Innovation is the key to sustained success, even for a traditional industry such as the diamond trade. Successful innovation, however, starts with questioning what we do and why we are doing it.
India's exports of polished diamonds rose 3% in value during the first quarter of 2017 (April-June) to $5.8 billion from $5.6 billion in 2016, according to provisional data released by India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). In June, the Indian trade recorded a rise of 7.5% to $1.98 bn as compared to $1.84 bn in the same month in 2016. In keeping with the trend of lower-value goods being traded, the percentage increase in the volume of carats exceeded the increase in value, as the volume of polished diamond exports in Q1 rose by 7%, and in June by 17%.
Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published an in-depth article charting the vicissitudes of rough diamond prices on a quarterly basis for the past 10 years - since the onset of the global financial crisis. We consider this a must-read for anyone seeking to gain insights into the diamond industry as a whole and rough supply-side dynamics in particular.
De Beers' rough diamond production for Q2 2017 increased 36 per cent to 8.7 million carats, which is in line with the higher production forecast for 2017 and reflects stable trading conditions as well as the contribution from the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué in Canada to nameplate capacity, report De Beers/Anglo American in a press statement. Second quarter production in Canada increased almost six-fold to over 1.0 million carats from 147,000 carats, with a total of 831,000 carats from Gahcho Kué (51% share) and 182,000 carats from their Victor mine.
On July 18, a very large rough diamond weighing almost 110 carats was recovered at the Processing Plant No. 3 of ALROSA’s Mirny Mining and Processing Division. Two days earlier, a 75-carat rough diamond was recovered at the Processing Plant No. 14 of Aikhal Mining and Processing Division. These large rough diamonds became presents for two anniversaries celebrated by the Company - 60 years of diamond mining industry and 25 years of ALROSA. Both rough diamonds are initially estimated as gem-quality. They are octahedron crystals with small inclusions, one of them with a straw-yellow tint.
Just days after announcing it had identified a group 2 kimberlite pipe at the Ontevreden licence held by Vutomi in an area known for its high-grade diamonds, AIM and BSE listed explorer Botswana Diamonds (BOD) has announced it has been granted a prospecting licence over an additional 1,000 hectares at its Vutomi joint venture in South Africa.
Canadian junior miner Rockwell Diamonds, which focuses on developing alluvial diamond deposits in South Africa and is currently in business rescue avoid liquidation, is struggling to stay afloat and to bring its new Wouterspan WPC) project into full production, all the while bleeding cash. And its CEO, Tjaart Willemse, brought in to turn the company around, has resigned.
Rio Tinto reports rough diamond output at its Argyle Mine in Australia reached 3.2 million carats in Q2 2017, representing a 7% increase over output in the first quarter of the year, but an 8% decline compared to the 3.5 million carats recovered in Q2 2017. For the first half of 2017, production fell 9% to 6.2 million carats from 6.9 million carats in the first half last year. The company attributes the decline to lower ore volumes processed following wet weather and additional maintenance required in the second quarter of this year.
Signet Jewelers Limited today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Virginia "Gina" C. Drosos, who has served as an independent director of the Company’s Board since 2012, as the new Chief Executive Officer of Signet, effective August 1, 2017. She is taking over the reins from Mark Light, who has served as CEO of Signet since 2014; he decided to retire after more than 35 years with the company due to health reasons, the company said in a statement.
After months of speculation and a rejected takeover attempt, Canadian miner Dominion Diamond Corporation has entered into an arrangement agreement with The Washington Companies to acquire all of Dominion’s outstanding common shares for US$14.25 per share in cash, or a total equity value of approximately US$1.2 billion. The transaction represents a 44 percent premium to Dominion’s unaffected share price of US$9.92 on March 17, 2017. Dominion rejected Washington's initial advance of $1.1 billion, or $13.50 a share last March, calling it "opportunistic" and saying it undervalued the company.
