Diamonds are rare and usually located in remote areas around the world. In Australia, two of the Diamond mines are located in the far north of Australia.
Merlin mine, before being sold off from Rio Tinto to Xstrata and closing in 2003, was located 80 kilometres south-west of Borroloola in the Northern Territory. It was here that Australia's biggest diamond was ever found, weighing in at a respectable 104.73 carats and has been valued at over US $500,000.
Merlin was an unusual Diamond mine in that it produced a very large percentage of quality gem stones. Around 65% of the production was of gem quality where the norm is in the vicinity of 20% of a mines production. The remaining 35% of the diamonds found are called industrial grade and are used in a very large variety of products, including the computer that you are reading this on.
Argyle mine is located in the Kimberley region in the far north of Western Australia.
This is a very remote region of Northern Australia and the heat, flies and distances are formidable. The landscape is extremely old but very, very beautiful. It is a beauty that won't appeal to everyone though because it is very stark and an unkind environment to anyone who is careless.
It is a rocky, arid and 'scrubby' type landscape; but the short stunted trees whose leaves turn sideways to the hot sun during the heat of the day, give off a blueness against the old blood red soil that cause the hills in the distance to turn a purplish colour.
Owned by Rio Tinto, this mine is the world's largest single producer by volume of diamonds. However, due to the low proportion of gem quality diamonds, it is not the world's most financially rewarding diamond mine. It does produce 90-95% of the world's supply of pink diamonds and it also produces a large quantity of champagne diamonds.
Diamonds are never found in convenient locations except at the end of their journey when they rest in a display case in a jeweler's shop.