The World Diamond Council, the body representing the diamond industry from miners to retailers within the Kimberley Process (KP) today launched the implementation phase of the updated System of Warranties (SoW), an industry self-regulation system set up nearly two decades ago which requires buyers and sellers of diamonds to include a warranty statement on all invoices and memo’s.
This week, Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa announced that the first initial tests by local scientists and company experts on how kimberlite waste ore – what’s left of the super hard rock in which rough diamonds are found once the diamonds are recovered – can be used to absorb carbon dioxide, showed promising results, potentially even compensating the 997k tonnes of CO2 emissions generated by the entire company in a full year. The company aims to further reduce its footprint by shifting from fuel-powered to renewable energy throughout its operations.
Lucapa Diamond and Petra Diamonds both released performance updates with record revenues. For Lucapa, revenue from Mothae (Lesotho, sold via Antwerp) and Lulo (Angola) was up nearly 300% to US$27m total in H1. Petra Diamonds 2021FY revenue, marketing its goods via Antwerp, was up 65% to US$402m, with the highest contribution from exceptional diamond sales in the history of the company.
Meya Mining (Meya), owner of a large, 129 square km kimberlite-rich concession in the eastern region of Sierra Leone, has announced a financial and commercial partnership deal with Antwerp-based Samir Gems and Taché Company. In 2017, just 7 days after commissioning its plant, the miner recovered a 476 carat diamond called the Meya Prosperity.
HB Antwerp has kicked off its Innovation Lab in Botswana, welcoming 30 graduates in the field of Engineering and Technology, with a special focus on creating diversity and gender parity in the diamond industry, engaging young women through a collaboration with pan-African incubator WomHub. HB Antwerp’s Botswana program intends to allow the participants to develop industry-specific knowledge but also helping them finetune their talents such as leadership and intrapreneurial skills.
In the presence of the representatives of several diamond producing, trading and manufacturing hubs, including Belgian Ambassador Jozef Smets, Angolan President Lourenço last week officially opened the Saurimo Diamond Development hub, aimed at reinforcing development and employment in Angola’s diamond-rich Lunda Sul province. The large Diamond Hub site already hosts three diamond manufacturing plants and will be completed with other diamond related services and training centers, as well as banks, restaurants, shops, convention centers and residential areas.
Botswana Diamonds PLC and Vast Resources PLC have announced a joint venture (Okwa Diamonds) has acquired – pending regulatory approval – Gem Diamonds’ mothballed Gaghoo diamond mine, a 10.8ha mining area in central Botswana, fo US$4m. James Campbell, MD at Botswana Diamonds commented: “Working with our joint venture partner VAST, we have completed thorough due diligence on Ghaghoo.
While to outsiders it may have seemed the closure of Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine marked the end of diamond mining in Australia, recent developments show signs of an unexpected revival. Earlier this year, Australian-based miner Lucapa, currently operating mines in Angola and Lesotho, acquired the Merlin mine, which hasn’t produced any diamonds since 2003. Lucapa hopes to restart the mine within two years.
According to Rapaport, Rio Tinto Diamonds, operating the Argyle mine in Australia, the mine that was closed in November last year, and the Diavik mine in Canada, made US$5m profit in the first 6 months of the year. The company recovered 3.1m ct from Diavik - up 2% - and sales, operated by the Antwerp division of Rio Tinto Diamonds, were up 13% to US$160m.
Operations have resumed at Alrosa's Zarnitsa open-pit mine, which the Russian miner had suspended since May 2020 amid the challenging market environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2021, when the demand for rough diamonds had stabilized, ALROSA decided to recommence mining at the deposit from 1 July.
Firestone Diamonds announced it had entered a binding share sales agreement for its Botswana operations. Botswana-owned Visionary Victor Resources will acquire the BK11 mine, as well as Firestone’s 90% interest in its local subsidiary, Monak Ventures, for US$50,000.
Firestone Diamonds has been trying to offload their Botswana asset for nearly six years, as the project has been on care and maintenance since 2012. At that time, the mine plan estimated it still had 1.2 million carats in reserves.
