9 largest diamond deposits in the world

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Diamond is a form of crystalline carbon, the hardest mineral on earth. Usually transparent and colorless, it can also be yellow, brown and, occasionally, pink, red or green. Sometimes luminescent – it glows under the influence of ultraviolet or X-rays. It lies in the lava solidified under pressure – kimberlite and lamproite pipes.

Diamonds are mined on all continents except Antarctica. In Russia and around the world, the Russian group of companies ALROSA (Diamonds of Russia – Sakha) is the leader in production, but in terms of the total value of the stones it produces, it is surpassed by the international corporation De Beers, which develops deposits in South Africa. Also, the Australian-British concern Rio Tinto Group holds a significant market share. Together, the three corporations mine 70% of the world's diamonds.

After special processing (cutting) the diamond turns into a diamond – one of the most valuable precious stones in the world. The polishing market is heavily monopolized – this is one of the reasons for the high cost of diamonds. Due to its hardness, this stone is also used as a cutting material – knives, drills and cutters are made from it, and abrasive materials from diamond powder. Diamonds can also be used as semiconductors.

To estimate the size of a diamond, a special unit of mass is used – carat, equal to 0.2 grams. One carat is one carob seed, known for the fact that all of its seeds are about the same weight. Because of this peculiarity, such seeds were previously used by jewelers instead of weights on the scales, and now they continue to use the traditional unit of mass for precious stones and pearls.

Rating of the largest diamond deposits in the world

Nomination a place Field rating
The largest diamond deposits in the world 1 Jwaneng (Botswana) 5.0
2 Jubilee (Russia, Yakutia) 4.9
3 Successful (Yakutia) 4.8
4 Mir (Yakutia) 4.7
5 Argyll (Australia) 4.6
6 Catoca (Angola) 4.5
7 Venice (South Africa) 4.4
8 The V.P. Griba (Russia, Arkhangelsk region) 4.3
9 Orapa (Botswana) 4.2

1st place: Jwaneng (Botswana)

Rating: 5.0


The Jwaneng quarry is considered the richest in the world – 12-15 million carats of diamonds are mined here a year, the total reserves are unknown, but they do not see the end yet. There are 3 kimberlite pipes here. Open pit mining is carried out, the depth of the open pit is over 350 meters.

The quarry is located west of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, at a distance of 120 km. In its place, the closed city of Jwaneng was created – about 2,100 diamond miners live in it, and has its own airport. The production is carried out by Debswana, a joint venture between De Beers and the country's government. The development of the quarry began in 1982, and it is planned to mine stones on today's scale at least until 2032.

This natural wealth has made Botswana, formerly one of the poorest countries in Africa, into one of the richest. The country was able to avoid the “resource curse” plaguing other countries, rich in minerals, who can not get out of poverty. According to the laws of Botswana, the diamonds mined in it must be cut within the country – so local people get more jobs. However, until now, unemployment has not been defeated, and it will take a long time until Botswana can develop other sectors of the economy and get rid of resource dependence.

2nd place: Jubilee (Russia, Yakutia)

Rating: 4.9

Jubilee (Russia, Yakutia) .jpg

Russia is the world leader in diamond mining. At the same time, 82% of the country's diamond wealth is located in Yakutia. There, in the Mirny district of the republic, there is the Yubileinaya kimberlite pipe, which stores 153 million carats of precious stones. Its area is 59 hectares, the shape of the tube is pear-shaped. The deposit was discovered in 1975, 9 years later, they began to build a quarry, and in 1990 they began production. The quarry has reached a depth of 320 meters; it is planned to deepen it to 720 meters.

Nearby there is a small tube-satellite “Ozernaya”, which was discovered earlier, and further searches led to “Yubileinaya”. Diamonds mined from the Yubileynaya pipe, as well as from the Aikhal and Komsomolskaya pipes, are produced by the Aikhal Mining and Processing Plant, the leader in mining among ALROSA's mining and processing enterprises. The crater can be mined until 2030 – perhaps by then additional reserves will be found. The largest diamond recovered from this deposit weighed 235.2 carats and was recovered in 2013.

