Rio Tinto reports rough diamond output at its Argyle Mine in Australia nearly hit 3.5 million carats for the second straight quarter in 2018 (3.48 million carats in Q2, 3.5 million carats in Q1), marking an 8% increase over output in the second quarter of 2017 and continuing the gains recorded in the first quarter. The mining giant has now topped 7 million carats produced at Argyle in the first half of 2018, a 13% increase over the first half of 2017. Rio Tinto attributes the increase over Q2 2017 to an increase in tons processed following improved plant availability.
Botswana Diamonds (BOD) on Wednesday released an update on the company's Sunland Minerals exploration projects in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana - Sunland Minerals is a JV with ALROSA - noting they were encouraged with the latest results. The exploration company has completed its mineral sampling over the 8 previously discovered and announced high contrast geophysical anomalies in the Gope Region of the Kalahari Desert, with all 8 anomalies turning up kimberlitic indicator minerals ("KIMs") - 267 in total. Analysis of the KIMs concluded that the sources were likely to be local.
Lucapa Diamond Co. has announced the recovery of a 114 carat diamond from the alluvial Lulo Diamond Project in Angola, the 11th +100 carat diamond recovered to date from the prolific Lulo diamond field and the third so far in 2018. The 114 carat diamond adds to a significant inventory of large diamonds currently held for a later sale by Lulo mining company Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo.
BlueRock Diamonds, a junior miner listed on AIM in London and operating the Kareevlei Diamond mine near Kimberley in South Africa, announced its production increased significantly in 2017, yielding high-quality diamonds with an average value per carat of $362. The miner said that it met its two primary targets in 2017 – operational profitability and monthly processing volume of 25,000 tons, which unearthed 2,438 carats in the first half of the year, compared with 543 carats, a year earlier.
Namibia's diamond mining industry is estimated to maintain a high growth level during 2018 before contracting in 2019 due to the depletion of onshore diamond deposits, according to the Bank of Namibia's economic outlook for July 2018. The sector's projected growth is 10.9% in 2018, which is reasonably high, despite a slowdown from 12% in 2017. The diamond sector is, however, expected to contract by 5.3% in 2019 due to lower production from onshore mines during that year.
Global rough diamond production in 2017 grew to levels not seen since 2008, and achieved its highest overall value since the Kimberley Process started gathering statistics in 2004 - and most likely the highest value ever for a single year of production. The volume of diamond output in 2017 surged by 19% to 150.9 million carats (126.4m cts in 2016), with the average price increasing 8% to $105 per carat.
Canadian miner Stornoway Diamonds saw its sales and diamond output slip in the second quarter, with the results, "reflect[ing] the ongoing transition from open pit to underground mining and the introduction of ore-waste sorting." Stornoway held two tenders in Antwerp compared to three in Q1, earning US$21.9 million (C$28.6 million) from the sale of 201,283 carats, compared to US$43.3 million (C$56.6 million) from the sale of 399,135 carats in Q1.
Petra Diamonds late last week announced that it had sold its stake in the Kimberley Ekapa Mining joint venture (KEM JV) to its namesake partner, Ekapa Mining, for about 300 million rand ($22 million).
Rain clouds have chased away the forest fire hazard at Stornoway Diamonds' Renard Mine in Quebec, and the miner expects to commence remobilization of staff to the mine this morning, July 4. "Over the last 48 hours, rainfall and a shifting of the prevailing winds have allowed the principal fires south of the Clarence and Abel Swallow Airport to be contained, allowing for the safe transit of mine staff to the Renard Mine. Stornoway expects to recommence full mine operations forthwith." Hopefully this will be the last appearance of the 'dog days of summer' for the Canadian miner.*
Stornoway Diamond Corporation has announced that operations at the Renard Diamond Mine have been temporarily suspended due to a local forest fire. As of 6:30am EST on Monday July 2, the fire was located 12.6 kilometres south of the Renard Mine, but just 3.6 kilometres south of the Clarence and Abel Swallow Airport and within 0.1 kilometre of the mine’s access road. It covers an area of 18 kilometres by 6 kilometres and is being fanned by northerly winds.
