Category Archives: DIAMOND MINES

These were the world’s top producing diamond mines in 2016

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.

5. Debmarine, Namibia

Produced 1,169,000 carats, worth $585 million

De Beers’ Debmarine uses a fleet of five specialized marine mining vessels to screen material recovered from the ocean floor.

These deposits are then airlifted by helicopter for further processing on shore. It’s Namibia’s largest diamond producer, accounting for 70% of the country’s output of these stones.

6. Catoca, Angola

Produced 6,700,000 carats*, worth $570 million

This diamond mine is the world’s fourth largest. It’s owned by a consortium of international mining interests, with Endiama (the state mining company of Angola) having a majority stake.

* = Figure not officially confirmed

7. Nyurbinskaya, Russia

Produced 5,001,000 carats, worth $565 million

The Nyurba Mining and Processing Division (MPD) is one of the youngest enterprises of ALROSA. It operates at the Nakyn ore field, which includes the Nyurbinskya and Botuobinsky open-pits, and two same-name alluvial placers.

8. Diavik, Canada

Produced 6,658,000 carats, worth $539 million.

Operated by Rio Tinto, which owns 60% of the mine, Diavik began production in 2003 and has an annual output of some 6-7 million carats of predominantly large, white gem-quality diamonds. It’s Canada’s largest diamond mine in terms of carat production. Dominion Diamond owns the remaining 40%.

9. Ekati, Canada

Produced 5,200,000 carats, worth $463 million

The Ekati Diamond Mine (named after the Tlicho word meaning “fat lake”) is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. Located about 300km north-east of Yellowknife, near Lac de Gras in Canada’s North-West Territories, is run by Dominion Diamond Corporation (DDC)

10. Mir, Russia

Produced 3,191,000 carats $463 million

Although open pit mining at this operation ended in 2004, ALROSA built a series of underground tunnels, which have continued to yield high-quality rough diamonds. The remaining pit is so huge it creates a vortex potentially strong enough to suck helicopters into its depth

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Henry Sapiecha

HUGE 110 CARAT YELLOW DIAMOND UNEARTHED IN AFRICAN Liqhobong MINE

Shares in Africa-focused Firestone Diamonds (LON:FDI) shot up in London Wednesday after it announced it had unearthed an 110-carat yellow diamond, it’s biggest find so far, at its newly developed mine in Lesotho.

The company, which is just ramping up production at its Liqhobong operation, said the finding confirmed its belief that the deposit holds large stones.

Investors reacted positively to the news, with the stock climbing as much as 13% early in the day and trading 9.7% higher to 49.10p at 1:38PM GMT.

Firestone spent $185 million building Liqhobong, which boasts over 11 million carats in reserve. The total open pit resource contains over 17 million carats down to 393 metres.

Since production began at Liqhobong in October, and before today’s announcement, the company had recovered 20 stones larger than 10.8 carats, the industry cut off for an exceptional stone, including a 37-carat white diamond.

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Henry Sapiecha

World’s largest new diamond mine starts commercial production

Gahcho Kué, owned by De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds, is now full steam ahead in production.

Gahcho Kué, co-owned by De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds, is located at Kennady Lake, about 280 km northeast of Yellowknife image www.worldwidediamonds.info

Canada’s Gahcho Kué mine, the world’s largest new diamond mine in the last 13 years, reached commercial production Tuesday, its owners De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds announced.

Located 280 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife, near the Arctic Circle, the mine is expected to produce around 54 million carats of rough diamonds over its 12-year lifetime.

Gahcho Kué was only the sixth diamond opened in Canada in the almost 19 years the country has been producing such gems.Production ramp-up at Gahcho Kué, a joint venture between De Beers Canada (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%), began in August — a month before the mine’s official opening.

Thursday’s announcement marks an important operational milestone and also comes slightly ahead of schedule, the partners said in a joint statement.

“Today marks a significant landmark for De Beers in Canada as Gahcho Kué becomes an important contributor to the group’s global production,” De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said in the statement.

The mine “secures Canada’s position as one of the world’s leading diamond producers,” added Patrick Evans, President and CEO of Mountain Province Diamonds.

