Re-reading the foreword in the 2010 Diamonds Source to Use Conference proceedings reminded me of the turmoil that the industry was in at that time. Since then, the survivors have dusted themselves off, new allegiances have been forged, and junior mining companies have made significant acquisitions and elevated themselves to the ranks of the majors.
From this process, a new breed of diamond mining company has emerged. These have proven to be capable of redefining their operating strategy in very short periods of time, of developing smaller, lower cost operational units with rapid ramp-up periods, and through all this, have maintained the consumer’s desire for diamonds through ensuring the ethical standards of the diamond pipeline.
In convening the 2010 and 2013 conferences, the organizers aimed to highlight the technical advances that had occurred since the previous conference, and both featured a good selection of technical papers and presentations that included topics on geology, exploration, mining and processing.
The search for applicable papers for the 2013 event revealed the sheer number of brownfield projects currently under way in the diamond industry, particularly in South Africa. These range from Petra’s C Cut project to De Beers’ Venetia Underground Project and Diamond Corporation’s Lace expansion. Although it was not possible to have presentations on these at the event, the owners of the operations were encouraged to start motivating their staff to research and compile papers and presentations for the next conference in 2015.
In this issue of the Journal, a selection of papers from the 2013 event as well as the 2010 event are presented to showcase the topics under discussion at the time. We thank all the authors for their contribution, and now invite you to study the papers in this special journal edition, which are based on some of the leading experience in the diamond mining Industry.