Grow inside a factory in a few days what nature is capable of creating by itself in hundreds of years. This is the idea of an American company that has set its eyes on Extremadura, and on the 3,000 hours of sunshine it offers a year, to manufacture one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world: diamond. He already does it in the United States, but now Diamond Foundry, an American company that emerged in Silicon Valley a decade ago that has actor Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor, wants to open to the European market from the Caceres town of Trujillo.
Since he starred in the movie Blood Diamond in 2006, Dicaprio, as well known as an actor and a profound activist, felt disgusted by obtaining diamonds in Africa in conditions of semi-slavery to finance armed conflicts, so he decided to invest, a decade later (2015 ), at Diamond Foundry.
The The company proposes an investment of 670 million to build an industry in more than 30,000 square meters in which it will implement cutting-edge technology to ‘cultivate’ this expensive and coveted mineral that can be a shock in the technology sector. Because although Diamond Foundry has been dedicated until now to the manufacture of synthetic diamonds for jewelery (it has its own jewelery brand), the ‘Extremadurans’ will be destined for industrial use. They will be made in sheets or diamond crystal chips and will be used as semiconductors for circuits or chips, which will allow improvements in the field of electronics and high technology, especially 5G and electric cars, due to their exceptional properties of hardness and Thermal conductivity. The ‘Di Caprio diamonds’ could even become a good alternative to microchips as they are known until today, scarce and in high demand today, which are manufactured mainly with silicon.
To create the Extremaduran diamonds, 600 reactors will be installed that will work thanks to a 120 megawatt photovoltaic self-consumption plant with 60 megawatts of batteries to be built by Powen Energías Renovables, also the promoter of the project, together with the factory. “It is something absolutely cutting edge and an opportunity to reindustrialize Spain”, highlights Rafael Benjumea, head of Powen. Ultimately, they will be diamonds that will grow thanks to the Trujillo sun.
The company was founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Martin Roscheisen and Jeremy Scholz and has managed to raise close to 100 million dollars from investors who see in this technology a viable alternative to obtain diamonds for the jewelry industry outside the mines, many of them located in developing countries under terrible working conditions.
The Extremadura industrial project has the support of the Junta de Extremadura and the Ministry of Industry, it will need around a year and a half of administrative procedures and permits and two years of construction, but it could start working before the first year of works, since it will be built in modules. They estimate about 300 direct jobs in the area.
It was in June when the agreement was signed between Industry and the Junta de Extremadura and the American company, thus giving direct work to about 300 people. Guillermo Fernández Vara, president of the Junta de Extremadura, declared then that “the Extremadura region is the best place in the world to carry out this project” and raised its natural resources, something that DiCaprio has known how to value, as he does with so many of his companies, in which he invests, especially if they create innovative projects that protect the environment, take care of endangered species and ensure the future of threatened communities.
Besides being an actor and defender of the environment, he is also an entrepreneur. He has invested in fair trade companies such as Runa, a brand that distributes organic teas and natural energy drinks made from a plant native to Ecuador called guayusa. Around 3,000 indigenous families cultivate it and the company hires them directly. The goal is to ensure the future of these communities.