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De Beers is prospecting for diamonds close to its Snap Lake mine, which opened in 2008 in the forbidding terrain of Canada’s Northwest Territories

Business overview

Anglo American’s diamond interests are represented by its 45% shareholding in De Beers. The other shareholders in De Beers are Central Holdings Ltd (an Oppenheimer family owned company), which owns 40%, and the Government of Botswana with 15%.

De Beers is the world’s leading diamond business and with its joint venture partners operates in more than 20 countries across five continents, employing around 20,000 people. De Beers produces around 40% of the world’s rough diamonds by value from its mines in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa.

De Beers holds a 50% interest in Debswana Diamond Company and in Namdeb Diamond Corporation, owned jointly with the Government of Botswana and the Government of Namibia, respectively, and a 70% shareholding in De Beers Marine Namibia.

In addition, De Beers has a 74% shareholding in South African based De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, with a broad-based black economic empowerment consortium (the Ponahalo group) holding the balance.

De Beers owns 100% of The Diamond Trading Company (DTC), the sales and rough diamonds distribution arm of De Beers. It also has a 50% interest with the Government of Botswana in Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) and a 50% ownership, along with the Government of Namibia’s matching shareholding, in Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC).

De Beers and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton have established a high-end retail jewellery joint venture, through De Beers Diamond Jewellers (DBDJ), with stores in the most fashionable areas of some of the world’s great cities, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Tokyo and Dubai.

De Beers, through Element Six, is a major producer of synthetic industrial diamond material; applications include cutting, grinding, polishing, wire making and other technical and scientific uses. Element Six has a significant market share in the oil and gas drilling business and has expanded in recent years by building a manufacturing facility in China, through acquiring a majority stake in a facility in Ukraine, and by enhancing its hard-material portfolio with the acquisition of Barat Carbide in Germany. The Barat acquisition has given Element Six materials competence in carbide, and marketing channels as well as application knowhow in mining, road construction and for wear parts. With sales of well above $100 million, Barat Carbide is a large addition to Element Six, resulting in total annual sales of over $500 million for the combined entities.

De Beers ownership structure

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Share of associate’s operating profit

2008 $508m 2007: $484m


2008 $665m 2007: $587m
  • De Beers is the world leader in diamonds
  • Diamond production exceeded 48 million carats
  • Opened three mines in the year (two in Canada and one in South Africa)