This blog lists down the famous diamond mines in the world.
Diamonds have been an inseparable part of the crowns of queens and kings for ages. But, apart from jewellery, they also have uses in industries and research. Being the hardest material on Earth, they’re used to cut, drill or grind other hard materials.
The diamond industry is a multi-billion dollar market. As of 2019, they valued the global diamond jewellery market at around $79 billion.
If you’re interested in learning about the treasure houses of diamonds (a.k.a diamond mines), you’re in the right spot.
Read on to know about the 13 largest diamond mines in the world.
Where Are Diamonds Found?
Since the 1870s, a significant portion of the world’s gem-quality diamonds have been mined from Africa. In recent decades, even though many countries have emerged as the top producers, the core of natural gem-quality diamonds remains in Africa.
That being said, throughout the world, diamonds are found in over 35 countries. Russia and Botswana have emerged as the top players in producing gem-quality diamonds. Australia, on the other hand, produces most industrial-quality diamonds.
Similarly, diamonds are also found in the US, Siberia, Brazil, China, Canada, and more.
Top 3 Leading Diamond Producing Countries
Russia: Russia is undoubtedly one of the largest producers of diamonds in the world. Reports suggest Russia has the world’s largest diamond reserves which account for nearly 1.1 billion carats.
Botswana: Botswana is the second-largest producer of diamonds globally. As of 2021, the country has an estimated reserve of 300 million carats of diamonds.
Democratic Republic of Congo: DRC is the third-largest producer of diamonds globally. As of 2020, it produced 12 million carats of diamonds. Reports suggest it has over 300 million carats of diamond reserves.
13 Popular Diamond Mines in the World
1. Aikhal (Russia)
Aikhal is one of the world’s largest mines located in Yakutia, Russia. It has numerous deposits, including Zaria Pipe, Aikhal Pipe, Jubilee Pipe, and Komsomolskaya Pipe. Together, they contain an estimated reserve of more than 175 million carats of diamonds.
The mining and processing division of the Russian diamond company, Alrosa, manages this diamond mine.
The Jubilee and Komsomolskaya pipes are mined through open-pit methods, whereas the Aikhal pipe uses the cut and fill method of underground mining.
On the other hand, the Zaria pipe is under development and is expected to mine through open-pit methods using selective mining.
2. Jwaneng (Botswana)
The Jwaneng mine is near Gaborone, Botswana. It has an estimated reserve of more than 166 million carats of diamonds. Further, it is considered being one of the world’s richest mines in terms of value. Debswana diamond company, which is a partnership between De Beers and the Government of Botswana, operates this mine. In fact, this age-old mine generates almost 70% of the company’s revenue.
Currently, the mine operates at a depth of 400m. However, a major extension project in the name of Cut-9 is underway to extend the mine’s life to 2034.
3. Udachny (Russia)
The Udachny mine, located in the Yakutia region of Russia, is the world’s third-largest mine in terms of reserve size. It comprises the Ziarnista pipe, Udachny pipe, and the Verkhne-Munskoe pipe. Together, these deposits contain over 164 million carats of diamonds.
The Udanchy mining and processing division of Alrosa manages this mine.
Open-pit operations were initiated at the Udachnaya pipe in 1971. By 2016, the reserves were depleted. On the other hand, the Zarinista pipe is an open-pit mining operation using conventional truck and shovel equipment.
The Verkhne-Munskoe deposit includes five pipes ranging from Poiskovaya, Deimos, Zapolarnaya, Novinka and Komsomolskaya-Magnitnaya. In 2018, the first gem-quality diamond was retrieved from the Zapolarnaya pipe.
4. Nyurba (Russia)
Nyurba diamond mine is another open-pit mine situated in Nyurba, Russia. It consists of three major deposits namely, Nyurbinsakya pipe, Maiskoye Kimberlite pipe, and Botuobinskaya pipe. Together they contain more than 132 million carats of diamond.
The Nyurba processing and mining division of Alrosa manages this mine.
In 2002, the mining operations were initiated at the Nyurbinskaya pipe and an open-pit method was adopted for mining the same. Even the Maiskoye Kimberlite pipe has been scheduled to be mined with the same method.
