For the first time in its history Russia has publicly released its diamond import, export and production statistics.
The diamond statistics have been considered an official state secret since the 1950s, when the first mines were discovered.
According to a report from Russia’s Finance Ministry, the country’s uncut diamond production in the first half of 2004 was 17.7 million carats, valued at $948 million.
In 2003, Russia produced 33 million carats of stones, or $1.6 billion. This makes Russia the largest diamond producer in terms of volume, although still second to Botswana in terms of value.
Russia is making the figures public to comply with the requirements of the Kimberley Process. Russia is supposed to be the new chair of the process next year, but its chairmanship was jeopardized if it didn’t make the figures public.
It was also possible sanctions could have been put on the country.