Angolan President João Lourenço has vowed to reform Angola’s diamond industry, increasing its transparency in order to facilitate the exportation of goods, attract foreign investment and increase government revenue from the country's natural resources.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds (49% participant with De Beers Canada in the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada’s NWT) announced the results of its recently completed fifth diamond tender sale of 2018, and the total proceeds from the sale - US$30.3 million (CDN$40.0 million) - set a new high for Mountain Province’s tender results to date. The tender also included the sale of the miner's highest value individual diamond, as well as the highest attributable value per ton ($234) to date, with a normalised value at US$86.
Australian-listed Lucapa Diamond Company Limited recovered an 89.75-carat yellow diamond from the Mothae Diamond Project in Lesotho. The diamond was recovered from the current bulk sampling program at Mothae as construction of the new 150 ton-per-hour commercial diamond plant continues on schedule for H2 2018 commissioning, the company said.
Lucara Diamond yesterday published the results of its Mineral Resource Update for its Karowe Mine in Botswana, which showed it would continue to yield a high grade of high quality diamonds for the remainder of its open pit life, and that underground mining was likely to continue until 2036. The remaining Indicated Mineral Resource for Karowe's AK06 kimberlite includes 7.9 million carats hosted in 57.85 million tons of ore at an average grade of 13.7 carats per hundred tons (cpht), with an average modelled diamond value of US$ 673 per carat.
Russian diamond miner ALROSA has decided to suspend the construction of deep mine levels at its International underground mine due to health and safety concerns, which will impact the mine's output plan, though the miner's 2018 production plan remains unchanged.
Lucara Diamond Corp.,a leading producer of large exceptional quality Type IIa diamonds from its 100% owned Karowe Mine in Botswana, achieved $32.48 million at its 12th Exceptional Stone Tender which concluded yesterday. The tender consisted of 10 single stone lots, ranging from 472.37 to 40.4 carats in size, totaling 1,453.06 carats and included two diamonds greater than 300 carats.
Australian diamond miner Lucapa Diamond Corp. earned US$2 million (A$2.7 million) in revenues from its latest sale of rough diamonds from the Lulo Diamond Project in Angola. Lucapa sold 1,782 carats at an average price per carat of US$1,150 (A$1,530). Including this sale, the miner's gross proceeds from Lulo diamond sales to date in H1 2018 now sits at US$15.9 million (A$20.2 million) at an average price per carat of US$1,642 (A$2,093). The sale excluded a number of large white specials (+10.8 carats) and a coloured special, which were held back for a future sale.
Lucara Diamond Corp. has announced the appointment of Ayesha Hira as their new Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy, and has already prompted speculation among analysts in stating her primary responsibilities will be, "investigating strategic growth opportunities including mergers and acquisitions." It is unclear whether the M&A in mind are looking upstream to mines and exploration projects, or downstream to something else entirely.
Angola’s Catoca, the world’s fifth largest diamond mine, estimates it lost $464 million over the past six years due to a government-imposed marketing system that obliged it to sell production below international prices, writes Reuters after having been shown in March a company presentation. President João Lourenço has vowed to reform Angola’s diamond industry, increasing its transparency in order to facilitate the exportation of goods and services and attract direct foreign investment, all in the interest delivering greater revenues from the country's natural resources.
In a landmark deal - hailed as a first ever in South Africa - Kimberley’s illicit miners, known as 'zama-zamas', have now been legitimized. Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Godfrey Oliphant issued the artisanal miners with mining permits in an agreement aimed at curbing the rapid growth of illegal mining which has been spurred on by rising unemployment. The newly-licensed informal miners have been given access to 500 hectares of land owned by Kimberley Ekapa Mining (KEM JV), a joint venture between Petra Diamonds and Ekapa Mining.
