Firestone Diamonds, the newest diamond miner in the Kingdom of Lesotho, is holding its maiden tender of diamonds from their Liqhobong Mine (Firestone 75%, Lesotho 25%) in Antwerp this week. It was the perfect occasion to catch up with Firestone CEO Stuart Brown in the offices of First Element, the tender house hosting the sale.
Stellar Diamonds plc, the London listed diamond development company focused on West Africa, has signed an agreement to operate the Tonguma mine in Sierra Leone, adjacent to the company’s own Tongo mine.
Stornoway Diamond Corporation has issued its annual results, detailing a memorable 2016. Their Renard Diamond Mine officially opened on October 19, 2016, and following the commencement of ore processing on July 15, 2016, commercial production was formally declared on January 1, 2017. The first sale of Renard Diamonds was held during November in Antwerp in Belgium. In total, 38,913 carats were sold at an average price of US$195 per carat, for proceeds of US$7.6 million (C$10.2 m).
Trans Hex, a JSE-listed diamond exploration and mining company with well-established land operations in South Africa and interests in Angola, says trading volumes have returned to normal as a result of improved market conditions, leading to stronger results at its October 2016, December 2016 and February 2017 tender sales of rough diamond production from its wholly owned South African operations.
Dominion Diamonds has announced that sales of Ekati Diamond Mine and Diavik Diamond Mine diamonds fell 27% in Q4 2017 (November 2016 through January 2017) and 21% overall in FY 2017, despite the quantity of diamonds sold increasing 24% in Q4 and 61% for the year. It has also provided Q4 production results from its Ekati Mine, where carat production increased by 93% compared to the same period in the prior year due to the positive impact of processing of a large proportion of high grade Misery ore.
ALROSA recovered a large diamond of 121.88 carats from Jubilee kimberlite pipe in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), according to a press release (translated by Rough-Polished). The diamond was extracted by the company’s business unit Aikhal Mining and Processing Division (MPD) at the processing plant No.14. The diamond crystal has a yellowish tint, its dimensions are 28 х 18 х 19.5 mm.
Anglo American and De Beers' 2016 Annual Financial Results (preliminary) confirm a solid rebound from 2015 for the rough diamond giant, with annual revenues increasing 30% to $6.1 billion from $4.7 billion, on the back of a 37% rise in rough diamond sales, which reached $5.6 billion.
The decision to consolidate diamond mining killed the industry in Zimbabwe and government is currently re-engaging the Chinese companies that were operating in Marange to reach an amicable settlement, said Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa while addressing Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI). New Zimbabwe writes that according to the minister, the diamond mining sector is "dead" and is currently not contributing meaningfully towards the country's foreign currency earnings. "As of now the diamond sector is dead.
DDA Trading Bvba is pleased to announce the second sale of Namibian Marine Rough Diamonds in Antwerp. They will be offering approx. 8,900cts of Full ROM, Original Marine Goods of Gem quality. The goods are from the underwater concessions of Diamond Fields Namibia ML 111. Viewings will take place by appointment only in Antwerp at DDA Trading’s office in the Antwerp Diamond Bank, Pelikaanstraat 54, Floor 6, 2018 Antwerp from Monday 20 to Monday 27 February with the sale closing on Tuesday the 28th of February.
Petra Diamonds Limited has announced strong results for the six months to 31 December 2016 (H1 2017), with rough diamond production, revenues and carats sold all seeing substantial increases. Revenues were up 48% to US$228.5 million (H1 FY 2016: US$154.0 million) or US$217.6 excluding exceptional diamonds, with net profit after tax up more than 35% to US$35.2 million (H1 FY 2016: US$2.2 million loss) and an EBITDA margin of 38% (H1 FY 2016: 31%), indicating increased profitability. Petra's carats sold in the first half jumped 47% to 1.9 Mcts.
Russian mining giant ALROSA is stepping up its marketing game beyond its contributions to the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), we were told this past Wednesday at ALROSA Night - a joint initiative between the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and ALROSA at the Belgian Ambassador's Residence in Moscow.
Lucara Diamond Corp., which runs the Karowe Mine in Botswana and holds multiple exploration licences in the region, reports record earnings - and dividends - for the year 2016. Revenues increased 32% to $295.5 million from $223.8 million in 2015, with its EBITDA surging 38% to $184.4 million on the back of a 40% rise in price per carat achieved: $824 per carat compared to $593 per carat a year ago. However, net income declined 9% to $70.7 million in 2016, mainly due to a foreign-exchange loss of $11 million compared with a gain of $15 million a year earlier, the company.
