CEO of Australia’s Lucapa Diamond Company, Stephen Wetherall, paid a visit to Antwerp recently, where The Diamond Loupe caught up with him. We encountered an optimistic CEO that is clearly excited about the future of Lucapa, and justifiably so. The growing miner operates, together with its partners in Angola, the highest-value and most promising alluvial diamond project in the world - the Lulo Diamond Project.
The Angolan authorities have shut down 279 diamonds sale and purchase houses, as well as canceled the activity of 122 co-operatives dealing in diamonds exploration, 52 days after the start of the “Operation Transparency”, announced last Wednesday in the northern Malanje Province, reports Angolan Press outlet ANGOP. “Operation Transparency” is essentially intended to fight illegal immigration, illegal exploration of diamonds and put a stop to environmental crimes committed in the ambit of the irregular prospecting of minerals.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds has sold US$17.7 million (CDN$23.3 million) from 245,751 carats at an average realized value of US$72 per carat at its ninth rough diamond which closed on November 14, 2018. The total proceeds from the sale were the lowest of the year thus far, but the average price per carat was the highest since the $85 per carat earned at the company's fifth sale of the year in June.
Junior miner Botswana Diamonds (BD) has acquired Alrosa's 50% share in the Sunland Minerals project for a "nominal sum". BD's 100% ownership of Sunland now enables a new investor to enter as a new joint venture partner, and they say that negotiations with this potential partner are at an advanced stage. The potential partner is said to be a large diamond producer with new ideas and keen to find new kimberlites in Botswana.
Stornoway Diamond Corporation has announced that Matt Manson will step down as President and CEO of the Corporation, effective January 1, 2019, and will be succeeded by Mr. Patrick Godin. Mr. Godin is currently the Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer, and has served in this role since 2010. So as to achieve an orderly transition in 2019, Mr. Manson will provide support to Mr. Godin as he assumes his new role.
Several sources, including Bloomberg and Rapaport, have reported that De Beers has slashed its prices on lower-quality diamonds at its latest sight this week, with the discounts ranging from high-single digits to as much as 10%. Difficult trading conditions have been widely reported in the rough diamond market in recent months, although the market for higher-quality and larger goods has remained strong with firm pricing in all categories.
Monday afternoon in Brussels at the opening of the Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary session, World Diamond Council (WDC) President Stephane Fischler urged the delegation to support the strengthening the KP by expanding the definition of conflict diamonds (Read full speech). The expanded definition proposed by the Canadian government includes diamonds associated with widespread and systematic violence.
Canadian miner Mountain Province's production and sales of rough diamonds from the Gahcho Kué mine underwhelmed in the third quarter of 2018, as production was on the downside of flat during the quarter, while sales increased against a low comparison point in 2017 and the cost of production rose. Sales increased by 15% to US$57 million (C$75 million) at an average price of US$73 per carat, but net income dropped by 37% to US$13 million (C$17.5m) from US$21million (C$16m).
Lucara Diamond Corp.'s third quarter carat production from its Karowe mine in Botswana "exceeded expectations" as a result of increased efficiency in diamond recovery in the smaller sizes during 2018.
Following more than a year of detailed analysis, cutting and polishing by an elite team of gemologists and master craftsmen, Graff Diamonds has started to unveil some of the more than 60 polished diamonds cleaved from the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona. The polished diamonds, Graff writes, range in size from under a carat to in excess of 100 carats, each diamond will have D color, the highest grade for a diamond, and exceptional clarity. They will be set mounted as solitaire rings, earrings and pendants.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has made an appeal to members of the Kimberley Process (KP), whose Plenary meeting commences in Brussels today, to engage with the country to increase its rough-diamond exports. The CAR government has asked the KP family to approve the compliance of nine additional mining zones in the Western part of the country - in addition to the five areas already approved in 2015 - and to formallize the decision taken at the KP Intersessional last June to reduce the approval period for rough-diamond exports to seven days.
This week, a group of nine government officials from four African diamond-producing countries (Cameroon, Congo Braza, Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea) embarked on a ten-day training course in Antwerp, furthering their knowledge of rough-diamond evaluation and valuation. The course, called the "KP Technical Assistance Valuation Program", originates from the commitment of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), which coordinates requests for Technical Assistance on behalf of the Administrative Support Mechanism (ASM) in the framework of the KP.