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It’s estimated that Gahcho Kué will contribute $5.2 billion to the territorial economy until 2028, according to a socio-economic impact report prepared by De Beers.

Another reason why the mine’s opening is important for Canada’s economy is the fact that two of the country’s major diamond operations — Diavik and Ekati — are approaching the end of their productive lives. Gahcho Kué, although smaller than those mines, is expected to offset the production drop-off.

The mine, estimated to be one of the world’s 10 biggest diamond mines, is the sixth precious rocks operation opened in Canada in the almost 19 years the country has been producing diamonds.

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Henry Sapiecha

Another large diamond dug from Lulo mine in Angola… 227-carat white rough

Weighing 227 carats, latest gemstone from Lucapa’s Angolan diamond mine is its second largest to date

lucapa_227-carat-diamond image www.worldwidediamonds.info

Big, valuable gemstones that may eventually get cut into smaller diamonds keep getting discovered in Angola.

Today Lucapa Diamond Company Ltd. (ASX:LOM) said it has uncovered yet another epic rock from its Lulo mine, the second largest to be pulled from deep inside the earth at Lulo.

According to Lucapa, the 227-carat stone was found in a new mining block, indicating that the entire 50-kilometre length of the Cacuilo River is diamondiferous.The stone weighing 227 carats, discovered by Lucapa and its partners, Empresa Nacional de Diamantes EP, and Rosas & Petales, is a Type IIa D-Colour gem. It’s the same type of diamond that Lucapa recovered in September, in that case weighing 172.6 carats. The largest diamond to come out of the mine was a 404.2-carat monster that Lucapa unveiled a year ago, and which Lucapa later sold for AUD$22.5 million. The huge rock bested Angola’s previous record for its largest diamond, the Angolan Star, a 217.4-carat gem recovered in 2007.

According to Lucapa, the 227-carat stone was found in a new mining block, indicating that the entire 50-kilometre length of the Cacuilo River is diamondiferous. The alluvial diamond area is among Lucapa’s 3,000 square kilometre Lulo concession, and has so far only been about 20% explored by Lucapa and its partners. The gem was discovered using a new XRT large-diamond recovery circuit recently installed at Lulo.

So far Lucapa has unearthed seven diamonds over 100 carats from the Lulo diamond project. Located 150km from Alrosa’s Catoca mine, the world’s fourth largest diamond mine, Lulo hosts Type IIa diamonds which account for less than 1% of global supply.

Angola is the world’s No.4 diamond producer by value and No.6 by volume. Its industry, which began a century ago under Portuguese colonial rule, is successfully emerging from a long period of difficulty as a result of a civil war that ended in 2002.

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Henry Sapiecha

Mountain Province just found this massive diamond at Gahcho Kué in Canada

This 67.87-carat gem quality octahedron diamond is the largest of its kind recovered to date at the mine. (Image courtesy of Mountain Province Diamonds)

mountain-province-just-found-massive-diamond-at-gahcho-kue-67.87-carat gem quality octahedron diamond, image www.worldwidediamonds.info

Mountain Province Diamonds (TSX:MPV), which holds a 49% stake in Gahcho Kué, one of Canada’s newest diamond mine and the world’s largest of its kind in the last 13 years, has just found a massive gem at the operation.

The 67.87-carat gem quality octahedron diamond is the largest of its kind recovered to date at the mine.The company said the 67.87-carat gem quality octahedron rock, unearthed during production ramp-up, is the largest gem quality diamond recovered to date at Gahcho Kué, which is one of the world’s 10 biggest diamond mines.

The company’s President and CEO, Patrick Evans, said production ramp-up at the remote mine, which is also the world’s highest grade new diamond operation, is progressing well despite some recent disruptions caused by extremely cold conditions during December that impacted the mine’s conveyor systems. He added that Gahcho Kué was on track to achieve commercial production on schedule during the current quarter.

Situated almost 300 kilometres east of Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the mine opened up in September last year and has so far provided a $341 million (Cdn$440 million) boost to the territories’ economy. It has also contributed a further $272 million (Cdn$350 million) to the rest of Canada, according to DeBeers, which holds a 51% stake in the mine.

