The world’s most valuable diamonds have been discovered in South African waters off the coast of Botswana, the latest example of the mineral’s value increasing dramatically.
The finding, which was reported Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal, came after years of mining efforts that had failed to yield a single ounce of the stone.
A few years ago, the government and diamond traders had hoped that the South African government would provide $1 billion to support diamond exploration, but it failed to deliver on that pledge.
Now the country’s diamond trade has been cut by 70 percent in the last decade, and its demand for diamonds has plummeted by almost 90 percent.
The mines that produced the diamonds in Botswana were all owned by a consortium of companies, including a French company that had invested heavily in the South Africa industry, including by buying diamond mines in the country and turning them into profitable mines.
Some of the diamonds are still under the control of the South Africans government.
The discovery in Botswanese waters came amid a massive surge in demand for the gemstone in China, the world leader in diamond production.
According to the Chinese government, it has nearly 10,000 tons of diamonds on the planet.
It is estimated that China will become the world market for the diamond industry by 2030.