A diamond jewelry manufacturer from Antwerp, Giovanni Daems, is the first to develop a new, patented technology for a fully-automated diamond setting machine, which it unveiled this week at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA reported a steep decline in rough diamond sales during the month of October, falling 28% year-over-year and 29% from September, but has still recorded 6% growth during the first ten months of the year. In October, ALROSA Group sold $243 million worth of rough diamonds compared with $326 million in October 2017, and $331 million last month. “In October, demand for small-size inexpensive rough diamonds continued to remain weak," says ALROSA Deputy CEO Yury Okoemov.
The Antwerp diamond trade in October booked value gains across all categories - particularly for polished-diamond exports and imports - with the exception of rough-diamond imports, which followed the recent decline in production and sales from the diamond miners.
Jewelry maker Pandora, known for its charm bracelets, reported Tuesday that Q3 sales in the U.S. fell 12% year-over-year to $153.2 million (DKK 1 billion), while worldwide revenue decreased 3% in local currency to $765.8 million (DKK 5 billion). The "unsatisfactory" results prompted the company to reduce its sales and profit margin guidance for this year following revenue declines in consecutive quarters, and is now saying it expected sales in local currencies to increase by between 4 and 7 percent this year, compared with the 7-10 percent it previously projected.
Lucapa Diamond Company, which only two weeks ago commenced its commissioning of the 1.1Mtpa (million ton per annum) treatment plant at the high-quality Mothae kimberlite open-pit diamond mine in Lesotho, will be holding its first ever tender of Mothae diamonds in Antwerp, starting November 12. The Mothae treatment plant, which incorporates two XRT diamond recovery circuits, will be ramped up to its nameplate capacity throughout the December quarter.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA experienced a slight downtick in revenue and profit during the third quarter as compared with Q2, as significantly weaker sales volumes were offset by higher average prices and an improved sales mix. The miner has, however seen strong growth for the first nine months of the year, and last week commenced commercial diamond production at its newest mine, the Verkhne-Munskoye Diamond Field in Yakutia.
UK-listed Botswana Diamonds said it is feeling "confident" that its Thorny River project in South Africa will become its first operating mine following the conclusion of a mining contract covering bulk sampling activities and future full-scale mining. The necessary regulatory approvals have been applied for, and a drilling program is planned in 2019. Managing Director, James AH Campbell the company hopes to get production rolling during the first half of 2019.
Polished diamond prices in October gave back some of their gains for the year, as prices declined slightly ahead of India's Diwali festival, when polishing factories close for the month of November. This according to figures from Rapaport's RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI). Rapaport says inventory levels have risen but sentiment has not been dented as expectations for the US holiday season are positive.
Several media reports from Israel indicate that Israeli law enforcement officials say they want to question Lev Leviev, the business baron whose companies allegedly are at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. Six suspects were arrested Monday as part of a probe into suspected diamod smuggling by Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev.
During initial tests of new flood plains being explored near the Lulo diamond project in Angola, Lucapa Diamond Company has discovered of a new alluvial source of large and premium-value diamonds. Lucapa reports a total of 1,502 carats recovered so far from 11,155 bulk cubic metres processed, achieving a diamond grade of 13.5 carats per 100 cubic metres. The sample included 17 specials (+10.8 carats), including an exceptional 55 carat Type IIa D-colour white The average size of the diamond recovered was 1.4 carats.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), according to a column written by President Mnangagwa in The Sunday Mail, that the country's diamond output was expected to shatter previous records. Zimbabwe aims to produce (at a stretch) three million carats this year, driven by a US$100 million investment in operations over the last two years. The ZCDC unearthed 2.4 million carats between January and October 2018, a significant increase over the 1.8 million carats achieved last year. ZCDC chief executive officer Dr.