On January 17, 2017, North Arrow Minerals - a Canadian based exploration company focused on the identification and evaluation of diamond exploration opportunities in Canada - announced it had entered a property purchase agreement with Stornoway Diamond Corporation under which North Arrow will acquire Stornoway’s remaining interests in the Qilalugaq (Nunavut) and Pikoo (Saskatchewan) Diamond Projects.
The Angolan state diamond company, Endiama, said it is currently negotiating with its partner ALROSA for the financing of the Luaxe kimberlite project and will not seek additional investors, reports Macauhub. The Luaxe Kimberlite was discovered in 2012 when Endiama and ALROSA carried out the correlation study to identify Angola's diamond potential. The geological research points to reserves evaluated at 350 million carats and a mining lifespan of 30 years.
Gem Diamonds - a leading global diamond producer that owns 70% of the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, known for its high-value diamonds, and 100% of the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana, which produces diamonds at the lower-end of the price scale - has decided that its Ghaghoo mine will be placed on "care and maintenance" with immediate effect. That is to say, it is shutting down operations until profitability is more feasible.
Namibia's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has dropped an investigation into whether a new government independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia) deliberately sold Namibian diamonds cheaply to Dubai-based firms, writes The Namibian, which first broke the story back in November 2016. The Namibian previously raised concerns that Namdia, tasked to sell stones worth over US$150 million (N$2.1 billion) per year as stipulated by a
Anglo American, the London-based diversified mining conglomerate including the De Beers Group in its portfolio, has announced that Sir John Parker intends to step down, after serving eight years as Chairman, during the course of 2017. Sir John Parker, Chairman of Anglo American, said: "Having seen Anglo American emerge in a strong position from the mining industry downturn, with its sharp falls in commodity prices between 2014 and 2016, I believe that the time is now right for the Board to seek my successor during the course of 2017.
Lucapa Diamond Co., the Australian miner with its main operations at the Lulo Diamond Project in Angola, hqs confirmed recovery of a high-quality (Type IIa, D color) 227-carat diamond. It is the second largest diamond recovered to date at Lulo, following the recovery of a 404-carat stone a year ago. The latest diamond was recovered using Lucapa's new XRT large diamond recovery circuit recently installed at Lulo, and derived from its new Mining Block 28. It is the 7th +100 carat diamond recovered to date at the project.
Last year Rio Tinto’s diamond revenue slid 12%, leading them to review their plans to extend the life of the Argyle diamond mine, considering the global demand for rough had otherwise strengthened, writes The West Australian. Rio Tinto spent $US2.5 billion expanding the Argyle mine below ground with an expected lifespan reaching 2021. Should they decide not to continue with the planned underground extension, the mine’s closure could come considerably sooner. They are yet to announce whether they will continue with the second stage of the underground block cave at the East Kimberley mine.
Australia's Lucapa Diamond Company, whose main asset is the Lulo diamond project in Angola, has sold a parcel of 2,946 carats of Lulo diamonds earning gross proceeds of US$3.8 million (A$4.9M). This represents an average price per carat of US$1,276 (A$1,671), a far cry from their $2,983 per carat average from the fourth quarter of 2016. The sale comprised diamond recoveries through December 31 2016, and included a 75-carat diamond and a 55-carat diamond.
Kennady Diamonds Inc., which controls 100 percent of the Kennady North diamond project located in Canada’s Northwest Territories in proximity to the Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine, announced that their bulk sampling of the Faraday 2 kimberlite is progressing well with 12 drill holes completed and 100 tons of kimberlite collected since the program began on January 20. Kennady plans to recover a total of approximately 570 tons of kimberlite from the Faraday kimberlites during the 2017 winter program, including 260 tons from Faraday 2, 300 tons from the Fa
De Beers is shelving immediate plans to study an expansion project, called Tango, at its Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario after failing to get support from a neighboring aboriginal community, writes Reuters.
Rio Tinto has announced it will relinquish its interest in the Bunder diamond project in India "due to commercial considerations" and will gift it to the Government of Madhya Pradesh. The move is not entirely unexpected, as Rio Tinto announced back in August 2016 it would not proceed with the development of Bunder and would be seeking to close all project infrastructure.