Mountain Province also announced that its second diamonds sale of the year will take place in Antwerp, Belgium, from February 20 to March 1.

First blast at Gahcho Kué diamond mine image www.worldwidediamonds.info
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Henry Sapiecha

Merlin Mines has just unearthed Australia’s fifth largest diamond

merlin-has-just-unearthed-australias-fifth-largest-diamond-image-www-worldwidediamonds-info

Merlin Diamonds (ASX:MED) has unearthed Australia’s fifth largest diamond from its namesake mine in Australia’s Northern Territory, currently in the ramp up phase.

The company said the 35.26 carat brown diamond was among a number of rough gems found at its Merlin mine, including a 14.6 carat brown rock as well as a number of smaller white diamonds.

Shares in the company jumped 7% to $0.015 after the announcement.

Last month, the company found a very rare blue coloured diamond, believed to be the first blue gem produced at Merlin.

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The blue diamond found last month. (Image courtesy of Merlin Diamonds)

Blue diamonds are even more unusual than pink ones, normally found at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.

In June last year, a massive intense blue diamond, known as The Cullinan Dream, fetched $25.4 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, breaking all records and becoming the most expensive gem of its kind ever sold at auction.

Australia’s largest diamond, a 104.73 carat stone, was discovered at Merlin, which was run by Rio Tinto and Ashton Mining between 1999-2003, before being acquired in 2014 by Merlin Diamonds, formerly North Australian Diamonds.

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Henry Sapiecha

Alrosa diamond sales less in October, but outlook is positive for the future

HANDLING-ROUGH-DIAMONDS image www.worldwidediamonds.info

Russia’s Alrosa (MCX:ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output in carats, said Tuesday that sales of rough gems dropped slightly in October, when compared to the previous month, though polished diamond sales remained unchanged.

Rough gems sales totalled $430.8 million in October, slightly less than the $435 million fetched in September, Alrosa said. Polished diamond sales came to $8.2 million.

De Beers, the world’s top producer by value, also reported Tuesday a drop in rough diamond sales —the lowest amount so this year.

But diamond producers are used to the up and downs in sales as they know the industry is seasonal, reaching its peak from November through to February.

Alrosa, which together with De Beers controls almost two-thirds of the diamond market, said earlier it intends to recover 1.7 million carats of diamonds a year from its Verkhne-Munskoye mine, which is slated to begin production in 2018.

The construction of that mine, which has 38.3 million carats of booked reserves, is part of a long-term development program that aims to increase Alrosa’s diamond production to 41 million carats by 2021.

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Henry Sapiecha

World’s largest new diamond mine opens in Canada

The Gahcho Kue diamond mine image www.worldwidediamonds.info

The Gahcho Kue diamond mine – one of the largest new mines in the world – has officially opened in Canada’s North West Territories.

The open-pit mine is located near the Arctic Circle, 280 km northeast of the province’s capital Yellowknife.

De Beers officially opened it, with chief executive Bruce Cleaver telling AFP, “It’s the largest diamond mine brought into production in the last 13 years and it’s the biggest outside South Africa.”

The company owns a 51 per cent of the joint venture, with the remainder owned by Canada’s Mountain Province Diamonds.

Its name comes from the local indigenous Chipewyan term for “big rabbit”.

The site is mainly accessible by air, with trucks only able to access via ice roads for a short period of time in winter months. An estimated 530 workers will be employed, and flown in for two week rotations.

It will produce 54 million carats of rough diamonds during its 12-year life.

With this new mine – the sixth to open in Canada in the last 20 years – the country becomes the fifth largest diamonds producer in the world by volume, as well as the third by value, recording more than $1.5 billion a year in exports.

Cleaver indicated a medium to long term growth in the demand for jewellery, which will still support diamond growth, although production is in decline.

China, the US, Japan, and India are the largest diamond purchasers, buying more than 70 per cent of diamonds sold each year.

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Production to begin at world’s largest new diamond mine

Mountain Province Diamonds has began ramping up its Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories to commercial production, following its successful commissioning. 