3rd place: Successful (Yakutia)

Rating: 4.8

Lucky (Yakutia) .jpg

The third place is taken by another field in Yakutia – the Udachny open-pit mine. It lies 20 km from the Arctic Circle, in the Mirny region. The deposits of stones were discovered by the Soviet geologist Vladimir Nikolaevich Shchukin in 1955, for which he received the Lenin Prize. Later, the settlement of Udachny appeared on this place, now it has become a city. Mining began in 1971 and was initially carried out in an open pit; in 2014, the start-up complex of the underground mine was commissioned.

The Udachny quarry is formed by two diamond-bearing pipes – Eastern and Western. The tubes run parallel and meet at the surface. Together they contain 152 million carats of diamonds – slightly less than Jubilee. The design depth of the open pit at the site of the deposit is 640 meters. If achieved, Udachny will become the deepest diamond pit in Russia.

The population of the city of Udachny is about 11.5 thousand people. The Udachny Mining and Processing Plant, a town-forming enterprise, extracts stones from the pipes of the Udachny open-pit mine and the Zarnitsa pipe. In 1974 a nuclear explosion “Kristall” was made here to facilitate mining. Eight such explosions were planned, but due to the fact that radioactive products came to the surface, further use of nuclear energy was abandoned.

4th place: Mir (Yakutia)

Rating: 4.7

Mir (Yakutia) .jpg

Another large Yakut field, Mir, lies 850 km west of Yakutsk, in the Irelyakh River valley. A single kimberlite pipe contains 141 million carats of diamonds, it arose as a result of a volcanic eruption that occurred 362 million years ago. The deposits were discovered on June 13, 1955. Geologists sent a code on the radio: “We have lit a pipe of peace, excellent tobacco.” This is how the deposit got its name.

In 1957, ore mining began at the deposit. A new city, Mirny, emerged, and Mirny GOK, now owned by ALROSA, became the backbone enterprise. Until 2001, diamond ore was mined in an open pit, the quarry reached a depth of 525 meters and a diameter of 1.2 km. A spiral road was created, along which trucks went up from the bottom of the quarry, passing an 8 km long path. In the same year, production was stopped and resumed only in 2009, already by underground method. To continue the development of the field, it was planned to deepen to 1 km or more. However, in 2017, due to an accident, the mine was flooded and diamond mining has ceased to date.

The Mir deposit owns the largest diamond mined in Russia. It was recovered from the ground on December 23, 1980 and weighed 342.5 carats. It was named in honor of the event at that time – the name of the “XXVI Congress of the CPSU”.

In the city of Mirny, it was planned to implement a fantastic project – “a city under a dome”. The idea was that the whole city is placed under a translucent dome, the air intake from outside is controlled. 100 thousand people were supposed to live under this roof. Now only 35 thousand live in Mirny. The idea, so far, is utopian; implementation, if any, is not expected soon.

5th place: Argyll (Australia)

Rating: 4.6

Argyll (Australia) .jpg

Argyll is Australia's largest diamond mine with 140 million carats of gemstones. Located in the northwest of the country, in the eastern part of Kimberley County. Discovered a diamond pipe in 1976 while exploring rivers. Previously, there were hills covered with greenery, but with the discovery of diamonds, everything changed – a working village was created, the landscape changed to a technogenic one.

The average quality of the diamonds here is small, brown-colored stones prevail. But occasionally, in about 1% of cases, the rarest pink diamonds come across – 90% of such stones in the world are mined in Argyll. This type of stone is the main reason the deposit is valued. Pink diamonds are divided into several categories – pink, violet pink and pink rose, that is, brownish pink. The most valuable stones are red.

Now the reserves of pink stones in the deposit are dwindling. Therefore, the price for them is only growing, from which competitors of Australian producers in Russia, South Africa, Angola and other countries plan to extract their profit.

