Despite their main use being widely seen as jewelry and gifts, 80% of diamonds worldwide are used for research and industrial applications. Since diamond is the hardest material on Earth, it’s used for many purposes such as cutting, grinding and drilling through other materials. Lately, we’ve seen an increased number of diamond investors as well.
Every year, we see a downtrend in rough diamond production. Since 2017 and the industry’s peak with 152 million carats, there has been a decline in production of about 5% every year. There were only 147 million carats mined in the following year, while 2020 gave us only 111 million carats. Presumably, this trend will continue in 2021 as well.
Biggest Diamond Producers in the World
Ever since the 1870s, the highest quality diamonds used for gems have been mined in Africa. At least 50,000 carats of natural gem-quality diamonds are found on this continent every year.
According to geologists’ research, in 2019, we had Russia, Botswana, Canada, Angola, and South Africa as the world’s leading gem-quality miners. Worth noting here is the fact that while Russia and Canada entered the market and disrupted the old order, the African countries are still dominating. In the following year, Australia joined the competition with industrial diamonds and showed itself as a worthy source with 12 million carats production. When it comes to industrial diamond production, Russia keeps its first place here as well, followed by Australia, DR Congo, Botswana, and South Africa. Since these diamonds are not aesthetically valuable due to their rough shape, they are mainly used for industrial purposes.
Biggest Diamond Mining Companies in the World
Russia wouldn’t be the diamond production leader today without ALROSA. It’s a Russian company that exclusively owns diamond mines all over Siberia and owns 93% of the share in Russian diamond production. Thanks to their effort, Russia produced over 38 million carats in 2020 and earned its position as the biggest diamond producer with a share of 34.5% in global diamond production.
Besides ALROSA, there’s also De Beers, a company that was holding over 80% of the shares on the diamond market and dictated prices for a long time. Before ALROSA entered the competition, De Beers was the only exclusive seller of polished diamonds to big jewelry retailers such as Cartier and Tiffany & Co. De Beers still holds 29.5% of the world’s rough diamond production which is an impressive score. De Beers originates from a Dutch family that had discovered diamonds on their land in South Africa back in the 1870s. As the company expanded, so did their diamond production share on the global market. The company was involved in many controversies related to diamond prices at the beginning of the 2000s and ended up having to settle in court as a result of their actions.
Alongside ALROSA and De Beers, there’s also Debswana Diamond with 23.3 million carats produced in 2020, Rio Tinto with a production of 17.3 million carats, and Dominion Diamond with 6.7 million carats produced.
Having such competition resulted in the market prices stabilizing and an increase in the number of diamond investors.
Since diamond production is limited, and there is a finite number of diamonds available globally, it remains to be seen how the most prominent producers will react and handle their business in the future. However, we know for sure that with the reduced number of diamonds being mined, prices are expected to increase.
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