Zimbabwe tops World diamond records, but where is the money?

via Zimbabwe tops World diamond records, but where is the money? By Paul Zimnisky 2013-11-08 ZimbabweMail

The data below cumulates the world’s estimated diamond production by mine in terms of carats produced and value produced in U.S. dollars.

The mines listed below are estimated to account for 84% of expected global 2013 diamond production of 130 million carats.  The balance (or 16%) of global production not included below comes from small-scale operations, where production data is unreliable or not available at all.

According to Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation projections, Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields are expected to produce 16.9 million carats in 2013, which would make the project the largest in the world in terms of carats produced annually.

Partnership Africa Canada, a non-profit organization, estimates that production from the Marange fields would be as high as 30 to 40 million carats annually if Kimberly Process restrictions did not exist (the Kimberly Process is a global non-profit organization established to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds).

While the Marange fields may produce more carats than any other project in the world, the quality of the diamonds produced are among the lowest in the world, averaging only $60/carat (the global average is approximately $100/carat according to Kimberly Process data).

Zimbabwe is the fourth largest diamond producing nation in the world, and the Marange fields represent almost all of the nation’s production.

Orapa Processing Plant in Botswana - Image Property of De Beers
[The Orapa Processing Plant in Botswana –Photo property of De Beers.]

In terms of total diamond value produced annually, Botswana’s Orapa mine is the world leader. Estimated to produce over 11 million carats in 2013, with an average price of $145/carat, the Orapa mine is estimated to produce over $1.6 billion dollars worth of diamonds in 2013.

Letseng Mine in Lesotho - Image Property of Gem Diamonds
[The Letseng mine in Lesotho – Photo property of Gem Diamonds.]

The Letseng mine in Lesotho is estimated to produce diamonds with an average value of $2191/carat, making it the worlds richest on an average per-carat basis.  However, Letseng is only estimated to produce 85,000 carats this year, worth $186 million. Australia’s Argyle mine, while famous for producing over 90% of the worlds fancy pink diamonds, has the lowest average value per-carat output in the world. Unpopular brown diamonds, most of which are classified as industrial quality, account for the majority of Argyle’s production bringing down the mines average carat value to only $25/carat.  In 2013, Argyle is estimated to produce 10.2 million carats.

The Russian Federation is the largest diamond-producing nation in the world. In 2013 Russia is estimated to produce over 33 million carats worth over $3.4 billion.  State run diamond company ALROSA accounts for approximately 95% of all Russian production (See: The Worlds Biggest Diamond Producer is a Company that you Probably Haven’t Heard of).

After Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC is the second largest diamond-producing nation in the world. Artisanal and small-scale miners account for most DRC production, and a third of DRC’s diamonds are believed to be smuggled, making quantifying production very difficult, thus no DRC producers are represented below. The Kimberly Process had the DRC producing 21.5 million carats in 2012.

Also included below are projects in development (highlighted in blue). Of note is Russia’s Grib project estimated to produce 4 million carats annually for 19 years with production expected to commence before years end. Canada’s Gahcho Kue project is estimated to produce 5 million carats a year for 15 years starting in 2015.




  • comment-avatar
    Tiger Shona 9 years ago

    Where is the money? In Zanu PF pockets.

    They are in charge of all that!

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 9 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    holy moyo 9 years ago

    Grace mugabe…Robert mugabe Obert Mpofu.. the generals the chinese have the diamond money.None in the Reserve Bank..Thabo Mbeki is an idiot whom no African or Zimbsbwean should listen too.

  • comment-avatar
    BossMyass 9 years ago

    Just a look in their huge bank accounts should give the answer that everybody knows well.

  • comment-avatar

    Now that the irritating and bothersome MDC is out of the way, Zanu can now distribute the diamond wealth at will. One obvious way is to distribute the money is payment of high salaries to civil servants as already announced.

    Iri kuuya mari!
    he he ee, chegore rino,
    tichakaro ita mayoka nayo mari.

  • comment-avatar
    Mr Mixed Race 9 years ago

    Are you being serious or funny Mr.CDE? If you are not,then I rest my case with your stu….ty.

  • comment-avatar

    Zim ambassador to japan knows as money laundered with diplomatic impunity or is it impunity. The last white man standing

  • comment-avatar
    Munyaradzi 9 years ago

    Kutoita manyoka ne poverty munyika ine uchi nemukaka nhai?

  • comment-avatar
    Hisexcellency 9 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    BossMyass 9 years ago

    Africa’s future is up to Africans. The United States supports the Zimbabwean people in their effort to fully realize the promise of democracy, human rights, and economic development. Zanu-PF is highly unlikely to do anything in the short-term which would enable the west to remove the sanctions and rob Mr Mugabe of his favourite campaign weapon. So the Zanu PF leadership finds itself on very thin ice and if they make one wrong step, they will break through and freeze to death. They simply cannot make good on their promises to pay higher salaries to Government workers and the armed forces, they cannot improve allowances and pensions to war veterans. They have to resume debt collection with tough penalties and they have to persuade a skeptical business world that there is life after the elections and under Zanu PF leadership.

  • comment-avatar
    Petal 8 years ago

    Stuffed in someones bank account abroad offshore perhaps ritish Virgin Islands , Switzerland or Hong Kong or Singapore!! so they can live VERY comfortably