While their methodologies and results vary to some extent, even a cursory glance at the major diamond price indexes (RapNet, IDEX, Mercury, PolishedPrices) reveal an undeniable trend of continuing and sustained polished price declines.
Members of ALROSA Supervisory Board voted to re-elect Anton Siluanov, Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation, as Chairman of the Supervisory Board, the company announced in a press release last Friday. Siluanov has been a member of the Supervisory Board since 2014 and Chairman since 2015. He is also Chairman of the Supervisory Council of VTB Bank, member of the Board of Directors of Russian Export Center, the Board of Governors of the New Development Bank and a long list of other appointments.
Last week, a leading diamond grading and certification lab HRD Antwerp detected two large topaz stones fashioned to imitate rough diamonds in an apparent attempt to fool a trader. "Two large, near-colourless rough stones weighing 50.08 and 38.18 ct were submitted to our research department to determine their quality," HRD's statement reads. "The results indicated that the gemstones, believed to be diamonds, were actually topaz.
In its quarterly update on commissioning activities at its Liqhobong Diamond Mine (owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Government of Lesotho) for the quarter ended June 2017 (Q4), Firestone Diamonds says it completed its commissioning activities and reached full nameplate targets for all three months of the quarter. In Q4, Firestone treated 925,000 tons treated (Q3: 639,000 tons), bringing the total for the financial year to 1,966,000 tons, at the upper end of guidance range of 1,800,000 to 2,000,000 tons.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) will stay its course focused on the primary mission to curb the trade in conflict diamonds under new acting president Stephane Fischler, who assumed the reigns on July 1 after the resignation of Andrey Polyakov, writes Henry Lazenby for Mining Weekly Online. Mr. Fischler will serve in this capacity until the end of the term of this board on May 1 2018, at which time he will start his two year term as WDC President.
Botswana's state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) sales rose 9 percent to $309 million in the first half of the year as demand improved, its deputy managing director said on Friday. Marcus ter Haar told Reuters the company had sold 1.8 million carats in five auctions held since January, for an estimated average price of $172 per carat. "The volumes of carats sold were 3 percent higher than the same period in 2016," he said.
Canada's Dominion Diamond Corp., the world's third-largest diamond producer by market value with a controlling interest in the Ekati Mine and 40% owner of the Diavik Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is in advanced and friendly talks with The Washington Companies on a sweetened cash takeover bid, sources told Reuters this week. Susan Taylor and John Tilak write that Negotiations are focused on the two sides settling on a price, said the sources, who declined to speak publicly on the matter. A deal could be announced within weeks, they said.
South Africa has suspended implementation of a contentious and highly criticized mining ownership law pending a judgement in an urgent interdict application by mining companies, the country’s Chamber of Mines said. South African mineral resources minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, has agreed not to implement the current redraft of the Mining Charter Three pending judgement of an urgent interdict brought by the Chamber of Mines, a temporary victory for the miners.
Trade-focused VicenzaOro Dubai has merged with consumer-friendly Dubai International Jewellery Week to create the region’s only B2B and B2C jewelry event, reports Professional Jeweller. The VOD Dubai International Jewellery Show, as the event will be called, is to take place November 15-18 2017 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The intention is to bring together entire the global jewelry industry chain - from international trade organizations and chambers of commerce, to wholesalers, manufacturers, traders, retailers and end consumers.
Arctic Star, a Canadian diamond and mineral exploration company with diamond exploration properties in Nunavut (Stein), the NWT (Diagras and Redemption) and in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan has agreed to acquire a 100% interest in a 243 hectares exploration permit over the Black Wolf (Masta Susi) and the White Wolf (Valkoinen Susi) diamond bearing kimberlites in northern Finland. Named the Timantti Project (timantti is Finnish for diamond'), "Arctic Star views this new project as a unique opportunity to advance a new diamond district", says Buddy Doyle, VP Exploration of Arctic Star.
