In 2022, Russia was reported as the leading global producer of rough diamonds, according to data from the Kimberley Process cited by RIA Novosti. The Kimberley Process statistics revealed that the total volume of diamond production worldwide in 2022 was approximately 119.96 million carats. Of this staggering figure, Russia alone accounted for 41.9 million carats, representing a 35% share of the total global production. This was an unprecedented achievement for Russia, as its rough diamond production had never before exceeded 32% of the total global output since the Kimberley Process began tracking these volumes in 2004.
The second-largest producer of rough diamonds was the continent of Africa, which collectively contributed 61.6 million carats to the global supply. Within Africa, Botswana emerged as the foremost supplier, yielding 24.5 million carats. Consequently, both Russia and Africa were responsible for over 90% of the global rough diamond output in 2022.
Following Russia and Africa, Canada accounted for the third-largest production of rough diamonds, with its total output reaching 16.3 million carats. However, it was clear that Russia and Africa were the dominant players in the global rough diamond market.
In terms of exports, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the European Union (EU) emerged as the top two exporters of rough diamonds, collectively representing 49.7% of the global export market. The UAE exported 89.4 million carats or approximately 27% of global rough diamond exports, while the EU exported 75.2 million carats, constituting 22.7% of the global market. Both the UAE and the EU were recognized as major diamond trading hubs on the world stage. Meanwhile, Russia held an 11.1% share of the global rough diamond export market, accounting for 36.7 million carats.
However, the global diamond trade faced potential disruption due to geopolitical challenges. Sanctions related to the situation in Ukraine led to bans or partial restrictions on the import of Russian rough diamonds by the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand.
The EU, along with the Group of Seven (G7) countries, were reported to have been deliberating the possibility of imposing a comprehensive ban on Russian diamonds, which would encompass both direct and indirect imports. Media reports suggested that EU officials were proposing the implementation of a tracking system that would involve physical checks of diamond packages and mandatory traceability data for producers and traders. Although the timeline for the introduction of such a mechanism remained unclear, if put into effect, this ban could have significant implications for the global diamond market.
Industry experts expressed concerns over the potential repercussions of such a ban, warning about its potential impact on the global diamond trade. Meanwhile, Russia has been actively diversifying its diamond trade by redirecting its exports to markets in China, India, the UAE, Armenia, and Belarus. These countries have witnessed a notable increase in their diamond imports from Russia in the wake of the sanctions.
The diamond industry is closely monitoring the developments in the global market, particularly with regard to potential bans on Russian diamonds, as they have the potential to reshape the dynamics of the industry. For further coverage on economy and finance, visit RT’s business section.