After the removal of burdens from the Botuobinskaya pipe in 2015, the production has begun.
5. Orapa (Botswana)
Situated in the west of Francistown, Central Botswana is the diamond mine of Orapa. It is home to more than 131 million carats of diamond reserves.
The Orapa mine is one of the four oldest mines operated by the company Debswana. It is considered one of the largest mines in the world in terms of area. Currently, the mining is performed at a depth of 250m. However, by 2026, it is expected to reach 460m.
6. Catoca (Angola)
The Catoca mine is situated near Suarimo, Angola. It is an open-pit mine with an estimated reserve of 7 million carats of diamonds. Currently, the operating depth of this mine exceeds 245m.
Sociedade Mineira De Catoca is the company operating this diamond mine in association with Alrosa, Endiama and Lev Leviev.
7. Ekati (Canada)
Located in the Lac De Gras region of Canada, is the country’s first open-pit diamond mine, Ekati. It is estimated to contain more than 106 million carats of diamond reserves.
There are several surfaces and underground mines in Ekati. However, the ones in operation are Lynx, Misery, Pigeon, Koala and Sabre. The Koala and Misery mines are mined through underground operations while the Lynx, Pigeon and Sabre use the open-pit mining method.
As per some estimates, the current lifetime of the Ekati mine is up to 2034. However, efforts have been driven towards extending the mine life to 2042.
8. Venetia (South Africa)
The Venetia mine is situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Currently, it’s one of the biggest mines in Africa with more than 92 million carats of diamond reserves.
The mine is operated by the De Beers company. Since its inception, the open-pit method has been used for mining diamonds. However, after 2021 the underground method has been adopted. The current mining depth is approximately 450m.
9. Lomonosov (Europe)
Situated in the Arkhangelsk region of Russia is one of the largest hard rock deposits in Europe, The Lomonosov mine. It has an estimated reserve of 73 million carats of diamonds.
The mine is operated by PAO Severalmaz, a subsidiary of Alrosa. In total, this mine consists of six kimberlite pipes out of which two pipes namely Karpinskogo-1 and Arkhangelskaya are being developed.
Although the Arkhangelskaya pipe was discovered in 1980, the mining operations began in 2005. Similarly, the mining operations in Karpinskogo-1 began in 2014 even though it was discovered in 2009.
10. Mir (Russia)
The Mir mine is situated in the Yakutia region of Russia. It is home to more than 57 million carats of diamond reserves.
The Mirny mining division of the parent company Alrosa owns and manages this mine. Diamond ores are extracted from the international pipe and the Mir Kimberlite pipe. Apart from this, diamond ores are also extracted from the Irleyakh, Gornoye and Vadorazelnye placer deposits.
The International pipe is currently mined using the underground cut and filling method while the production in the Mir Pipe has been halted due to an accident that occurred in 2017.
11. Murowa (Zimbabwe)
The Murowa diamond mine is situated in Mazvihwa, Zimbabwe. It is operated by Rinto Groups and has an estimated reserve of 19 million tonnes of ore.
The mine is well-known for producing high-quality color diamonds. Apart from this, large-sized diamonds are also found in this mine.
Currently, a combination of open-pit and underground construction methods is used for mining this diamond mine.
12. Argyle (Australia)
The Argyle Mine is situated in the East Kimberley region of Australia. It is the major producer of colour diamonds especially pink, red and purple. Like Mirowa, this mine is also owned and operated by the Rio Tinto Group.
This well-known mine produces an estimated 12 million carats of diamonds annually. During the initial years of operation Argyle was an open-pit mine, however, later it shifted to underground operations.
13. Letseng (Lesotho)
At a height of 3,100 m, the Letseng diamond mine is the world’s highest diamond mine. Letseng diamond mine is known for producing the highest percentage of large diamonds. Gem Diamonds and the Government of Lesotho together own this mine.
This mine has the highest dollar value per carat. While the world average is ＄81 per carat, Letseng averages ＄1894 per carat.
Russia and Botswana hold the world’s largest diamond reserves.