The earth hides its diamonds well, so it can take years of searching to find them. The hunt requires major investment and advanced technology, coupled with traditional exploration know-how. But the exquisite beauty of diamonds makes the search worthwhile.
In the reconnaissance and discovery phases, we decide where to explore and identify targets for further analysis by sampling soil or stream sediments for indicator minerals and carrying out geophysical studies, before drilling to extract materials for examination.
Diamonds are usually found in kimberlites and lamproites, which are remnants of volcanoes bringing the diamonds to the surface from deep inside the earth. Not every discovery is economically viable. In fact, about 85 per cent of the discoveries do not contain diamonds. At this stage, we employ two techniques. Microdiamond analysis uses the size frequency and distribution of tiny diamonds to assess the potential of a discovery. Macrodiamond analysis extracts diamonds from bulk samples to determine the grade and estimate value.
Underpinning our exploration is unrivalled geological and mineral expertise and laboratory services that are recognised around the world.
We continually seek new diamond deposits, investigate the outer limits of our existing mines and analyse former mines to see if new technologies can economically recover additional diamonds.
De Beers is currently exploring for diamonds in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa.