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September 25, 2009


Fazal Majid

Synthetic diamonds work just fine for industrial applications (and in fact for jewelry as well, much as the De Beers-led cartel would like you to think they are somehow unsuitable).

Earl Mardle

good point. But its one thing to "work" just fine and another thing to "be" just fine.

Given the proportion of mystique entailed in jewellery however, and the increasing costs of the energy needed to make them, will they make the transition to post-peak diamonds?


Synthetic diamonds work well for industrial applications, although creating them requires a lot of energy and a lot of sophisticated support structure. You will not create the pressures required with simple sheet steel cases. What I wonder is whether some of those "uneconomical" kimberlite pipes will become a source for low grade diamonds as the supplies dry up.

Earl Mardle

The thing to think about is whether the energy cost of mining hitherto uneconomical pipes is sustainable.

We have been protected from genuine economic analysis by being able to dump waste at near zero cost and to have all the energy we need at a price we would like to pay.

Our polluting habits wont change and the costs will continue to be hidden from balance sheets, but energy is a different story. If we are right about PO then we will have to find ways of prioritising access to energy, especially oil.

Even war will become problematic because the military will have to pre-empt energy use in the domestic market and the question will become "so what, exactly, are we fighting for?"

The whole world will be in the same state as Japan in 1941, cut off from oil and having to go to war fast to capture some. Except that the prize pretty much isn't there any more.

Same with diamonds. What is the real economic return on them? Drilling and grinding/polishing will be the key uses.

But how much energy do you have to use to mine and process the diamonds to stick to a drill bit to drill for how much oil before the diamonds need replacing?

We haven't ever had to do those calculations, and we have no models for adapting the current economic structure to accommodate those calculations.

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