De Beers Bursaries

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De Beers offers comprehensive bursaries to promising students looking to pursue careers in the mining and diamond processing industry.

The De Beers Group of Companies is one of the world’s leading producers and traders of diamonds and related products, with a global market presence and an annual revenue of over $4.6 billion. The company also has operations in 28 countries and has extensive mining operations in Botswana, Namibia, Canada, and South Africa. While De Beers effectively held total control of the global diamond market until the early 21st century, even with today’s competition the company still accounts for around 35% of the total supply of rough diamonds worldwide.

De Beers was originally founded in 1888 by Cecil John Rhodes, the well-known British magnate and politician. The company’s name was derived from that of two Dutch settlers and brothers, Diederik Arnoldus De Beer and Johannes Nicolaas De Beer, who were the owners of a small farm near Zandfontein in the Orange Free State of what was then the South African Republic. When diamonds were discovered on the land, the pair were forced to give in to British demand and sell the farm. Their name was given to one of the mines established in the area, and subsequently became the name of Rhodes’ new diamond-mining company.

Through his early business of selling water pumps to miners during the diamond rush that took place in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, Rhodes amassed the funds to buy up the claims to smaller mining operations to the point at which he was able to start a separate mining company. With additional funding from the Rothschild family, he founded De Beers Consolidated Mines, a merger between his own company and that of Barney Barnato, a fellow mining magnate. Soon, De Beers was the sole owner of all diamond mining operations throughout South Africa. A purchasing agreement with the London-Based Diamond Syndicate drive the company to new heights towards the end of the century.

Around the turn of the century, De Beers saw its first major competition in the form of the Premier Mine, where the Cullinan Diamond, the largest rough diamond ever discovered, was found in 1905. This mine refused to join the De Beers cartel, instead selling to private dealers Bernhard and Ernest Oppenheimer. The Premier mine’s output proved to be so prolific that it eventually equalled that of all the De Beers mines combined. During World War I, the mine was finally absorbed into De Beers. The Oppenheimer family continued to own the majority of the company until 2011, when it sold the entirety of its stake to Anglo American, increasing the company’s total ownership of De Beers to 85%.

De Beers Bursary Program Overview

The De Beers bursary program is aimed at providing opportunities to promising candidates to pursue careers in the mining industry, as well as in fields related to the processing of diamonds. In particular, the company seeks to create a talent pipeline whereby talented individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford the training and education they need to hone their skills in these fields can make use of such opportunities and become valuable members of the De Beers workforce in the future.

As such, De Beers bursary recipients are required to work for the company for a period equal to the duration of their studies following graduation. De Beers is also committed to promoting diversity and equality in the industry and among tertiary institutions. Candidates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds are therefore often given preference in the selection process.

De Beers are also partners of BBE and promote justifiable working in an effort to further progressive advancement within South African industry. Four different types of De Beers bursaries are available: the Bridging Program, the Vocational Bursary, and further bursaries in Extractive Metallurgy and Mining Engineering.

In order to qualify for a De Beers bursary, prospective candidates should hold South African citizenship with a valid ID document, and should also have a strong academic record with a minimum of at least 60% for matric English, Higher-Grade Mathematics, and Higher-Grade Science. A commitment to innovation as well as leadership skills are also advantageous.

Bursary Benefits

As befits one of the largest and most profitable companies in South Africa as well as the world at large, De Beers bursaries are some of the most comprehensive on offer.

First and foremost, all tuition fees, as well as any administrative costs such as registration and examination fees, are fully covered for the full duration of the degree. Accommodation at a hostel or residence run by the university at which the bursary recipient is enrolled is also covered, as are meals provided by the residence in question.

An allowance is given towards books and other necessary study materials, including a computer allowance in the third year of study. A stipend to cover day-to-day living expenses is also provided as part of the bursary.

Qualifications Covered

De Beers bursaries cover a range of different qualifications that are relevant to the mining and diamond processing industries.

Within the faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, these include Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Science degrees majoring in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Or Mining Engineering. In the faculty of Science, Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Metallurgy, Software Development, and Mathematics are covered by De Beers bursaries.

The same goes for Bachelor of Commerce degrees (Accounting stream only) and Bachelor of Business Science degrees (Chartered Accountancy stream only).

Application Process

Application for a De Beers bursary must be done through a recognised tertiary institution at which the candidate wishes to study (submission to multiple institutions is allowed).

The necessary forms can be downloaded from the De Beers website, and must be completed and submitted along with all supporting documents to the De Beers bursary office at De Beers Bursaries: P.O. Box 30632, Braamfontein, 2017, South Africa.

Depending on the specific bursary, applications close between the middle of June and the end of July annually.

De Beers operate the Venetia open pit mine, the largest diamond mine in South Africa creating well over 2000 jobs.


Application Due Date
31 July 2018


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