Large-scale profitable discoveries will most likely remain elusive

The large diamond mining companies are expected to continue to invest in exploration, but the probability of a major profitable new diamond discovery will remain relatively low. This is simply because finding economic diamond deposits is difficult: even spending billions of US dollars in exploration carries no guarantee of actually discovering economically viable deposits.

Over the last 140 years, almost 7,000 kimberlite pipes have been sampled by geologists, about 1,000 of which have been diamondiferous. However, only about 60 of these are sufficiently rich in diamond to be economically viable. Just seven mines are what miners refer to as ‘Tier 1 deposits’ with more than US$20 billion worth of reserves. Overall, the global mining industry is facing increasing pressure on capital expenditure, and in recent years many large-scale development projects have been placed on hold. This also puts pressure on exploration spending.