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De Beers facts for kids

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De Beers Group
Industry Mining and trading of diamonds
Founded 1888; 135 years ago (1888)
Founder Cecil Rhodes
Headquarters ,
Area served
Key people
Mark Cutifani (Chairman)
Bruce Cleaver (CEO)
Products Diamonds
Services Diamond marketing and promotion
Revenue Increase$6.08 billion (2018)
Owners Anglo American (85%)
Botswana (15%)
Number of employees

De Beers Group is an international corporation that specialises in diamond exploration, diamond mining, diamond retail, diamond trading and industrial diamond manufacturing sectors. The company is currently active in open-pit, large-scale alluvial, coastal and deep sea mining. It operates in 35 countries and mining takes place in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Canada and Australia. From its inception in 1888 until the start of the 21st century, De Beers controlled 80% to 85% of rough diamond distribution and was accused of being a monopoly. Competition has since dismantled the complete monopoly, though the De Beers Group still sells approximately 35% of the world's rough diamond production through its global sightholder and auction sales businesses.

The company was founded in 1888 by British businessman Cecil Rhodes, who was financed by the South African diamond magnate Alfred Beit and the London-based N M Rothschild & Sons bank. In 1926, Ernest Oppenheimer, a German immigrant to Britain and later South Africa who had earlier founded mining company Anglo American with American financier J.P. Morgan, was elected to the board of De Beers. He built and consolidated the company's global monopoly over the diamond industry until his death in 1957. During this time, he was involved in a number of controversies, including price fixing and trust behaviour, and was accused of not releasing industrial diamonds for the U.S. war effort during World War II.

In 2011, Anglo American took control of De Beers after buying the Oppenheimer's family stake of 40 percent for US$5.1 billion (£3.2 billion) and increasing its stake to 85 percent, ending the 80-year Oppenheimer control of the company. In 2018, De Beers became the first diamond company to announce that it would track its diamonds using blockchain technology, though this technology has not yet been rolled out.

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