Gem Diamonds said its third quarter (ended 30 September) production from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho rose 27% compared to Q2 2018, and the miner has raised its production and sales guidance for the year. Gem Diamonds now anticipates is full-year output to reach 120 to 124 million carats, up from the 114 to 118 million carats announced last March. The announcement follows improved mining efficiencies and strong production during the period. The miner also projects to sell 118,000 to 122,000 carats, up from 112,000 to 116,000 carats announced previously.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Alibaba Group announced today that they have entered an exclusive partnership to offer Antwerp certified diamonds directly to Chinese consumers via Alibaba’s B2C marketplace, Tmall. The cooperation agreement was signed in the framework of the first China International Import Expo (CIEE), which is being held this week in Shanghai.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre today welcomed the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio. The presidential delegation’s visit emphasizes the importance of trade relations between Sierra Leone and the Antwerp diamond industry, and falls within the framework of President Bio's efforts to take his country in a "new direction", which includes a strong focus on revising key legislation pertaining to the mining sector to ensure a win-win situation for the government, mining companies and local communities.
Richline Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, announced that it is partnering with both JCPenney and Macy’s to introduce its new jewelry brand, Grown With Love, Lab Grown Diamonds this holiday season. As JCK reports, the line will include fashion as well as bridal components. "The Macy’s line will include stones up to 3 cts., while the J.C. Penney line tops off at around 1.5 cts.
An interim order regarding the liquidations sales of 142 stores that Sears plans to close as part of its bankruptcy reorganization recognizes the ownership rights of vendors that have supplied merchandise to the retailer on memo. Those vendors, which include diamond manufacturer Rosy Blue and jewelry supplier Vijay Gold Designs, objected to Sears' plans to close the stores because the stores held goods supplied by the vendors on consignment and believed Sears would to sell their merchandise “whether they own it or not.”
Gemfields has announced the discovery of ‘Inkalamu’ – the ‘Lion Emerald’ – a 5,655 carat Zambian emerald crystal with remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue. Inkalamu was discovered at Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine, which is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia (which belongs in turn to the Government of the Republic of Zambia).
The world's two largest diamond miners are joining forces to provide enhanced assurance for consumers and trade participants about the provenance and authenticity of their diamonds, as ALROSA has joined De Beers' blockchain pilot program - Tracr.
All signs are pointing upward for Lucapa Diamond Co. these days, with the exception of their rough diamond sales in Q3, which fell by 49% as the miner withheld several exceptional, large and premium-value specials (+10.8 ct.) for sale at a later date. This parcel (pictured) includes a 46-carat pink, and top-color Type IIa white diamonds weighing 114, 85, 75, 70, 62, and 43 carats respectively.
Petra Diamonds has appointed Mrs. Varda Shine and Mr. Bernard Pryor to its Board as Independent Non-Executive Directors, with effect from 1 January 2019, in accordance with the Petra nomination committee's three-year succession plan. The plan is in line with Petra’s development from a phase of intensive capital expenditure and expansion to a focus on steady-state operations. Varda Shine has been in the diamond industry for 30 years and was previously CEO of De Beers Trading Company.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) concluded its 14th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mumbai, India this week, reaching consensus on critical areas of reform for both the Kimberley Process and the WDC System of Warranties (SoW), the industry organization announced in a press release. The WDC passed resolutions for further improvement of a responsible supply chain and enhanced self-regulation exercise within the WDC SoW.
Firestone Diamonds posted solid production amid middling sales results in Q1 2019 (ended 30 September 2018), but its majority-owned Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho got off a strong start to the second quarter after selling its third most valuable stone to date. The start of Q2 was highlighted by the second sale of the 2019 financial year, where the diamond miner sold a total of 102,835 carats for US$8.2 million on October 26, including a 68 carat white diamond, the third most valuable stone sold to date for just under US$10 million, and a 20 carat yellow diamond.
Nearly one in five people engaged in India’s diamond industry, or about 100,000 workers, are said to be at risk of losing their jobs in the next six months, a representative of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) told The Economic Times. “The diamond trade in Surat could potentially lose one lakh (100,000) jobs in the next two quarters due to the increase in duty, lack of ease of doing business and the liquidity crunch.
After a four-year wait, Star Diamond Corp. - formerly called Shore Gold Inc. - has received the green light from the provincial government to build a diamond mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, bringing to an end what is believed to be the longest environmental approval process in province history. The Star-Orion Diamond Project was first proposed by Shore Gold Inc. in 1995.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) announced yesterday that ALROSA, the world's largest producer of rough diamonds, will participate in the Institute's M2M (Mines to Market) program, its "new digital storytelling platform". GIA's M2M is a digital platform that brings together the Institute's unique ability to scientifically match rough diamonds to the resulting polished gems with information from each step in the value chain, enabling it to tell the compelling story of a diamond's journey.