ALROSA, the Russian diamond mining giant, reports January sales of rough diamonds at $358.2 million and polished at $7.8 million; overall sales of $365.4 million represent a 107% increase over December 2016 and a 60% increase over the same period last year. The miner said it was "cautiously optimistic" that the trade in lower quality, low-cost goods - the majority of which are destined for India - is stabilizing.
Botswana Diamonds has entered into an option and earn-in agreement with Vutomi - a private diamond exploration and development firm in South Africa - and will invest £942,000 ($1.16 million) in cash, of which £581,000 ($719,000) will be used to fund exploration activities, in exchange for 72% of Vutomi. Vutomi has a portfolio of over twenty high interest kimberlites, many of which are diamondiferous spanning the Limpopo, North-West and Free State Provinces of South Africa.
Mountain Province Diamonds, the co-owner (49%) with De Beers (51%) of the Gahcho Kué Mine in Canada's Northwest Territories, has announced the recovery of a 67.87 carat gem quality octahedron diamond during production ramp-up at the diamond mine. It is the largest gem quality diamond recovered at Gahcho Kué to date. “The presence of large gem quality diamonds at Gahcho Kué was established during the bulk sampling when a 25.13 carat octahedron was recovered”, noted Patrick Evans, Mountain Province President and CEO.
Stornoway Diamond Corporation has announced 2016 production results from its Renard Mine in Quebec that far outstrip its projected output. For the year ended December 31, 2016, Stornoway mined 2,074,827 tons of ore from the Renard 2- Renard 3 and Renard 65 open pits, compared to a plan of 879,641 tons (+136%).
As in previous years, De Beers has allocated $35 million to diamond explorations and, in an effort to improve the rate of discoveries, will be implementing new technology. Mining companies have cut exploratory spending due to the 2015 slump in commodity prices, as well as the widening gap between expenditure and the value of resources found, as the best quality ores are reportedly depleted. "Our exploration spend this year is likely to be in line with last year's, around $35 million,” said De Beers.
Gem Diamonds, which owns 70% of the Letšeng mine in Lesotho - famous for the production of large, high quality, exceptional white diamonds - and 100% of the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana, saw fourth quarter 2016 sales from its Letšeng mine fall 6% since Q3 and 22% for the year as a result of fewer exceptional large diamonds being recovered than expected. The total amount of carats recovered at Letšeng increased 8% to 26,438 carats during Q4 vs. Q3, when it recovered 24,388 carats, and overall recoveries for the year remained approximately the same, at 108,206 carats.
Award-winning journalist Rob Bates raises some highly relevant issues in the wake of the announcement by Ashley Orbach - U.S. Department of State’s special advisor for conflict diamonds for the last three years - that she will be leaving the agency and her role as advisor. There was always going to be a sense of uncertainty concerning the U.S. stance toward the Kimberley Process and human rights in the mining industry under the unpredictable new administration, and the loss of continuity signalled by Orbach's departure may well add to it.
Russia’s largest cut diamonds producer Kristall was included into the 2017-2019 privatization plan, a source familiar with privatization plans told Russia's TASS News Agency on Thursday. Kristall is Russia’s largest producer of polished diamonds and one of the largest diamond cutting companies across the globe.
Kimberley Diamonds Ltd (KDL), owner of the Lerala Diamond Mine located in north-eastern Botswana - which comprises a cluster of five diamond-bearing kimberlite pipes, designated K2 to K6, and a processing plant - is in the process of raising US$3.4 million (A$4.4) through "a non-renounceable pro-rata rights issue offer of new KDL ordinary shares (New Shares) at an issue price of $0.02 per New Share" to fund operations and repay loans. On January 23 2017, the Company announced it undertook a private placement of shares to raise further funds.
Karelian Diamond Resources, an Irish diamond exploration company focused on Finland, announced they had received results from sampling undertaken by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) which had been requested by the company. In one of the seven samples that had been analyzed, a diamond had been discovered from the Kuhmo region of Eastern Finland.
Sales of Botswana's state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) jumped by 80% to $547 million in 2016. According to Marcus ter Haar, the deputy managing director, this jump is as a result of global consumer demand having rebounded.
Australia's Lucapa Diamond mining company has made 70 percent acquisition of the high-qualiy advanced stage Mothae Kimberlite project in Lesotho for US$9 million dollars, the company reports. This comes after the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho awarded the advanced Project to Lucapa following a competitive international tender process. Mothae has existing infrastructure and camp in place including a diamond processing plant, which Lucapa says should enable it to bring the mine into production within 12 months under staged low-risk development strategy.