Junior miner Botswana Diamonds has been awarded the priority 2.5 hectare Mooikloof kimberlite pipe concession close to De Beers’ flagship Venetia Mine, the company today announced. Mooikloof is a known 2.5 hectare diamondiferous kimberlite pipe last prospected in 1986 and fits into Botswana Diamonds’ strategy of undertaking fresh exploration work with modern techniques in areas where they had been found and mined before. The adjacent Oaks mine was previously owned and successfully operated by De Beers, achieving a grade of 53 cpht at a value of $156.
João Lourenço, the President of the world’s fifth largest diamond-producing country, Angola, today paid a ceremonious visit to the world’s largest diamond trade center, Antwerp - his first visit to an international diamond trade hub. In what was initially described as a friendly, exploratory house-call, President Lourenço made it clear that he views his visit to Antwerp as part of his intention to increase transparency and promote the country ́s image abroad in order to facilitate the exportation of goods and services and attract direct foreign investment.
The Zimbabwean government has yielded to Chinese pressure and will restore Anjin Investment’s operating licence after finalisation of the new diamond policy, nearly three years after the entity was stopped from mining in Chiadzwa, writes the Zimbabwe Independent.
The Lerala Diamond Mine in central Botswana has been sold via an online auction for $8.1 million, a year after it was placed under provisional liquidation, according to a report from Reuters. The liquidator of the mine - which was held by Australian mining company Kimberley Diamonds and has been on judiciary management for the past year after it shut down due to a lack of funding and "weak market conditions" - put the entire operation up for sale in an online auction after its liquidators failed to secure viable offers.
PJSC Severalmaz, a Russian diamond mining company and subsidiary of ALROSA, has tested unmanned aerial vehicles - a quadcopter and an airplane - for mine surveying of land objects of Lomonosov Mining and Processing Division. According to ALROSA, preliminary estimates show that the use of unmanned technologies provides high survey accuracy, increases the speed and safety of work. Using a Geoscan 401 Geodesy quadcopter and Geoscan 101 Geodesy aircraft, Severalmaz surveyed the open-pit mine, dump, ore storages and other bulked land objects.
Mountain Province Diamonds this morning announced the recovery of a 95 carat gem diamond from the Gahcho Kué mine located in the Northwest Territories, Canada. The diamond was included in the fancies and specials parcel acquired by Mountain Province in the most recent Gahcho Kué production split (Mountain Province owns 49% and De Beers Canada 51% of Gahcho Kué run-of-mine production; they bid monthly on the fancies and specials recovered, with the winning bidder entitled to market those diamonds).
ALROSA, jointly with Endiama, is planning to invest about $500-700 million in Luaxe mining project in Angola, accoring to Russian news agency TASS as reported by Rough&Polished. Last year, ALROSA increased its shareholding in Catoca mining to 41%, ensuring a stronger role in the development of the Luaxe pipe in close proximity to Catoca's infrastructure. Luaxe has a reported reserve of some 350-million carats in the Luele Kimberlite pipe. The operation is projected to have a life-of-mine of 29 years, cover a surface area of 100 ha and reach a depth of 400 m.
John Teeling is the executive chairman of Botswana Diamonds PLC, one of the most prolific diamond exploration and project development companies that holds exploration licences in Botswana and South Africa. With 40 years worth of resources experience, he is often called a ‘serial entrepreneur’, and is involved in a number of other AIM exploration companies. Notably, he was the founder of African Diamonds, which discovered the AK6 mine in Botswana, a venture that eventually became Lucara's famous Karowe Mine. The Lucara Diamond Corp.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds (49% participant with De Beers Canada in the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada’s NWT) announced the results of its recently completed fourth diamond tender sale of 2018. Total proceeds from the sale were US$28.3 million, the highest total for any Antwerp tender result to date. The miner said that market sentiment remained positive coming out of the April holidays and into the fourth selling cycle, while customer participation was healthy with 191 companies attending the tender in Antwerp and an average of 12.4 bids received per lot.