Diamond trader and brick & mortar crusader Melvin Moss is back at his provocative best in his most recent diatribe, "The #Diamond Family is Dysfunctional". He argues that major diamond miners producing too much rough at prices unsustainable for the rest of the industry (which deals with underpriced polished) and are extending their reach across the pipeline at the expense of everyone else - particularly retailers. "The diamond pipeline is dysfunctional", he writes. "Miners have a primary obligation to their shareholders.
Botswana Diamonds (BOD) the AIM and BSE listed explorer has announced that prospecting work on the Ontevreden licence held by Vutomi has identified a group 2 kimberlite pipe, the company said in a press release. Initial work indicates a size of 1.5 to 2.5 hectares in area containing high interest garnets.
Chow Tai Fook continued its upward sales trend during Q1 2017 (three months ended June 30), as retail sales increased 17% in value in Mainland China and 7% in Hong Kong and Macau. After 12 consecutive quarters (3 years) of same store sales decline in Hong Kong and Macau, dating back to Q4 2014, the Hong Kong-based jeweler has now experienced growth for the second quarter in a row. Same-store sales growth in the two regions amounted to 11% and 5%, respectively.
Tiffany & Co. announcd Thursday that it has named veteran luxury industry executive Alessandro Bogliolo as its next chief executive officer. Bogliolo most recently served four years as the chief executive of apparel and accessories company Diesel, and his resume includes 16 years at luxury jeweler, Bulgari, including in the roles of chief operating officer and executive VP of Jewelry, Watches & Accessories.
“‘A Game of Stones’ documents these facts not to harm the diamond trade in CAR, but to ensure they are confronted rather than ignored. It acknowledges - and tentatively welcomes - the efforts of the Kimberley Process and the government of CAR, but warns of risks that must be acknowledged and dealt with if genuine reform is to be achieved. It seeks to expose those who view the country’s current troubles as a business opportunity, while urging greater support for those seeking to mend them, including from international diamond companies."
- Global Witness, in statement to National Jeweler on CAR diamond smuggling report, says the trade needs to be responsible.
Canadian junior miner Stornoway Diamonds sold 350,159 carats in two scheduled Antwerp sales (2017 sales #4 and #5) for gross proceeds of US$31.9 million (C$40.9 million), at an average price of US$87 per carat (C$117 per carat), the company announced in a press release. This represents a drop from the 459,126 carats sold across three sales in Q1, earning US$38 million, but the price of rough per carat rose from $US83 per carat earned in the previous quarter.
Five Star Diamonds, a Canadian mining company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, Canada, is making significant progress on its kimberlite drilling program at its 100% owned Jaibaras Diamond Project in Para State, Brazil. On June 8, Five Star announced the start of the drilling program, which had identified eight kimberlite targets (J1 to J8), with their current focus kimberlite targets J1 and J2.
Anglo American plans to redevelop the historical premises of its De Beers diamond unit after choosing the building as its preferred option for a new London headquarters, write Jack Sidders and Thomas Biesheuvel for Bloomberg. Citing people with knowledge of the plan, they write that AA intends to modernize the Charterhouse Street property and then transfer staff there from its current premises near Buckingham Palace. The decision is subject to Anglo winning planning and regulatory approvals for the project, two of the people said.
The market for recycled diamonds has grown substantially in the last decade following the financial crash of 2008, and though it is hard to guage the market as a whole due the less-than-transparent avenues through which they are bought and sold, estimates are that the trade in recycled diamonds is now worth between five and ten percent of the global market - or approximately $1 billion - and is expanding. Abraham Dayan, writing for Rough-Polished, looks at some of the players in this growing market, the advantages it provides for manufacturers in need of affordable supply and retai
In June 2017, Russia's ALROSA Group sold $365 million worth of rough and polished diamonds, with rough diamond sales reaching $354.4 million and polished diamond sales $10.6 million, the company announced in a press release. The company's rough sales showed a significant value decline from the $468 million in rough sold in May. The volume of rough sold was not stated, but the value decline is a result of the company reducing stocks of smaller and cheaper stones.