Debswana, the joint venture between the Botswana government and Anglo American’s De Beers unit, announced the recovery of a 1,098-carat diamond. Initial analysis suggests the rough stone could be the world’s third-largest gem-quality diamond ever to be recovered after the 3,100-carat "Cullinan Diamond", was discovered in South Africa in 1905, and the 1,109-carat "Lesedi la Rona", was found in 2015, in the Karowe mine in Botswana.
Lucara Diamonds announced the recovery of a 470 carat top light brown clivage diamond from its Karowe Mine in Botswana. This recovery headlines a series of top-quality gem and clivage quality diamond recoveries during a recent production run, including 5 other diamonds of 265ct, 183ct, 161ct, 116ct and 106ct, and 13 diamonds between 50 and 100 carats.
In their latest update, Australia-based miner Lucapa Diamond Company has struck a deal to buy the Northern Territory's Merlin diamond mine for US$17.8 million, which they intend to fund with private and public sales of its shares.
Lucapa announced it had recovered another large stone, 138-carat diamond, from Mining Block 46 (MB46) in the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola. The diamond is the seventh +100 carat diamond recovered in 2021 so far and the 24th +100 carat stone recovered at Lulo since exploration and mining operations began.
Gem Diamonds announced the recovery of a white, Type II, 370-carat diamond from the Letšeng mine located in Lesotho. Letšeng is known for producing large, exceptional white diamonds, making it the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world. This announcement comes a week after the recovery of a 254 carat Type II, white diamond from the same mine.
Gem Diamonds announced the recovery of a 254 carat Type II, white diamond, from the Letšeng mine located in Lesotho. Letšeng is known for its production of large, exceptional white diamonds, making it the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.
Debswana, the joint venture between the Botswana government and Anglo American’s De Beers unit, intends to invest US$6 billion to build the world’s largest underground diamond mine at Botswana’s Jwaneng. The mine is already considered the richest mine by value for the precious stones. The underground mine will have more than 360 km of tunnel development and is expected to hit full production by 2034, Debswana’s head of transformation and innovation, Thabo Balopi, said at a briefing in the capital, Gaborone, last Friday.
Last week Tanzania assumed the chairmanship of the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) from Namibia. The minerals minister Dotto Biteko accepted the chairmanship on behalf of the country, saying that in their term as leader, "Tanzania will make sure that it improves ADPA systems so as it can bring positive benefits to member states just as intended."
Lucapa has announced it has recovered another large stone, 144 carat Type IIa D-colour diamond, from Mining Block 08 (MB08). The diamond is the sixth +100 carat diamond recovered in 2021 so far and the 23rd +100 carat stone recovered at Lulo since exploration and mining operations began.
Petra Diamonds has recovered a 39.34 carat Type IIb blue diamond of exceptional quality in terms of both its colour and clarity at the Cullinan mine in South Africa. The Company anticipates that the diamond will be sold via a special tender.
Lucapa announced the recovery of an additional three +100ct and two +50ct diamonds, now totalling six rough diamonds over 100ct discovered in the last three months alone at Mining Block 46 or one +100ct for every 20k cubic meters of gravel. These statistics and recoveries support the potential of the adjacent Canguige catchment and kimberlites close to the Lulo alluvial mine.
AGD Diamonds, the Russian miner that sells its goods via Antwerp-based GRIB Diamonds, announces the recovery of a large, 72.94ct rough diamond from its Grib diamond field, continuing the trend of 2020, a year in which 7 50ct+ stones were brought to surface. On a more global level, in recent years more and more large rough diamonds are found, thanks to technological developments in mining processes.
Lucapa announced a parcel of selected Mothae stones including a 213ct white diamond and 11ct pink, was prepared, analyzed and sold successfully in Antwerp for US$1,050/ct or a total of US$5.9m to the miner’s purchasing partner. The sale was conducted under the partnership agreement with the Kingdom of Lesotho, maximizing revenue for the country through a share in the final sales outcome of the (selected) stones from the parcel, once they are polished in Antwerp.