The fact of the matter is, if you are not selling a diamond at international commercial tender in Antwerp, you are not achieving the best price. We’re achieving the best prices in the world for an alluvial diamond mine, so it’s not a bad start. But could you get more for your diamonds at international tender? The answer would be yes.
- Mark Drummond, Head of Investor Relations at Lucapa Diamonds, on Angola opening up diamond sales
Lucapa Diamond has recovered 25 carat yellow gem diamond from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho during first two days of trial processing following bulk sampling plant modifications, causing them to rethink their expectations for the mine. "Significantly", they note, "the gem-quality Special was recovered from the Neck Zone of the Mothae kimberlite" which is not part of the current +1 million carat resource estimate. They also recovered a 6 carat diamond during the first two days of trial processing of material from the Neck Zone.
Gem Diamonds Limited today announced the recovery of yet another large, high-quality diamond, this time weighing 115 carats. The stone is top white colour Type IIa diamond, recovered from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho. This is the ninth diamond of over 100 carats recovered in 2018, already exceeding the total number of diamonds of over 100 carats recovered in 2017.
The government of Zimbabwe has starting working on a new Diamond Policy that will unbundle the state-run Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company (ZCDC) to ensure more players are able to exploit the diamond resources, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is currently working to improve the working conditions for artisanal miners in conformity with traceability standards proposed by the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), according to the World Diamond Council (WDC). In the interest of fostering such improvements, Stephane Fischler, acting president of the World Diamond Council (WDC), and Marie-Chantal Kaninda, executive director of the WDC, traveled last week to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to meet with key stakeholders involved in the Kimberley Process (KP).
Canadaian diamond miner Stornoway suffered higher losses during the first quarter of 2018 as it makes the transition from open pit to underground mining, which has had a negative impact on carat production as they have moved to the processing of lower grade ore.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA saw its profit soar to $533 million (RUB 33.2B) in Q1 2018, eclipsing their profit from Q1 2017 by 40% and doubling that from the final quarter of 2017. Noting improved market conditions, the company's rough diamond sales volume grew by 43% to 13.4 million carats despite a 26% decline in production compared to Q4 2017 (-17% compared to Q1 2017) as 48% of their sales volume, about 6 million carats, came from existing stocks.
The highly controversial Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz, head of BSG Resources (BSGR), has apparently not allowed his various troubles to deter him from mining diamonds, as Bloomberg reports that the high-value Koidu mine in Sierra Leone, controlled by Steinmetz's family trust, has started mining again after halting production for almost a year. "It’s the latest step in a recovery for a business that’s spent much of the last few years in deep trouble," writes Thomas Biesheuvel.
Just a day after Firestone Diamonds announced that Stuart Brown was stepping down as its CEO and Director, handing the reins to Paul Bosma, Mountain Province Diamonds has announced Stuart Brown's appointment as the new President and Chief Executive Officer, with effect from July 1, 2018. Brown will be taking over for David Whittle, who has served as Interim CEO since last June.
Firestone Diamonds, a new diamond producer with operations focused in Lesotho, announced that Paul Bosma has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer with effect from July 1 2018, following Stuart Brown's decision to step down as CEO and Director of the company. Firestone writes in its statement that Paul Bosma has more than 24 years' experience in the mining industry, of which 14 years have been in the diamond sector where he worked for De Beers. He joined Firestone in 2014 as the Mineral Resources Manager and in 2016 became General Manager of Liqhobong mine.
Dominion Diamond Mines announced last week that it would once again be delaying expansion of its Ekati mine in the Northwest Territories, which had been schduled to commence this year, extending the Ekati mine's life to 2033. They said the work planned for this year has been put on hold while the company studies how the project's profitability can be increased, according to CBC News. Dominion did not say how this delay would affect the overall timeline for the Jay pipe, which was expected to begin production in 2021.
