List of the 10 African diamond-producing countries
Diamond is an extremely beautiful gemstone composed of crystallized carbon. By this beauty it attracts many jewelers and because of its extreme hardness understood by resistance, it is used for certain needs in the industrial sector. The diamond can be white, yellow, brown, orange, green, purple, blue or red. Since the 1870s, gem-quality diamonds have been mined mainly on the African continent. Africa thus contributes 62% of world diamond production. Some African countries are distinguished by a significant production of diamonds in terms of volume. These are among others Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Guinea, Lesotho, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.
Botswana is the first diamond producing country in Africa, with an annual production estimated at 23.687 million carats for the year 2019. The diamond is of industrial quality and of gem quality, that is to say intended for jewelry ( more than 70% of global diamond production). The country’s economy is largely supported by the diamond industry. This sector accounts for about 60% of exports and for 25% of the Gross Domestic Product. Diamond exploration in the country began in the 1950s and mining in 1971. The main Botswana mines in operation are Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane, Damtshaa, Ghagoo, Karowe. The companies working with diamonds in the country are Debswana, Lucara Diamonds, Botswana Diamond, Alrosa, Gem Diamonds, DTCB (Diamond Trading Company Botswana) which ensures all activities related to the sale.
Angola is rich in several diamond mines. The first diamonds were discovered in 1912. According to Kimberly Process statistics the country produced 8.4 million carats of rough diamonds in 2018. In 2019, production reached 9.149 million carats. As in Botswana, the diamond market significantly supports the country’s economy. The most important mines in terms of production are the Catoca and Lulo mines. More than 80% of Angolan production is for jewelry, the diamonds have a beautiful shape and are quite pure. Mining is carried out by Alrosa, Endiama (the national diamond company), Lucapa Diamond, Rosas & Petelas, Lev Leviev International.
The Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has the largest diamond reserves on the continent. However, in 2018, production was around 16.390 million carats of diamonds. According to Kimberly Process statistics, production in 2019 was 6.335 million carats of diamonds. The main mines in operation are those of Mbuyi Mayi, Bakwanga and Forminière. The diamond is mined by La Minière de Bakwanga (the country’s mining company) and the Sino-Congolese company Sacim.
Diamond mining in South Africa is over 150 years old. The largest diamond was discovered there in 1950. In 2019, the production amounted to 7.180 million carats of diamonds. The greater part of the production of South African diamonds is intended for jewelry, this one being of very good quality. The mines in operation are those of Kimberly, Venetia and Finsch, Cullinan, Koffiefontein, Marsfontein, Namaqualand, The Oaks and Voorspoed. The mines are open pit and underground, the deposits are marine and coastal and alluvial mining is practiced. The operating companies in the country are De Beers, Petra Diamonds, the Diamcor mining company.
Namibia produces very good quality diamonds and almost 98% of this production is gem quality. In 2019, production was estimated at 2.018 million carats of diamonds. The diamond is mined at the mouth of the Orange River. The main mines are Namdeb Marine and Namdeb Onshore. Operation is carried out by a subsidiary of the De Beers group called Nambed Diamond Corporation.
Lesotho produces diamonds of exceptional quality that are white in color. The production in 2019 is 1.113 million carats of diamonds. The mines in operation are Letseng, Mothae, Liqhobong, Kao. The operating companies are Gem Diamond, Firestone Diamonds, Namakwa Diamonds, Lucapa Diamond.
Sierra Leone is also one of the major diamond producing countries in Africa. The diamonds are of good quality and purity. The country presented a production of 811.6 thousand carats of diamonds in 2019. The diamond deposits are alluvial and are mostly artisanal type operations. They are mainly located at the Guinean and Liberian borders and along the Sewa River. The main mines are Tongo, Tonguma, Koidu and Voorspoed.
Tanzania has small diamonds (almost half of production) and around 70% are gem quality. In 2019, Tanzania produced 416,749 thousand carats of diamonds. The farms are located in the north of the country at Mwadui near Lake Victoria. The mine in operation is that of Williamson. The operating company present in the country is Petra Diamonds.
Zimbabwe produced 2.8 million carats of diamonds in 2018. In 2019, again according to Kimberly Process statistics, production was 2.108 million carats of diamonds. The main diamond mining company is the state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
Guinea produces good quality diamonds, the purity is variable. About 75% of diamonds are for jewelry. The deposits are mainly found in the south-east of the country in the Bonankoro-Sefadou zone. The country produced 229,179 thousand carats of diamonds in 2019.