Lucara Diamond Corp announces five leading international financial institutions, including ING Bank NV, Natixis, Société Générale London Branch, Africa Finance Corporation and Afreximbank, are mandating +US$200m senior debt facilities for the underground expansion of the company's 100% owned Karowe mine in Botswana, extending the mine's lifespan until at least 2040, expected to generate over US$4bn in revenues. Total capital cost for the expansion is estimated at US$514m over a period of five years.
Lucapa announces its Mothae expansion project, the re-commissioning of the upgraded processing plant, was completed successfully, expanding processing capacity at the Lesotho kimberlite mine by 45%, to 1.6 million tonnes per annum starting Q2 2021. Lucapa's Mothae production is sold via tender in Antwerp, alongside partnerships with manufacturing companies in accordance with the marketing agreement the company made with the Government of Lesotho, to maximize on the added value generated by the cutting and polishing and final sales of its precious resources.
A recent clip from Euronews spotlights Angola's efforts to build a transparent and sustainable diamond industry, part of President Lourenço's reform agenda, at the development site of Saurimo, Lunda Sul.
Alrosa, the Russian diamond mining giant reports that despite a strong Q4 2020, with especially strong sales volumes of smaller diamonds, total revenue for the year fell 7% to US$3bn, output fell 22% to 30m cts and net profit dropped 49% to US$440m, a direct impact from lower sales, as the miner upheld maximum flexibility throughout the pandemic, to avoid stockpiling, as well as a weaker rouble.
Lucapa has announced it has recovered another large stone; a 114ct top white diamond, the 19th +100ct recovered at Lulo, and the third 100+ct rough from the MB46 block, close to the Canguige catchment and priority kimberlites. The frequency of the recovery of three large, high quality stones in barely 8 weeks underscores the potential of the Cacuilo valley and Canguige catchment area. Recently the 16km haul road from the Canguige catchment was finished and Lucapa says it will start bulk sampling the priority kimberlites as soon as the wet season is over.
In a release detailing its operational results for the COVID year 2020 and the last quarter of that year, Lucara clearly demonstrates its strengths, recording a strong performance despite the pandemic. Total revenue (regular tenders, Clara plus the HB and Louis Vuitton agreement) amounted to US$125.3m, compared to US$192.5m y-o-y, a remarkably strong performance considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A strong Q4, with revenue of US$42.4m at an avg US$402/ct marked a global recovery on the rough market, a trend which is continuing in 2021.
A lovely springtime sun is warming up the Antwerp diamond square mile, boosting temperatures from snowy below zero barely a week ago to a pleasant 15°Celcius. The weather is echoing the sentiment on the market and at Petra Diamonds, as both have emerged from tough times probably stronger than before.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year, Petra Diamonds was one of the first to shift gears as the world was paralyzed. The Johannesburg sales were put on hold and the miner started focusing its sales on Antwerp, where operations continued despite global lockdowns.
Alrosa's January sales of rough (US$421m) and polished (US$9m) continue on the trend of Q4 2020 with record sales in December. The January figures were up 6% y-o-y, driven by strong demand in China and the US and lower inventory levels in the midstream. The Russian miner increased prices 6-7% in its latest cycle, but continues to allow buyers to defer purchases.
In conclusion of a months-long saga, Dominion Diamonds Mines has finalized the sale of the Ekati Diamond mine and associated assets to Arctic Canadian Diamond Company LTD, a new company formed and owned by DDJ Capital Management, Brigade Capital Management, LP and Western Asset Management Company, LLC, CBC Canada reports. Operations were fully resumed in January, after a restart in November last year, and all workers are expected to return to work later this month.
BlueRock Diamonds announced the sale of a 14.8-carat diamond, recovered in December 2020, for USD167,000 (USD11,300 per carat) in its first tender since the start of the pandemic. During the same tender, they sold an 8.7 carat diamond for USD37,000 (USD4,300 per carat).
In its latest trade update, Gem Diamonds, the mining company that operates the high value diamond Letšeng mine in Lesotho, presented a remarkably good report considering the impact of the pandemic on the global diamond industry.