Canadian junior miner Diamcor Mining Inc. sold 8,318.82 carats of rough diamonds for US$1,851,122.55 ($222.52 avg/ct) in fiscal Q1, ending June 30, 2017, from the newly expanded facilities at the company’s Krone-Endora at Venetia Project in South Africa. This represents a ~38% decrease compared to the 13,384.72 carats tendered and sold in the first fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2016, but only a 3% decrease in revenues compared to the $1,905,978.44 realized during the same period in the prior fiscal year.
Dominion Diamond Corporation received approval to use water for the Ekati Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The regions Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Robert C. McLeod, signed off on the type-A water license for Dominion’s mine as well as the Jay project, a high-grade kimberlite pipe which the company believes will extend the lifespan of Ekati for a decade.
The World Diamond Council (WDC), an industry group focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the global supply chain and protecting the value of natural diamonds, reaffirmed in a press release today its commitment to the Central African Republic (CAR). The statement reads: The WDC supports the efforts in preventing the trade of conflict diamonds originating from CAR and stresses the collaboration of intergovernmental organizations and civil society groups to monitor the situation on the ground.
The Argyle diamond coin trilogy sold within a month, according to a press release from Rio Tinto. "The Australian Trilogy", is an US$1.4 million (AUD$1.8 million) one-of-a-kind coin collection featuring a pink, purple pink and violet diamond from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia. Released by The Perth Mint, The Australian Trilogy was sold to an anonymous collector from Asia within a month of its unveiling.
"Polished diamond prices softened in June after the JCK Las Vegas show demonstrated a cautious and changing US market," announces Rapaport News in a press release on polished prices in June. Their message confirms the trends noted in recent months: retailers reducing standard inventory, which is contributing to a build-up of older stock midstream, while consumers seeking lower price point jewelry.
Gem Diamonds Limited has recovered yet another exceptional rough stone, this time a high quality 126 carat, D color Type IIa diamond, from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho. After a bit of a dry spell in 2016, Letšeng mine has now yielded three +100 carat diamonds in the last month alone, including the recovery of two high quality diamonds in June 2017: a 104.73 carat diamond and a 151.52 carat yellow diamond.
The Kimberley Process has published its 2016 figures for the global diamond trade, covering rough diamond production and value, imports and exports, as well as KP Certificate counts. The most notable takeaway is that while overall the volume of rough diamond production in 2016 increased 5% to 134.1 million carats from 127.4 million carats, the value of that output slid 11% to $12.4 billion from $13.88 billion the previous year. From a trading standpoint (imports & exports), however, the KP reports a significant upturn following the 'crisis' year of 2015.
Australia's Lucapa Diamond Company reports that production and sales of diamonds from the Lulo Diamond Project in Angola jumped 63% and 58% respectively in the second quarter of 2017. Lulo alluvial mining company, Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo (Lucapa is 40% owner and operator) produced 4,203 carats of diamonds during the quarter, bringing their total for the first half of 2017 to 8,301 carats, a 46% overall increase compared to the year prior. In Q2, the 4,203 carats were obtained from 3,336 stones, with their average weight holding steady at 1.3 carats.
Antwerp's diamond trade in June mirrors the trends we have seen from the diamond capital over the first half of the year 2017, with significant volume increases of lower-priced rough exports and a persistently soft polished trade. On a year-over-year basis, the volume of rough diamond exports increased for the second month in a row by more than 50% (53%) while their value rose only 24%. The volume of rough imports also surged 31% while their value lagged behind at 5%.
In 2016, ALROSA's investments in underground mines and other core production facilities amounted to RUB 16.5 billion ($2.8 billion) or 60 percent of the company's total capital investments, the diamond miner said in a press release. Over RUB 7 billion ($1.2 billion) was allocated to technical upgrade and replacement of worn-out equipment. The company said it invested a substantial amount – almost RUB 5.5 billion ($930 million) – into the construction of Udachny underground mine.
