Commodities & Metals

The Richest Diamond Mines in the World

10. Kimberley
> Carats: 100,000 (2010)
> Location: South Africa

South Africa’s Kimberley mine first went into production in 1871. The original mine closed in 1914 and the underground mine closed in 1995. De Beers, the original owner, sold underground mining rights to Petra in 2007, and Petra produced about 100,000 carats from the mine in 2010. De Beers is re-treating the dumps on the surface and recovered 823,000 carats in 2010 from nearly 5.5 million tons of rock.

9. Letlhakane
> Carats: 1.2 million (2010)
> Location: Botswana

The Letlhakane mine is a Debswana property, a 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the government of Botswana. It went into production in 1975. The open-pit mine processed 3.3 million metric tons of rock in 2010 and produced 1.2 million carats. This is the deepest of the Debswana-owned mines and is located near the Orapa mine.

8. Finsch
> Carats: 1.3 million (2010)
> Location: South Africa

The Finsch open-pit mine in South Africa was once owned by De Beers, but is now owned by independent and privately held Petra Diamonds. The mine began operations in 1978, is South Africa’s second-largest by production and is estimated to have produced 1.3 million carats in 2010. Petra estimates 26.6 million carats remain to be produced.

7. Ekati
> Carats: 3 million (2010)
> Location: Canada

The Ekati mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories is 80%-owned by BHP Billiton. The open-pit mine began operations in  1998 and processed 4.93 million metric tons of rock in 2010, yielding less than 1 carat/metric ton of diamonds. The Ekati mine produces about 3% of the world’s annual volume of diamonds by weight and 9% of value. BHP estimates that Ekati contains about 0.3 carats/metric ton of rock. In 2010, Ekati produced 3 million carats.

6. Venetia
> Carats: 4.3 million (2010)
> Location: South Africa

South Africa’s Venetia mine is owned and operated by De Beers. The open-pit mine began production in 1992 and now produces about 40% of South African total diamond production. The mine processed more than 4 million metric tons of rock in 2010, giving a yield of about 1.1 carats/metric ton. The Venetia mine produced about 4.3 million carats in 2010.

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