Lucara Diamond Corp recorded a loss of $7 million in the first quarter of 2018 amid a slight decline in revenues (-3%) and higher administrative costs. The Toronto-listed company operating in Botswana achieved revenues of $25.4 million compared to $26.1 million in the same period a year ago. They achieved $401 per carat, just under the $405 per carat from Q1 2017, at its first regular tender, yielding an operating margin1 of $170 per carat or 42% during the three months ended March 31, 2018.
Pangolin Diamonds Corp.,a diamond exploration company in Botswana, has recovered two diamonds and 100 positive kimberlite indicators from a 4 hectare soil sampling grid at the MAL 001 drill target located in the company's wholly-owned Malatswae Project. The recovery is the second positive result the junior miner has announced in the past two weeks, following the companies first diamond at the Jwaneng South Diamond Project, Botswana.
Lucapa Diamond Company has recovered a gem-quality 46 carat pink diamond from the Lulo Diamond Project in Angola, the largest gem-quality coloured diamond recovered to date from the Lulo mining operations. The 46 carat pink eclipsed the 43 carat yellow gem recovered in January 2018 and the 39 carat pink recovered in September 2016.
Botswana Diamonds (BOD), the AIM and BSE listed explorer, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vast Resources, the AIM-listed mining company with operating mines in Romania and Zimbabwe for the exploitation of diamonds in Zimbabwe. Under the agreement, the two companies will exchange past exploration information on areas prospective for diamonds in Zimbabwe and form a jointly-owned special purpose vehicle to develop and exploit diamond resources. Both companies now have a Zimbabwe diamond database.
London-based Gem Diamonds, a leading global producer of high value diamonds whose main resource is the Letšeng mine in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho (70% ownership), and Canadian junior Lucara Diamonds, which sports a similar profile with its 100% owned high-value Karowe Mine in Botswana, have made new appointments in their senior management. Gem Diamonds announced that Johnny Velloza, currently Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Company, effective May 2 2018.
The liquidator of Kimberley Diamonds' Lerala Diamond Mine in Botswana, which has been on judiciary management for the past year after it shut down due to a lack of funding and "weak market conditions", will put the entire operation up for sale in an online auction after its liquidators failed to secure viable offers. It is a complete diamond mine, includuing the entire processing plant with its various crushers, 200tph conventional fines and course DMS plant, as well as it final integrated x-ray recovery house, hand recovery and grading unit.
Lucara Diamond Corp. has recovered a 327 carat, top white gem diamond from its 100% owned Karowe Diamond Mine located in Botswana. Eight diamonds greater than 100 carats have now been recovered at Karowe since the beginning of the year, including the 472 carat diamond announced earlier this month.
A veritable bonanza of large diamond recoveries, including the 910-carat Lesotho Legend, a high-quality diamond unearthed on 15 January - the second largest gem quality diamond recovered in the past century - sent Gem Diamonds' revenues soaring to the tune of an 174% increase in Q1 2018.
South African diamond producer Petra Diamonds reported a major revenue increase in its third quarter (Jan 1 - March 31 2018) driven by record production in the first three months of 2018. The miner said revenue for the quarter climbed 44% to $172 million from 1,373,771 carats sold, compared to $119 million from 1,069,886 carats sold a year earlier.
The world's two largest diamond miners reported diverging results in the first quarter of 2018, as De Beers production climbed 15% compared to the first quarter of 2017, totaling 8.5 million carats, while ALROSA's first quarter production fell by 17% year-over-year to 7.4 million carats. Noteworthy is that the production guidance for the year 2018 remained unchanged for both miners, as ALROSA confirmed its production plan for FY 2018 at 36.6 million carats, while De Beers' full year production guidance also remains unchanged at 34 to 36 million carats, subject to trading conditions.
Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)-listed junior diamond miner Trans Hex has agreed to terms for the sale of its Baken and Bloeddrif mines, both of which are situated on the banks of the lower Orange River (LOR) in South Africa, to Lower Orange River Diamonds Proprietary Limited for $6 million (R72m) in cash, and its shareholders appreciated the gesture. Miningmx reports that speculation on the deal drove Trans Hex's share price up 52% ahead of yesterday’s announcement which came after the close of trading on the JSE.