They might be small, at only 0.039 and 0.025 carats, but Australian junior miner Merlin Diamonds discovery of two pink diamonds is nevertheless promising. Merlin Diamonds Ltd., owner of the Merlin diamond mine in the Northern Territory, Australia, said it is encouraged by these discoveries that indicate the possibility of further pink diamonds at the Merlin diamond mine. The latest find follows the recovery of a 0.70 carat pink diamond announced last March.
Angola has one bilion carats in diamond reserves, according to the advances of a geological survey carried out over the last five years with Russian support, writes Angola Press Agency Angop. The data were released last Friday in Luanda by Victor Ustinov, Joint Director of Russian diamond giant ALROSA, which was responsible for carring our the geological exploration, it is estimated that reserves could go up from a total of 950 million carats found in kimberlites and more than 50 million in alluvial areas to 1.5 billion carats if the research is continued, according to the expert.
North Arrow Minerals Inc. has announced the start of a $3.2M exploration program at the company’s 100% owned Naujaat (now-yat; formerly Qilalugaq) and Mel Diamond Projects, Nunavut, Canada. The drill program at the Naujaat Project will see North Arrow drill 4,500 metres and collect a 200 ton mini-bulk sample from the highest grade phase of the Q1-4 kimberlite.
At its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, Russian diamond miner PJSC ALROSA approved the company’s annual report and financial statements and recommended a total dividend to be paid of $1.1 billion (RUB 65.769 billion) or $0.15 (RUB 8.93) per ordinary share of 50 kopecks par value ($0.008). According to the IFRS Consolidated Financial Statements of ALROSA and its subsidiaries, in 2016 the net profit (less profit attributable to non-controlling interest) amounted to $2.21 billion (RUB 131.391 billion). Fifty percent of this amount will be paid as dividend.
The Ministry of Mines, Energy and Hydraulics of the Central African Republic (CAR) has issued a press release categorically rejecting the allegations contained in Global Witness' report, "Game of Stones", which detailed the NGO's investigation into diamond smuggling from CAR.
A new investigative report by Global Witness shows how smugglers are using social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to get diamonds linked to the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) out of the country and into international markets. Representatives went undercover by creating a social media profile for a fictitious diamond buyer that claimed to be based in Antwerp but operates internationally. They managed to speak to several dealers who promised easy access to CAR’s diamonds.
Swiss watch industry exports rose strongly in May, according to figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. They were worth $1.77 (1.7 billion francs), 9.0% more than in May 2016. This was the second positive month after March, confirming the recovery which has been under way since the start of the year. Several important markets posted very strong growth. Hong Kong (+18.1%) and China (+34.4%) led the Asian continent while the situation in Japan (-3.2%) continued to deteriorate.
The World Diamond Council (WDC), an industry group focused on removing conflict diamonds from the global supply chain and protecting the value of natural diamonds, today announced that current president Andrey Polyakov will be resigning by the end of the week. Current WDC Vice President Stephane Fischler will become acting President effective July 1, 2017. Mr Fischler will serve in this capacity until the end of the term of this Board, at which time he will start his two year term as WDC President.
For the year ended 31 March 2017, South Africa-based and JSE-listed junior diamond mining company Trans Hex Group reported a loss of $14.1 million (R182.6 million), representing an 81% increase than the year prior, when the group recorded a loss of $7.8 million (R100.8 million). The loss derives from sales revenue decreased by 19.5% to $41.8 million (R540.2 million) compared to the corresponding period a year earlier. Diamond sales by volume fell 17.5% to 40,187 carats, while the average price of rough sold dropped 2.2%, the company reported.
"Those 238 grams are believed to be the most rigorously documented export of small-scale gold in history", writes The Globe and Mail. They are referring to 238 grams of gold that Canadian NGO Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) purchased from small-scale mining sites in eastern Congo as part of a pioneering new system of gold exports called "Just Gold", initiated to generate a new form of highly detailed sourcing data.
