Diamonds may not seem as rare when you consider that approximately 85,000,000 carats are mined each year. [“Minerals Commodity Summary 2007.” usgs.gov] With so many diamonds being mined, why then are they considered a rare gemstone? Only twenty percent of the diamonds that are mined are considered gem quality. Eighty percent of the diamonds that are mined are used for industrial purposes. [“Diamonds.” berkley.edu] As one of the hardest substances on Earth, diamonds are uniquely adept for use in such applications as cutting, grinding, and polishing materials that may otherwise be difficult to manipulate with standard tools.
Where Are Most Diamonds Mined?
Diamonds are mined in twenty-five countries across the globe on every continent with the exception of Europe and Antarctica. Only a handful of countries claim the lion’s share of the world’s diamond production. [“Alluvial Diamond Mining Project: What is Alluvial Mining” usgs.gov]
South Africa: Due to controversial issues, when many people think about diamond mining, South Africa comes to mind. Though South Africa does mine its share of diamonds, it accounts for only 10.6% of the world’s diamond production, mining 9,000,000 carats annually.
Australia: Australia may not be the first place you think of when considering diamond mining, but as of 2006, they claimed the highest percent of world diamond production with a share of 29.4%.
Congo: Mining 28,000,000 carats in 2006, the Congo ran a close second claiming a 28.2% share of the world’s diamond production.
Russia: Russia mines 15,000,000 carats, claiming 17.6% of the world’s diamond production the majority excavated from the Udachnaya pipe close to the Arctic Circle.
“Alluvial Diamond Mining Project: What is Alluvial Mining?.” Geology in the Eastern Region. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2012. <http://geology.er.usgs.gov/eespteam/diamondproject/ alluvialmining.htm>
“Minerals Commodity Summary 2007.” US Department of the Interior. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2012. <minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/2007/mcs2007.pdf>
“diamond (gemstone) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2012. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/161406/diamond
“Diamonds.” College of Natural Resources – UC Berkeley. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. http://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/eps2//wisc/Lect6.html
“Media releases – Media Centre – Alrosa.” Alrosa. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2012. <http://eng.alrosa.ru/press_center/releases/2004/12/news20041217/?sphrase_id=17507>.