Lab-grown diamonds set to fill projected deficit as mined production declines – by Zandile Mavuso (Mining Weekly – September 18, 2015)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Technological developments that enable manufacturers to produce grown diamonds have presented the industry with a significant growth opportunity, with a noticeable influence on the economy and the diamond value chain, as researchers predict the demand for grown diamonds to double in the next ten years.

This is because, in addition to the jewellery industry, manufacturing and energy companies also use grown diamonds. Singapore-based grown diamonds manufacturer IIa Technologies (pronounced ‘2a Technologies) says this is a result of the projected decline of mined diamond supply, as the quality levels of mined diamonds are unpredictable for high-technology applications; further, almost all of the mined diamond production is absorbed by the gems and jewellery industry.

Owing to this, grown diamonds are filling an important gap in the diamond industry as a new source of raw material.

Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan’s ‘Grown Diamond Impact 2050’ report, published last year, indicates that mined diamonds are a finite resource, considering the extreme and rare occurrence of the natural surroundings in which they are formed. Therefore, the sustainability of the mined diamond industry as a primary source for the industry is declining.

State of the Diamond Industry

Based on the Frost & Sullivan report, global mined diamond supply is estimated to drop to 13-million carats in 2050, from the projected 133-million carats in 2014. Further, despite the implementation of technological developments in mining exploration, rough diamond production looks bleak.

South African diamond miner De Beers estimates that more than 8 000 kimberlites have been found; however, only 67 of those kimberlites have enough diamonds to justify the economics of establishing a mine.

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