London-based miner Gem Diamonds has announced that the government of Lesotho, represented by the Prime Minister and Minister of Mining, has confirmed their intention to renew the mining lease of the high-value Letšeng mine until 2034. The mining lease may be further extended if necessary in relation to any underground development of the mine thereafter. The full terms of the renewed mining lease are subject to a statutory negotiation process with the Lesotho Mining Board and, when agreed, will be contained in a new mining lease agreement.
In what can only be described as a brilliant initiative, De Beers Group today announced it is preparing to pilot a program called GemFair to create a secure and transparent route to market for ethically-sourced artisanal and small-scale mined (ASM) diamonds. GemFair will use dedicated technology to record ASM production at mine sites that meet demonstrable ethical standards, with the aim of purchasing rough diamonds from approved locations while helping improve working conditions and livelihoods for those working in the sector.
Firestone Diamonds, which mines the Liqhobong mine in Lesotho (75% Firestone, 25% government of Lesotho) reports an increase in production during the third fiscal quarter ended 31 March 2018, as the higher grade led to a 6.6% rise in diamond recoveries despite challenging conditions due to above average rainfall during the wet season.
Rio Tinto reports rough diamond output at its Argyle Mine in Australia topped 3.5 million carats in Q1 2018, representing an 18% increase over output in the first quarter of last year, but a massive 42% decline compared to the 6.1 million carats recovered in Q4 2017. The mining giant attributes the increase over Q1 2017 to relatively fewer weather disruptions and the additional processing of higher grade alluvial tailings.
In five years’ time, in 20 years’ time, people are going to be kicking themselves they didn’t buy Ethiopian. The material is as good if not better than what’s coming out of Muzo [the legendary Colombian emerald mine]. Not only is the material exquisite - it has very intense color - but it also has a glow, which Zambian doesn’t have. It’s not as blue as Colombian but it glows like Colombian. It blew everybody’s minds. Apart from the fact that it’s beautiful, 40 percent of our material has no oil, which is unheard of. Less than one-half of 1 percent of Colombian material has no oil. In the whole of the AGTA show, you might find six no-oil Colombian stones if you’re lucky.”
- Simon Watt, of Mayer & Watt, U.S. distributor for emeralds from the Helo deposit, owned by the Bu’a Obsa Association, a tribal group of miners, in Ethiopia. See GIA article on the exciting discovery in Ethiopia, which will provide a new source of large, high-quality emeralds for the gem and jewelry trade.
Lucara Diamond Corp. today announced the recovery of a 472 carat, top light brown gem diamond, the third largest diamond ever recovered from its 100% owned Karowe Diamond Mine located in Botswana. CEO, Eira Thomas comments, “In 2018, mining at Karowe is focused in the high value south lobe, which consistently delivers large, high quality diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats in size.
Canada's Stornoway Diamond Corp. realized a higher average price per carat from an improved size and quality mix in the first quarter of 2018, getting the year off to a strong start despite lower than expected carat production. According to the miner's First Quarter 2018 Production and Sales Results, Stornoway sold 399,135 carats at three tender sales in Antwerp for gross proceeds of US$45 million (C$56.4 million) at an average price of US$112 per carat (C$141 per carat).
Shareholders of the two Canadian mining companies have given their approval by an overwhelming majority for Mountain Province Diamonds to move forward with the acquisition Kennady Diamonds. The proposed deal, first announced in January 2018, will reunite mining operators that divorced some seven years ago. Mountain Province first announced spinning out its Kennady North project into a newly listed public company late in 2011.
Pangolin Diamonds Corp. has signed an option agreement to earn up to a 75% interest in the diamondiferous AK10 diamond project located in Botswana, situated just 4 km from the now famous AK06/Karowe mine. “I am extremely pleased with this transaction", said Dr. Leon Daniels, President and CEO of Pangolin.