Rough & Polished reports Angola's authorities have greenlighted the further exploration of the Luaxe concession, located roughly 20km from the Catoca mine, jointly operated by the Angolan governement and Russian miner Alrosa, consisting of one of the most promising deposits discovered in over a decade worldwide. Experts believe the concession has a potential reserve of 350m cts, and estimated annual production of 10m ct, which would effectively double the country's annual output and thus also generate significant aded value in terms of state revenue.
According to Zimbabwe Independent, Anjin Investments, has regained control of a diamond claim in Marange (Portal B), "in unclear circumstances", the news outlet claims in an extensive article. Anjin had to shut operations back in 2015 as the Mugabe administration forced the closure of seven mining companies and the subsequent merger of their assets into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
Lucapa reports strong Q4 results at its Lulo operations in Angola (volume of carats mined was up 55%, grades were up 47%, amount of carats sold was down 48% (4,269ct) but prices were up 31% y-o-y.
Botswana's Minister of Mineral has approved the renewal and extension of Lucara's mining licence through to 2046, or another 25 years, "another important milestone for the underground expansion of Karowe", Lucara President and CEO Eira Thomas commented. Although the expansion, estimated cost US$514m, has experienced slight delays due to Covid-19 budget restrictions, the five year development period remains on track, with first ore expected to be processed in 2026.
Mining.com reports the troubled Dominion Diamonds has brokered a deal to sell its Ekati mine, not the 40% stake in the Diavik operation, both in the Canadian Northwest Territories to an entity controlled by DDJ Capital Management LLC and Brigate Capital Management LP, in exchange for the assumption of US$70m in debt.
Lucapa has recovered its 16th 100ct+ rough diamond at its Lulo operation in Angola, the 3rd to date this year, a 127ct gem-quality white, which was recovered from the leziria flood plain in mining block 24. The discovery, the first large stone for this particular block, supports the potential of the Lulo alluvial deposit, Stephen Wetherall, Lucapa's MD added in the release.
Mining company De Beers has launched an ambitious vision to reach 12 milestone KPI's, three in each of four key area's - Thriving Communities, Ethical Practices, Protecting Nature and Equal Opportunities, to be achieved by 2030.
By 2030 De Beers wants to
In the auction concluded on November 24, GRIB Diamonds, the Belgium based diamond trader, owned by AGD Diamonds, netted US$23 million for a total of 8,700ct of rough diamonds, significantly exceeding expected revenue, especially for white goods, including three type IIa stones of 199.43ct, 86.29ct and 50.32ct respectively, each sold for US$1m+.
While the pandemic brought about an unprecedented shock to the whole diamond value chain in 2020, in a way it may also have acted as a catharsis of sorts for an industry that has been struggling to regain footing in recent years, in part due to a misalignment of supply and demand.
A Canadian court has granted Rio Tinto's Diavik subsidiary the permission to sell the rough stones from the troubled Dominion Diamond Mines, partner in the Diavik mine, which Rio Tinto was holding to recoup US$90+m in debts, unpaid cash calls to operate the mine.
In Luanda, the state-owned diamond company Sodiam has opened a retail store, in collaboration with KGK, the diamond company that also operates a polishing factory in the country. Earlier, Mines minister Diamantino Azevedo announced the government is going ahead with plans to develop a diamond hub in a free-trade zone, which is said to include a research and training facility as well as a diamond bourse.
According to Mining Weekly, citing Botswana Central Bank data, exports of rough diamonds in Q3 nosedived to -66%. Debswana, the 50/50 joint venture between miner De Beers and the Government of Botswana, representing the bulk of the country's diamond exports, reported exporting a mere US$287m worth of rough in Q3 2020, compared to US$863m in Q3 2019.
Gem Diamonds reports that its Q3 Antwerp tender results achieved an average of US$2,215 per carat, exceeding (pre-covid) H2 2019 prices. The strong results, excluding a little under US$30m of proceeds of the September tender that arrived after the Q3 period ended, and continued cost control are further boosting the miner's balance sheets, to positive cash flow. The latest tender in September included the sale of the 439 carat Letšeng Icon. The miner reopened the mine in Q2 and has fully resumed all activitities at the Lesotho Letšeng operation, including waste mining activities in July.
