The Land of Plenty: South African Diamonds
Since late 19th century, South Africa has been a major producer of diamonds. It features in every “top 10” lists of world diamond producers, and is considered the second largest producer in the diamond-rich continent of Africa, after Botswana.
According to EhudLaniado.com, South Africa is rich in white, pink and blue diamonds, and enjoys the most diverse range of diamond deposits in the world – alluvial, open-pit mining, underground mining and offshore marine mining. The major operators of mines in the country are De Beers and TransHex.
According to the Kimberley process report for 2014, South Africa’s total rough diamond production was 7.43 million carats for a value of $1.22 billion.
In 2015, diamond production in the country suffered a setback . Figures released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) in January showed that diamonds and platinum-group metals (PGMs) recorded the largest negative growth rates in November 2014. PGMs eased 14.3%, while diamond output fell 14.2%. Gold and copper output fell 10.1%. The statistics agency said that overall mining production declined by 0.4% year-on-year in November.
Last June, South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi expressed concerned about impending job losses in the country’s mining sector. It is thought that 19 diamond‚ gold and platinum mining companies are likely to cut jobs.