Event Date: 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 19:00

Location: 

Trinity College, Dublin Museum Building - M4 Lecture Hall

Description: 

Since the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1866 until the end of 2014, Africa is estimated to have produced almost 3.27 Bct out of a total global production of 5.14 Bct, or 63.6% of all diamonds that have ever been mined. In 2014 African countries ranked 2nd (Botswana), 3rd (DRC), 6th (Angola), 7th (South Africa), 8th (Zimbabwe), 9th (Namibia) and 10th (Sierra Leone) in terms of carat production, and 2nd (Botswana), 4th (Angola), 5th (South Africa), 6th (Namibia), 7th (Lesotho), 9th (Zimbabwe) and 10th (Sierra Leone) in terms of value of the diamonds produced. In that year alone Africa produced 64.97 Mct or 52.1 % of a global total of 124.79 Mct, which was worth US$8.43bn or 58.1% of the world production which was valued at US$14.50bn. Of all diamonds produced in Africa, 47.8% has been mined in southern Africa, 44.7% in central Africa, 6.8 % in West Africa and 0.7 % in East Africa. The most productive geological domain is therefore the Kaapvaal/Zimbabwe Craton for primary and secondary diamonds. This piece of rural estate is home to four of the seven known Tier-1 or World-class mines and eight of the 10 Tier-2 mines that are known in the world, as well as three mega-placers. The average value of the diamonds mined from the Kaapvaal/Zimbabwe craton is 168 US$/ct, which is lower than East Africa (323 US$/ct) and West Africa (261 US$/ct) but higher than central Africa and the rest of the world with mean diamond values of 59 and 101 US$/ct respectively. Not only is the southern African region renowned for the quantity and quality of its rough stones, it also produces some of the highest valued individual stones in terms of colour and size both from specific kimberlites as well as from some of the alluvial operations straddling the major river systems in southern Africa. This presentation will highlight some of these deposits and its products that make the southern part of the African continent so unique in the global diamond industry.