Dominion Diamond Corp., the world’s third largest producer of rough diamonds, announced CEO Brendan Bell will be stepping down. In a statement Bell said this decision was based on the Canadian company’s intended relocation of the corporate offices to Calgary.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA published its production results as well as a preliminary trading update for the fourth quarter of 2016. Diamond production for 2016 totaled 37.4 million carats, 2% less than the previous year. The 10% y-o-y growth in production for the Q4 is a result of ramping up production at Alrosa’s underground mines, as well as by the fact that the Mir underground mine has reached its project capacity.
Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. announced their production results from the Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine for the fourth quarter which ended on December 31, 2016, the mine is a joint venture with De Beers (51%), located in Canada's Northwest Territories. In addition, they announced the completion of their first diamond sale held between January 16 and 25 in Antwerp, Belgium.
Australia's Lucapa Diamond Company has been granted a trading halt by the ASX pending the finalisation of negotiations to acquire a diamond mining project. The company expects to return to the market before the open on Tuesday next week, “pending the finalisation of negotiations”. Lucapa is focused on the development of its Lulo diamond project in Angola, which has already yielded impressive results. The company has recovered gems of significant carat from Lulo but is focused on finding the primary source of the alluvial diamonds.
De Beers and Anglo American report that rough diamond production for Q4 2016 increased by 10 percent to 7.8 million carats compared with Q4 2015 (7.1 Mct) when production was reduced in response to trading conditions. The company highlights that the increase reflected the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué Mine in Canada, the joint venture between De Beers (51%), which is also the operator, and Mountain Province Diamonds. Rough production surged 24% from Q3 2016 (6.3 million carats) to Q4 2016 (7.8 Mct).
Firestone Diamonds has issued its fourth quarter (ended December 31) production results, announcing that its Liqhobong project construction is 100% complete and ramping up to nameplate capacity, and that its first diamond recoveries commenced in late October 2016. Firestone recovered over 20 special stones (larger than 10.8 carats), with the largest being a 37 carat white diamond, as well as several fancy yellow diamonds. Processing of lower grade stockpiles and diluted ore in the quarter produced 58,000 carats at a grade of 14.4 carats per hundred tons.
Australia's Tychean Resources, a gold exploration and natural resource development company, has agreed to buy a 74 per cent stake in South African-based diamond company, Blom Diamonds, reports Australian Mining. The deal is reported to be worth up to $4.1 million (AUD 5.5 million).
Lucara Diamond Corp. has appointed Moolman Mining Botswana (Aveng Moolmans) as its new mining contractor at the Company's 100% owned Karowe diamond mine in Botswana. Aveng Moolmans, a company forming part of Aveng Mining, has been contracted for a 6 year period to provide the full suite of mining services at the Karowe mine, including all drill, blast, load and haul functions for both ore and waste. Aveng Moolmans will commence mobilization of equipment to site during January and February 2017 and expects to begin mining activities in early March 2017.
Rough-Polished, citing Russian News Agency Tass, reports that nine new diamond deposits in two Arctic regions of Yakutia will be commissioned by 2025 by ALROSA subsidiaries, according to Vasily Zakharov, the first deputy minister of Industry and Geology of the Republic of Yakutia. "In 2016-2025, the two companies – Nizhne-Lenskoye and Diamonds Anabara (ALROSA subsidiaries) will commission nine new locations in two Arctic regions," - he said.
Provisional rough diamond sales at De Beers Cycle 1 sight of 2017 earned $720 million, the highest total sales in more than a year. This represents a more than 70% uptick from the last sight, Cycle 10 in 2016, and is 32% higher than first Cycle sales ($545M) of 2016. Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “We saw good demand across the majority of our assortment during the first sales cycle of the year, as the industry entered the period when rough diamond demand is traditionally strongest.
In October Firestone Diamonds announced the recovery of its first diamond from the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho since the the re-commissioning of the new plant. Liqhobong is owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Government of Lesotho. Firestone has been ramping up production since then, and will hold its first tender of approximately 80.000 cts.
Petra Diamonds, the London-listed mining group focused on Southern Africa that operates four mines in South Africa and one in Tanzania, has reported that for the six months ended 31 December 2016 (H1 2017), rough diamond production, revenue and rough carats sold increased significantly year-over-year, continuing the upward trend established earlier in the year, though rough prices remained flat.
