 7,931,000 carats, worth $753 million
The Orapa mine is the ninth largest diamond mine in the world by reserve and the world’s largest mine by area. It has been in production since 1971. It’s owned by Debswana, a joint venture of De Beers and the Botswana Government.
Currently Orapa is mining at a depth of 250 metres and is expected to reach 450 metres by 2026.
Photo © Courtesy of De Beers Group