Rosy Blue and Vijay Gold Designs, two of Sears Holdings Corp.'s prominent jewelry suppliers, have challenged the retailer's plans to liquidate 142 stores in bankruptcy, saying some of the inventory they have furnished to Sears was on consignment. On October 15, Sears - once an innovative icon of the retail industry - filed for Chapter 11 in New York federal court to provide restructuring and financial relief for the organization.
Lucapa Diamond Company has commenced its commissioning of the 1.1Mtpa (million tonne per annum) treatment plant at the high-quality Mothae kimberlite open-pit diamond mine in Lesotho (Lucapa 70%; Gov't of Lesotho 30%), despite the challenges of the winter snowfalls in the Maluti Mountains (altitude > 3,000 metres).
The World Diamond Council (WDC) kicked off its 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on October 22, with its focus being on reform of the Kimberley Process and WDC System of Warranties in support of a commitment to sustainable development by the diamond industry. The meeting is hosted by The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), and this year’s event welcomed several new member organizations that strengthen the collective voice of the Council, particularly in Belgium, China and Africa. The agenda will continue to focus on a push for reform, both externally in the Kimberl
De Beers’ rough diamond production declined by 5% to 8.7 million carats in the third quarter due to planned reductions in mining volumes in Botswana and South Africa, the miner announced today. In Botswana, production at the Jwaneng mine declined by 6% to 5.7 million carats due to the planned processing of lower grade material. Production at the Orapa mine remained in line with Q3 2017 at 2.6 million carats.
The 2018 World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) Congress held last week in Bogotá, Colombia featured a strong focus on responsible sourcing in the jewelry industry. This included the introduction of a Responsible Sourcing Guidance document, which will serve as a reference for responsible sourcing practices developed and applied by industry organizations and commercial bodies worldwide and will come to have the status of a CIBJO Book. To oversee the process, a Responsible Sourcing Commission was established.
The GIA has announced that Chinese retailer LAELIM Jewelry and Belgian diamond manufacturer IGC Group will pilot GIA’s M2M (Mine to Market) program, which allows for complete transparency and traceability of diamonds along the value chain, writes GIA in a press release. This is one of the first instances where a manufacturer and retailer implemented the M2M program in partnership, and LAELIM is the first retailer in China to participate.
Petra Diamonds, with mining operations in South Africa and Tanzania, has released a promising and much-needed set of results from Q1 2019 (July 1 to September 30), reporting a 21% increase in diamond production and a 22% rise in revenue in the last three months.
Lucara Diamond Corp. will launch Clara Diamond Solutions, its 100% owned digital sales platform, in November 2018 with a select group of large vertically-integrated jewelry houses and global diamond manufacturers, the miner announced today. Rough diamonds offered in Clara's first sale will include a selection of diamonds from Lucara's Karowe mine and additional aggregated third-party rough diamonds consisting of stones between one and fifteen carats in size in the better colors and qualities.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA increased its production in Q3 2018 by 23% compared to Q2, and its output was up 2% year-over-year, somewhat mitigating the company's 11% decline in production over the first nine months of 2018, which now stands at 26.4 m carats. Meanwhile, ALROSA's Q3 rough diamond sales fell by 26% compared to the prior quarter and are down by 9% for the first nine months of 2018, while average realised prices for gem-quality diamonds during the quarter (including product mix change effect) gained 22% over the last quarter and are up 18% y-o-y.
The majority of small and medium diamond manufacturing units in India are planning to close shop and take an early Diwali vacation as sentiment in the diamond cutting and manufacturing centre is faltering, writes the Times of India. Depreciation of the Indian rupee has put heavy pressure on the trading of polished diamonds amid dwindling demand, falling polished prices, firm rough diamond prices and the banks squeezing loans to the industry.
Mountain Province Diamonds, which owns 49% of the the Gahcho Kué mine in the Northwest Territories in Canada, earned $24.2 million in its latest diamond sale in Antwerp, its eighth of the year. The miner sold 366,505 carats at an average realized value of US$66 per carat, which the miner said was in line with their expectations and reflect current market conditions.
