- What makes Antarctica difficult to mine?
- Why not go to the North Pole?
- What alternatives are there?
Buying diamonds is currently still fairly simple, but this could certainly change within the foreseeable future. The number of operational diamond mines has been steadily decreasing for years. Experts expect that worldwide diamond production will stagnate around 2020. This is why mining for diamonds on Antarctica has regularly been suggested. How feasible is a diamond mine on the South Pole? What are the other alternatives?
What makes Antarctica difficult to mine?
An international treaty for an unspecified period of time, signed by 50 countries, prohibits the exploration and exploitation of natural sources on the icy continent. According to experts, this ban can be reviewed during the course of the next century. Global warming plays a role here too, although it is anyone’s guess whether climate changes are going to make mining for valuable diamonds harder or easier. Geological and mineral research has shown that Antarctica is home to an invaluable wealth of natural raw materials.
This is not limited to diamonds, as there is also an impressive presence of coal, iron ore, manganese, copper, uranium and petroleum. But mining on the South Pole does not even appear realistic without this international treaty. It is therefore not likely that you will soon be able to buy diamonds from Antarctica.
Why not the North Pole?
The North Pole has a somewhat warmer climate than Antarctica, with easier to drill ice fields, but the biting cold and other environmental factors would make this a logistical nightmare. The thawing of the permafrost may well present more possibilities for reclamation, but it could just as easily make the working conditions even more difficult. The global lack of new, exploitable diamond mines could easily push the diamond prices up even more during the forthcoming years.
That is naturally a good thing if you want to buy diamonds now, but what about the long-term? This will continue to be difficult to forecast.
What are the alternatives?
Even though the stocks of diamonds to be reclaimed on the mainland is starting to dry up, there are many subsea areas which still contain a wealth of diamonds. Diamond reclamation is still difficult there too, but the industry has made some great progress in subsea reclamation in recent years. Even though subsea reclamation offers access to an unbelievably large new stock of diamonds, this method of reclamation is still incredibly expensive. This can be reflected in the prices for diamonds right across the world. What if all diamonds are going to be extracted like this within a few years? This could certainly make buying diamonds a great deal more expensive.