In 2018, 147 million carats of diamonds were pulled from deep in the earth’s crust. Many of those diamonds came from just five different countries. While some of these countries are on the list purely because of size, the others are mainly due to location on earth. As Diamonds have specific heat and pressure requirements to form and also have to be pushed upwards in the earth’s crust to be accessible, then some countries simple have an advantage based on their position between on earth.
Let’s take a look at the top 3:
The Congo has long been a diamond mining country and, although production has been declining, remains at the number 3 spot on the list. Approximately 700,000 miners pick their way through the country’s alluvial mines (meaning they’re bed deposits under sources of water). In 2013, the country mined about $150 million worth of diamonds.
In term of pure value, Botswana is the leader in diamond-production. However, it’s volume comes in second. In 2013, more than 23 million carats of diamonds were pulled from their mines worth $3.63 billion in stated value.
No one can touch Russia in terms of land volume and, luckily, all of the fault lines run around the outside of the country. That makes Russia prime ground for diamond-formation. They pull around 150% of what Botswana does at about 40 million carats per year and recent estimates put the total amount of diamonds under Russia at a whopping 973 Million carats.
Rounding out the top 10 are the following:
8. South Africa
10. Sierra Leone
Why does position matter?
Diamonds mainly form in the center of tectonic plates, away from the fault lines. If you look at a map of the fault lines, you can see they’re mostly all well-centered (and Australia even has it’s own mini-plate). Humans are just now figuring out how to make lab-grown diamonds because the process is pretty rough and requires lots of pressure and heat.