Hundreds and hundreds of years ago diamonds were seen to be miraculous with magical and supernatural power. The belief and perception of diamonds developed because in those days no tool whatsoever was able to cut them, nor could fire change them in any way.
It is said that production at the Venetia mine which is run by De Beers, the largest in South Africa, is scheduled to return to normal production rate midyear (2013). De Beers is solely responsible for the 4million carats that were produced last year, of which 3million carats came from the Venetia mine. Even though the Venetia mine has experienced setbacks due to heavy precipitation, this year February saw the company invest a whopping sum of $2.27 billion in the mine. This investment will literally lengthen the mine’s life span until 2042.
The last 200 years has reflected South Africa’s worst rainfall statistics which has resulted to 23 metres of water in the mine, posing heavy challenges for De Beers by essentially slowing down production.
In 2012, De Beers’ mines in Botswana, South Africa and Canada produced and controlled 40% of the global untouched diamond sector; an amount of 27.9 million carats. That year also saw the company’s total sales fall 16% and core earnings decreased by 39%. Motivated by Chinese New Year and a recovery in demand in the U.S, De Beers’ sales in diamonds saw slight improvement in the first quarter of this year. After the 12% decrease last year, the company predicts that there will be a single-digit rise in the prices for rough diamonds.
Africa as a continental nation is well aware of how much the world is enticed by Africa’s mineral resources, we have yet to see any new large diamond developments…how long before China, Asia or Australia find major discoveries?