What Countries Do Diamonds Come From?

An open diamond mine in Russia.
An open diamond mine in Russia.

The global diamond market is represented by diamond mining and the trading of rough diamonds. Ninety-nine percent of the global diamond is produced in 9 countries with African countries being among the largest producers of diamonds. This article discusses the major producers of diamonds in the world.

Canada - 11.1 Million Carats

Canada is among the top five producers of diamonds in the world. Early exploration was unsuccessful until 1991 when Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson found evidence of commercially viable diamond deposits in the Northwest Territories. Production began in 1998 with Diavik, Ekati, Snap Lake and Victor being the largest mines. Most of these mines are located in the remote parts of the country, and some have been closed due to harsh weather conditions. In 2013, Canada produced 11.1 million karats valued at $1.9 billion; the diamonds are popular with consumers because they are not regarded as "conflict diamonds." Miners are paid well, and employers adhere to international labor laws.

Democratic Republic of the Congo - 12.3 Million Carats

DRC is Africa’s second top producer of diamond although the exact amount of diamond mined is unknown because it is mostly mined by the informal sector. In 2013, the country produced around 12.3 million karats of diamonds worth approximately $138.7 million. The country’s wealth has, however, come at a cost. Constant political turmoil, rampant corruption, and genocide in the country have led the minerals mined in DRC to be referred to as “conflict minerals.” Much of the mineral mines are located in rebel-controlled territories that do not adhere to labor laws and human rights.

Australia - 13.9 Million Carats

Australia is the world's leading producer of colored diamond particularly pink, purple, red, and yellow diamonds. Apart from the color diamonds, Australia also produces diamonds of low quality. Argyle mine operated by Rio Tinto is the largest diamond mine in the country producing approximately 12 million karats annually. Production has been on a decline due to depleted mines and insufficient discoveries of new mines.

Botswana - 20.9 Million Carats

Botswana produces the most valuable diamonds in the world and ranks second in terms of karat quantity produced. The average size of diamond mined is larger and of more value than those produced in Russia. Jwaneng mine in Botswana produces approximately 10 million karats of high-quality diamond annually earning it the title of the richest diamond mine in the world.” Debswana; a 50-50 joint partnership between the government of Botswana and De Beers is responsible for mining the mineral in the country. Diamond accounts for sixty percent of the total exports from the country and twenty-five percent of the GDP. Most of the diamonds produced are of gem quality, dodecahedral nicely-shaped, and often greenish in color.

Russia - 40 Million Carats

Russia is the largest producer of diamonds in the world. The country is responsible for around 40 million carats worth of diamonds every year. ALROSA, a Russian company, is responsible for all diamonds mined in the country and sells the rough diamond to manufacturers of polished diamond in Hong Kong, Belgium, China, Israel, and India. In 2012, the Popigai asteroid crater was discovered and is suspected of holding "trillions of karats." ALROSA mined 36.2 million karats of diamonds in 2014 with much of it mined in the Siberian region.

Where Do Most of the World's Diamonds Come From?

RankCountryDiamond Production (Million Carats)
4Democratic republic of the Congo12.3
7South Africa8.4
10Sierra Leone0.5

More in Society