Petra Diamonds in its trading update for Q1 FY 2021 (July through to September) reports a 10% decrease in production to 974,346ct, which the miner attributes largely to the continued care and maintenance status of the Wiliamson mine in Tanzania. The miner also reports a 33% increase in revenue, to US$82m, as Petra released inventory from Q4 2020 and rough prices at the latest tenders (September and October) firmed up significantly, although still 10% below pre-covid tender results, the company statement adds.
Rapaport reports that Rio Tinto's Diavik subsidiary Diavik Diamond Mines Inc (DDMI) has asked a Canadian court to allow a sale of Dominion owned rough diamonds from the mine, to compensate for outstanding payments to Rio Tinto, amounting to US$90+ million, to be able to continue operations at the mine. Previously, the court had already granted DDMI the right to hold some of the rough as collateral while Dominion is under protection from creditors.
In a press release, Russian miner Alrosa has announced it will extend its long-term customer 2018-2020 contracts through to Q1 2021. Normally, the miner would be evaluating its long-term contracts as well as prospective members of its Alrosa Alliance. Due to the pandemic disrupting normal trade and the continued uncertainty, Alrosa has decided to maintain flexibility towards clients and postpone the planned review of clients and the decisions on new three-year contracts for five months.
In a latest update, Australia based miner Lucapa has adjusted its indicated and inferred diamond resource estimates at the Mothae operation to an estimated 280k ct, 3.1cpht at an average value of US$635/ct and 960k ct, 2.44cpht at an average value of US$601/ct respectively. In the release, Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall commented on the 280% increase in indicated resource; " The increase in tonnes and carats, ..., strongly supports an expansion in production at Mothae that the partners are considering"
Junior miner BlueRock operating the Kareevlei mine in Kimberley, South Africa, reports stronger than expected production and higher grades in Q3, or 5,577 ct compared to 3,973ct in Q3 2019, at an average price of US$330 per carat. In May, BlueRock announced it will be collaborating with Antwerp-based tender specialist Bonas Group for the sale of its rough diamonds.
CBC news reports that negotiations around the US$126 million sale of a number of Dominion's assets, including the Ekati mine, to affiliates of owner Washington Companies have reached an "impasse" with no chance to reach an agreement before the deadline of Oct 14.
Petra Diamonds today announced that it has recovered five extremely rare blue rough diamonds at its Cullinan mine, of 25.75 ct, 21.25 ct, 17.57 ct, 11.42 ct and 9.61 ct respectively. The last discovery of a blue rough stone dates back exactly one year ago, and blue diamonds are considered as one of the most rare in fancy colored stones, making it all the more extraordinary that five diamonds are recovered in one week's production.
Osisko Gold Royalties, one of the secured creditors which acquired Stornoway's assets and properties a year ago as well as its debts and liabilities yesterday announced the Renard mine operations will resume later this month, after a four-month suspension due to liquidity issues. The restart plan includes a further cost reduction of $30 million and a commitment to boost working capital with another $30 million by shareholders. Stornoway is also expected to bring over 300k carats of unsold rough to the market later this year.
Mining Review reports that Lucapa's Lesotho Mothae mine, which had been placed on care and maintenance due to the pandemic at the end of March, will resume activities later this year. In addition, the Lesotho government has approved a proposal that will allow the Australia-based miner to market its rough diamonds through direct partnerships with diamantaires, similar to what Lucapa has implemented for its Lulo (Angola) operation. “Mothae is a unique mine and an important contributor to the Basotho nation.
For the second consecutive month, Lucapa had a record-breaking production at its Angolan Lulo operation, recovering 3852 ct, as mining focused on the MB06 Ieziria flood plain.
Ireland headquartered Botswana Diamonds is looking to raise £300,000 (US$394,403) via a share offering to fund further exploration and development of its assets in South Africa and Botswana this year. In South Africa, the company is drilling on the (M8) Marsfontein concession and other identified kimberlite targets at Thorny River, while in Botswana, efforts are focused on the recently acquired Sekaka Diamonds KX36 project.