In an open letter to diamond traders, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office addresses the possibility that the UK will temporarily be unable to import and export rough diamonds if the nation leaves the European Union without an exit deal. At the moment, UK traders can trade in rough diamonds within the EU and to countries in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which regulates the international trade in rough diamonds. The EU is a participant of the Kimberley Process (KP) and acts on behalf of the UK.
The third edition of CARAT+, a diamond-centred event in Antwerp scheduled for February 10-12 2019, has been postponed due to a lack of commitment to participate on the part of exhibitors and visitors, the organizers announced today. Due to the lack on confirmed participants with the event being less than four months away, the organizer "concluded that it would be difficult to achieve the high-quality standards we impose on ourselves while meeting the expectations of our visitors and exhibitors for an event like CARAT+."
The EU Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process and the ongoing review of the KP provide a unique opportunity to transform it into a tool not just for conflict prevention, but also for sustainable development, the AWDC told us yesterday afternoon. The gathering momentum for transforming the KP's very narrow definition of conflict diamonds during this year’s Chairmanship will only be brought to fruition through the concerted efforts of all the public and private actors across the diamond value chain.
Christie’s in Hong Kong will auction on 27 November the 24.04-carat pear-shaped, Fancy Yellow Moon of Baroda diamond Marilyn Monroe wore to promote the release of the Howard Hawk’s 1953 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It could be value anywhere from $500,000 to $750,000, perhaps more. Christie’s will also auction an autographed photo of the actress wearing the stone. The picture has a presale valuation of $10,000 to $15,000.
Rio Tinto's carat production in Q3 2018 at the Argyle as well as Diavik mines fell on a year-over-year basis, though production for the year thus far has kept pace with the first nine months of 2017. Production during the three months ending September 30 fell by over 17% to 4.9 million carats from 5.9 million carats, driven by a 19% decline at its 100-percent owned Argyle mine in Australia. Total output from the two mines is down by 2% to 14.1 million carats for the year to date.
Gem Diamonds has recovered a 357 carat light brown high-quality diamond trom its 70 percent-owned Letšeng mine in Lesotho, representing the 13th stone larger than 100 carats the miner has unearthed this year, a company record. The latest find is Gem's second-largest this year, with their largest being the 910 carat Lesotho Legend, a D color Type IIa diamond recovered in January, which sold for $40 million last March.
India’s polished diamond exports rose by 6.6% during the six-month period ended September 30, 2018 (H1 FY 2018-19) despite a dip of 10.8% in exports during the month of September, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Exports of cut and polished diamonds from India during September fell to $2.37 billion from $2.65 bn in September 2017, while polished diamond exports from April-September 2018 increased $2.68 billion from the $11.90 bn exported over the same months last year.
The De Beers Group provisionally sold $475 million worth of rough diamonds during their eighth sales cycle (October 8-12) of 2018, representing the lowest value of sales at a sight this year. October sales fell by about 6% compared to Sight 7 after the actual September sales were revised down to $503 million from the provisional value reported last month at $530 million. Still, the recent sight is a significant, 26% improvement in comparison to the $376 million in rough sales achieved at Sight 8 in 2017.
Russian diamond miner ALROSA recently concluded an auction of special-sized (10.8 carats and above) rough diamonds in New York, earning $7.9 million from the sale of 1,300 carats for an average price of approximately $6,077 per carat. This by far outstrips the average price the miner recently earned at an auction of the same category of diamonds in Hong Kong, which achieved $4,790 per carat.
The recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reversal regarding the definition of a diamond would seem to be a landmark decision. In reality, it is much ado about nothing. Since 1956, the FTC has defined a diamond as something natural, meaning from the Earth; now synthetic diamond manufacturers are allowed to use the word diamond to describe their product. Not an earth shattering development, really ... The FTC ruling stipulates that synthetic diamonds must still be described as lab-grown or cultured or in some clear way be distinguished from natural diamonds.
- Fire & Ice Diamonds, opinion on synthetic diamond nomenclature.
Canadian diamond miner Stornoway sold 184,620 carats in two tender sales for gross proceeds of $24.7 million at an average price of US$103 per carat (C$134 per carat) as price weakness returned to smaller and lower quality diamonds, a decline of 7% compared to the second quarter. Prices in the larger and higher quality items have remained firm. By way of comparison, the miner sold 201,283 carats at two tenders in Q2 for $28.6 million, at an average price of US$109 per carat.