Diamcor Mining has completed the installation of additional operational equipment and expansions underway at its Krone-Endora Mine at Venetia project in Limpopo, South Africa. The junior diamond project developer confirmed that all the work is now complete and all the items are now operational.
Southern African diamond mining, development and exploration company DiamondCorp announced last week it would raise £1million ($1.23M) through a placing at 4p ($0.05). The South African-focused diamond miner initiated the funding round as a first step in pulling its Lace mine out of Business Rescue, and now reports that the placing is progressing well. They have extended the closing date for the round of funding that will bring its diamond mine out of the South African equivalent of administration.
Rockwell Diamonds may have set an all-time record for the length of a press release title - "Rockwell’s third quarter results impacted by malicious litigation, however the strategic repositioning programme makes progress as new leadership is appointed and non-core assets along with related liabilities rationalized" - but this might be an intentional ploy to discourage readers from reading any further.
Angola’s national diamond company, Endiama, produced 9.21 million carats of diamonds in 2016, slightly exceeding target of 9 million previously set by the Ministry of Planning and Territorial Development. Last year the company’s turnover was US$1.079 billion, US$130 million less than in 2015, “because higher production led to lower prices per carat,” said chairman Antonio Carlos Sumbula. Upon receiving guidance, the chairman was able to implement certain changes such as producing fewer diamonds in order to raise the price in the main markets in 2017.
Rio Tinto posted strong fourth quarter production in its diamond division, with increases at its Argyle Mine in Australia as well as the Diavik Mine in NWT Canada, in which Rio Tinto owns a 60 percent interest (Dominion Diamond 40%). At Argyle, Rio Tinto produced 3.6 million carats in Q4, a 6% increase over Q4 production in 2015. For the year 2016, carat production was four per cent higher than 2015 following the ramp-up of the underground mine, with higher ore throughput partially offset by a lower recovered grade. Total 2016 production at Argyle was just under 14 million carats.
Dominion Diamond Corp. reports that production from the Diavik Diamond Mine for the fourth calendar quarter of 2016 ended 10% higher than in the same quarter of the prior year, reflecting higher processing volumes that were partly offset by lower recovered grade. Under a joint arrangement, Rio Tinto operates the mine and Dominion Diamond pays 40 percent of the mine’s operating and capital costs while receiving 40 percent of the mine’s diamond output.
“There are many exploration opportunities for diamond miners in our country. Even though the alluvial diamond deposits are shrinking, there are still diamonds in kimberlite pipes which could be mined. We want to continue to be active in the global diamond industry, and we’ll continue to make sure that investors get good return on their investments, as long as Sierra Leone get its share as well, naturally. We want to create a situation where everybody profits.”
- President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma
Mbada Diamonds could have denied Zimbabwe of millions of dollars in revenue by under-declaring its diamond sales over the years after it emerged that its average price per carat was about three times lower than that of other firms extracting gems from Chiadzwa, writes The Herald.
According to a company press release, independent expert Micon assessed that as of July 1 2016, Russian diamond mining giant and largest producer by volume in the world ALROSA's resources totalled 1.03 billion carats, down 4% from the 1.08 billion carats announced in 2015. Its reserves amounted to 653 million carats, down nearly 1% from the 662 million carats as of January 1 2015 announced in its 2015 annual report.
"As a leading member of the U.S. Jewelry industry, we are writing to express our support for Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the corresponding Securities and Exchange Commission’s Conflict Minerals Rule.
The latest development in a tumultuous year and a half for Zimbabwe's diamond industry has the State looking to do what the mining companies - whose mining claims were expropriated after the government’s consolidation of the firms mining in the Marange fields - reportedly failed to do, namely invest. The state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), which has little equipment of its own, says it is in discussions with local banks to secure up to $300 million worth of credit to finance the purchase of mining gear and expansion of its operations.
The Bakwanga Mining Company (Societe Miniere de Bakwanga, or MIBA), a joint Belgo-Congolese company based in Mbuji-Mayi, Kasai-Oriental Province in south central DRC, denied having recovered an 87-carat white diamond worth more than $6,000,000.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA reports rough diamond sales in December 2016 amounted to a modest (for ALROSA) $173 million, more than a $100 million drop from the $245 million in November revenues and a far cry from averages of around $430 million in the months prior. Nonetheless, the company posted a 26% rise in rough diamond sales for the year, hopefully putting a challenging 2015 firmly behind it.