South African equity group Pallinghurst Resources Ltd. on June 26 announced it has received 96% of shareholder support in its quest to move ahead with a bid to fully acquire Gemfields, in which it is already the largest investor; more than 75% of Gemfields shareholders have given their acceptance for the offer. Last week, Pallinghurst lowered the minimum number of acceptances from shareholders of Gemfields Plc on its takeover offer to 60 percent, from 75 percent, making its offer unconditional. This move came after China's Fosun International raised its offer for the gemstone company.
As Petra Diamonds approaches the close of financial year 2017 (ending 30 June 2017), it has released a market update revising its production and revenue guidance down by 8-9%, despite the fact that the miner is on track to achieve record revenue and production figures in FY 2017. "However, due to the slower than anticipated build-up of its expansion programmes across its operations, production is now estimated to be ca. 8-9% lower than guidance of ca. 4.4 million carats. As a result, revenue is expected to be ca.
Botswana's Debswana Diamond Mining, a joint venture between De Beers and the southern Africa country's government, plans to extend the lifespan of its Jwaneng mine beyond 2024, reports Reuters Africa, citing a mines minister. The project, known as "Cut 9", has been under discussion for five years as part of the Jwaneng Resource Extension Project. This Project led to the development of Cut 8, the $3 billion expansion project designed to prolong the Jwaneng Mine an additional 7 years, ensuring continuous production until at least 2024 and producing 100 million carats.
Representatives of Israel's diamond industry want ALROSA to increase supplies of rough and polished diamonds through its tenders in Israel, the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) said in a press release. The IDI said its president, Shmuel Schnitzer, and Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash met with Sergey Ivanov, President of ALROSA, for the first time since he became the giant Russian miner's chief in March.
Mountain Province Diamonds' fifth diamond sale of diamonds from the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada was its best to date, setting new highs in overall revenue, carats sold and price per carat. The junior miner sold 220,000 carats at its June tender in Antwerp, earning $2.1 million for an average price of $95 per carat, a solid increase from the $72 and $86 per carat earned respectively in sales 1-3 and 4.
In ABN AMRO's lastest iteration of the biannual Diamond Market Outlook, Coordinator FX & Precious Metals Strategy Georgette Boele writes, "The recovery in the diamond trade has grinded to a halt at the start of 2017", as US consumer spending has been disappointing in Q1, lower consumption in Hong Kong and Macau has negatively affected demand (according to company reports from main jewelers in the region) and Chinese retail sales were weaker in January and February.
Rio Tinto on Friday signed an option agreement positioning it to potentially become the majority owner of the Star-Orion South Diamond Project, an advanced-stage diamond exploration project about 60 kilometres east of Prince Albert, Canada.
For the last two weeks, representatives of four African diamond-producing countries (Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia) have been participating in the "KP Technical Assistance Valuation Program" put together by the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) and Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). We spoke with organizers and participants about the rough diamond valuation course itself and what it means for the participants and their respective governments.
Mines minister Walter Chidakwa told the Zimbabwe parliament yesterday that the Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) still has 300 million tons of diamond ore to mine in Chiadzwa, reports NewsDay. “The organisation has 300 million tons of ore containing 200 million carats all in the inferred category or ore resource classification, whose confidence level is currently about 20%,” Chidakwa said. “We are now working to improve confidence levels, and the 300 million tons comprise 20% alluvial and 80% conglomerate ores,” he said.
JCK news director Rob Bates takes a look at the resurgence of independent bookstores in the U.S. and sees parallels with independent jewelry retailers: "It’s clear the jewelry industry - and in particular the number of independent jewelers - is shrinking. But that’s true of retail overall. And, until recently, it was true of independent bookstores. If you compare today versus decades ago, the number of brick-and-mortar booksellers has fallen. But the independent segment has reversed that trajectory. The number has risen for the last eight years.