6th place: Catoca (Angola)

Rating: 4.5

Catoca (Angola) .jpg

There is another large deposit in southern Africa – the Katoka kimberlite pipe. It is located in the channel sediments of the Katoka and Lova rivers. This place contains 130 million carats of precious stones. The surface area of ​​the tube is 65.7 hectares. The deposit is jointly owned by companies from different countries – Angola, Russia, France.

The kimberlite deposits were discovered here in 1968. In 1995, Alrosa – a Russian group of diamond mining companies – began building a factory in Angola and mining diamonds. Now the mining of precious stones in Angola is only gaining momentum – the Catoca deposit should last for 40 years.

“Katoka” is of interest not only for people who directly mine diamonds, but also for scientists. Geologists from Russia are studying the field: unlike Russian kimberlite deposits, pipes in Angola have hardly been eroded. Thanks to this, it is possible to study the “anatomy” of the pipe, the association of diamonds with certain types of kimberlite rocks.

7th place: Venice (South Africa)

Rating: 4.4

Venice (South Africa) .jpg

The largest diamond mine in South Africa is located where 12 kimberlite pipes occur. Together, they contain 102 million carats of diamonds. Almost 70% of these stones in the country are mined in this mine.

The deposit is owned by the international company De Beers (De Beers), founded in South Africa in 1888. De Beers was once a monopolist setting prices for diamonds all over the world, but now it has lost this status, but it is still the leader in their production – 40% of the world's diamonds are mined by this company. The Venezia mine accounts for 10% of all De Beers diamond production.

It is planned to leave the pit “Venice” in 2021, until 2045 the company is going to extract stones by underground method. At the same time, geological surveys are underway in South Africa – it is expected that by the time Venice's reserves are depleted, new mining sites will be found.

8th place: V.P. Griba (Russia, Arkhangelsk region)

Rating: 4.3

The V.P.  Griba (Russia, Arkhangelsk region) .jpg

Another large diamond-bearing pipe lies in the Mezensky District of the Arkhangelsk Region. There, 130 kilometers northeast of Arkhangelsk, not far from the sea, there is the Grib field, or Verkhotinskoe. Vladimir Pavlovich Grib – the man after whom the place was named – was the chief geologist of the Arkhangelsk Geological Mining Enterprise.

A kimberlite pipe was discovered in this place in 1996. The pipe is single, but its reserves are large – estimated at 98 million carats. The tube diameter is 1.6 km. They started mining diamonds here quite recently – in 2013. Mining can continue for a long time – open pit for 16 years to a depth of 540 m, then underground.

Two companies fought for the deposit – the Canadian Archangel Diamond Corporation, owned by De Beers, and the Russian Arkhangelskgeoldobycha, owned by Lukoil. In 1994, they created a joint company “Almazny Bereg” – the share of Canadians in it was 40%. Canadians had to invest in exploration and development of the deposit to gain access to it. However, afterwards the Canadian company stopped its investments and accused the Russian side of default on its obligations. The claims of the Canadians for damages were not satisfied in any court.

9th place: Orapa (Botswana)

Rating: 4.2

Orapa (Botswana) .jpg

Another diamond mine in Botswana – Orapa – ranks first in the world in terms of area. However, it has less stone reserves than Jwaneng. The deposit is formed by two kimberlite pipes that converge on the surface. Open cut diamonds are mined.

A city arose around the mine, which is also called Orapa. The city is surrounded by a fence, they are allowed inside only with passes. The population is about 9.5 thousand, of which 3100 people directly work in the mine. The city has its own airport, a hospital with 100 beds, and a school for workers' children. All of this is funded by Debswana.

Orapa (the name translates as “resting place for lions”) is one of the oldest mines in Botswana, which has been developed since 1971. Since 2006, when 17.3 million carats of diamonds were mined from the deposit, production has declined and the reserves will soon be exhausted. Nevertheless, the remaining 85.7 million carats make the deposit one of the largest in the world so far.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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