The Gahcho Kué, a joint venture between Mountain Province Diamonds and De Beers Canada, is considered the world’s largest new diamond mine.

The project will begin commercial production in the first quarter of next year and produce an average of 4.5 million carats annually during its 12 year life.

First ore was produced on March 23 2016, with Mountain Province President and CEO Patrick Evans saying both the commissioning and ramp up activities was a “major achievement” for the joint venture.

During the ramp up commissioning phase, the site also produced two large gems; a 12.10 carat and 24.64 carat diamond.

Its first diamond sale is set to take place by the end of this year.

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Henry Sapiecha

Massive Cullinan Dream blue diamond fetches over $25m at auction

Price fetched makes it the most expensive fancy intense blue diamond ever sold at auction.

massive-cullinan-dream-blue-diamond-fetches-over-25m-at-auctionimage www.worldwidediamonds.info

The Cullinan Dream in the rough.

A 24.18-carat intense blue diamond known as The Cullinan Dream has just sold for $25.4 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York, breaking all records and becoming the most expensive gem of its kind ever sold at auction.

The diamond, cut from a 122.52-carat rock found at Petra Diamond’s (LON:PDL) Cullinan mine in South Africa in 2014, is the largest of four blue diamonds made from the original.

The Cullinan Dream, a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut diamond, has been classified by the Gemological Institute of America as Type IIb. Those kinds of gems are very rare and account for less than one-half of 1% of all diamonds found in nature.

cullinam-dream-diamond-ring image www.worldwidediamonds.info

The Cullinan Dream is now a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut fancy intense blue diamond, weighing approximately 24.18 carats.

Type IIb gems contain a small amount of the element boron trapped in the crystal carbon structure during their formation that can give rise to a blue or grey coloration, Petra Diamonds said in a statement.

The mine is best known for the discovery of the Cullinan diamond, at 3,106 carats the largest rough diamond ever found. The gem was cut into two highly significant diamonds, which can be found in the British Crown Jewels.

Cullinan-Dream is now a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut fancy intense blue diamond, weighing approximately 24.18 carats.image www.worldwidediamonds.info

It is flanked on either side by a tapered baguette-cut diamond and set in a platinum ring, inscribed “Cullinan Dream”.

Since acquiring a majority stake in the mine in 2008, Petra Diamonds has found some high-profile blue diamonds, including “The Blue Moon of Josephine,” which sold in November for $48.5 million and “The Star of Josephine” — a 7.03 carat polished stone that sold in 2009 for $9.49 million, representing what at the time was a world record price per carat of $1.35 million.

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Henry Sapiecha

Alrosa unearths 241.21-carat diamond, one of largest ever found in Russia

alrosa-unearths-241-21-carat-diamond-one-of-largest-ever-found-in-russia image www.worldwidediamonds.info

The diamond was found the Nyurbinsky open-pit mine, in Nakyn. (Image courtesy of ALROSA)

Russia’s Alrosa (MCX:ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output in carats, has unveiled the discovery of a 241.21-carat rough diamond at its Nyurbinsky open-pit mine.

The diamond is one of the largest ever recovered in Russia.

The precious rock, said the company, is one of the largest rough diamonds ever recovered in Russia and the third largest among those found by the company’s Nyurba Mining and Processing Division.

The massive diamond measures 38.64 mm by 27.34 mm by 25.46 mm, and is translucent with a grey hue. Traces of dissolution–etching channels and caverns–are observed on the surface.

The intermediate and peripheral zones have large cracks and the crystal contains graphite and sulphide inclusions, Alrosa said.

alrosa-241carats-diamond image www.worldwidediamonds.info

The massive diamond measures 38.64 mm by 27.34 mm by 25.46 mm, and is translucent with a grey hue. (Image courtesy of ALROSA)

The Nyurbinsky has been in operations since 2001. Identified reserves January last year amounted to 36.9 million carats.

The Nyurba Mining and Processing Division is one of Alrosa’s youngest divisions, in charge of the Nakyn ore field as well as the Nyurbinsky and Botuobinsky open-pit mines.

The state-owned diamond miner may be privatized as soon as this summer, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday, according to Reuters.

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Henry Sapiecha