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Analyzing the Major Diamond Mines Worldwide

The worldwide retail market for diamond jewellery is roughly around $75 billion. About 133 million carats of rough diamonds are produced each year. Botswana and Russia are the two largest producers; between them they have about half of the world's production. Australia, Angola, Namibia and Canada make up most of the rest. There are even fewer diamond producers. In fact, four control about 65 percent of the market: De Beers, Russian producer Alrosa, and diversified mining companies BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. De Beers alone controls about 35 percent of the market, with Alrosa about 20 percent.

The Argyle diamond mine hardly needs an introduction. This Australian mine is known worldwide for its famous pink diamonds, but their colored diamonds only account for .01% of the total output. The mine is owned by Rio Tinto, and opened in 1985. As of early 2011, it had produced 750 million carats of diamonds, with 9.8 million carats in 2010 alone. What's interesting about this mine is that it was originally an open pit mine, but as that part of the mine began to reach the end of its life, the company changed tactics and began underground mining. This extended the overall lifetime of the mine, keeping it on the list of top producing diamond mines.

The Diavik mine is one of the few operational diamond mines in North America. It is located in Canada's north-west territories, and is the youngest of all of our top mines, having first opened in 2003. It is partially owned by Rio Tinto, a massive diamond mining company out of Melbourne, Australia. The Diavik mine is an open-pit operation, meaning that all of the diamonds (and the earth surrounding them, are removed from the mine through a large crater-like hole in the ground. In 2010, the mine produced 6.5 million carats of diamonds.

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