Botswana mined an exceptional 1080-carat diamond

Eva Morletto

By Eva Morletto17 août 2023

Canadian company Lucara Diamond has just announced the discovery of a 1080-carat diamond in its Karowe diamond mine located in Botswana, the seventh largest in the world.

Lucara Diamond mine unveils the world's seventh largest diamond, reinforcing Botswana's position as the world's leading diamond producer by value (Lucara Diamond)

According to the Natural Diamond Council, this would be the seventh-largest diamond ever discovered. The mine has never been short of surprises: this stone is the fourth largest in terms of significance among the discoveries made by the mine since 2015. It measures 82.2mm x 42.8mm x 34.2mm and is what experts define as a 'high-quality white gem.'
Eira Thomas, the CEO of the company, emphasized that the underground operation of the mine reveals deposits characterized by the presence of 'large, high-value stones.'

In fact, the mine had already discovered an exceptional diamond in 2015: the Lesedi La Rona (1109 carats) purchased by Graff Diamonds and the legendary Sewelô, a 1758-carat gem acquired by Louis Vuitton.
Extension works are currently underway at the mining site owned by Lucara Diamonds. This is also one of the few mining sites that is not part of the agreement between the Botswana government and the giant De Beers, and Lucara holds the mining license until 2046. Estimates suggest that this year, the carats extracted from Karowe should be around 425,000, with revenues ranging from $200 to $230 million.

According to data from the Kimberley Process negotiation forum, Botswana remains the world's top producer of diamonds by value. In 2022, Botswana produced $4.7 billion worth of gems. Russia follows with $3.5 billion, with production and export continuing despite sanctions related to the Ukrainian conflict, impacting the Russian gemstone giant Alrosa.

Russia remains one of the largest diamond extractors: in 2021, 15 million carats mainly came from Siberia. Canada is also one of the largest producers, with the country producing between 15 and 20 million carats annually. The deposits are located in the far north.

As for buyers, De Beers undoubtedly remains the world's most important diamond company. Founded in 1888 in South Africa, it now operates in Botswana and Namibia as well. The company Alrosa, 43% owned by the Russian state, comes next, followed by Rio Tinto, an Anglo-Australian mining group active in Australia, Canada, and Zimbabwe.

The English company Petra Diamonds, founded in 1977, also positions itself as a major competitor with its six mines in South Africa and its two mines in Tanzania, producing higher-quality diamonds than those from Russia.

De Beers, Alrosa, and Rio Tinto alone account for 65% of the diamonds traded worldwide.

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