Stellar Diamonds and parent company Newfield Resources are on the verge of commencing development of their Tongo Diamond Project in Sierra Leone. When completed, it will be the second largest diamond operation in the country. The Diamond Loupe spoke with CEO of Stellar Diamonds and Executive Director at Newfield Resources Karl Smithson, first in Antwerp and again when he was on site in Tongo (“in the middle of the bush”) about the project, how it is progressing and what to expect going forward.
Rio Tinto's diamond production for the year fell by 15% to 18.4 million carats from 21.6 million carats in 2017, as production at the Argyle mine in 2018 fell by 18% compared to 2017, when production was enhanced by the processing of higher grade alluvial tailings. The fourth quarter in particular put a drag on the annual figures, as the 3.2 million carats unearthed represented a 48% decline from Q4 2017 - albeit against a high base of 7.21 million carats - and a 16% decline from last quarter.
Lucapa Diamond Company has commenced commercial diamond recoveries at its new 1.1Mtpa (million tons per annum) Mothae mine, a "high-quality kimberlite resource" located in Lesotho. Lucapa has been developing a new mine at Mothae throughout 2018 to complement production from the high-value Lulo mine in Angola. During Q4 2018, Lucapa completed construction of Mothae's new treatment plant, which incorporates two XRT diamond recovery circuits, and commenced the commissioning phase.
Diamond production in Angola remained flat in 2018 at 9.43 million carats, but revenue from diamond sales increased by 9% to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion due to a 27% rise in the average price per carat, the chairman of the state mining company Endiama, Ganga Júnior, announced this week. Diamond production fell slightly from 9.44 to 9.43 million carats, but the average price per carat of the 8.26 million carats sold increased to $149 per carat from $117 per carat.
Stornoway Diamonds got its production levels back on track in Q4 2018 after "challenging" year of ramping up their underground operations at the Renard mine in Canada, giving them the confidence to raise their production guidance for 2019. Production, sales and revenue all declined significantly from the miner's 2017 levels, but they recorded a 24% increase in the average price per carat earned despite a market downturn in the second half of 2018.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds reported a 17% jump in carat production for the full year 2018, with sales rising 30% to $US240 million. The company's 49% share of production from the Gahcho Kué mine it shares with De Beers totalled 3.4 million carats, (full GK production 6.9 million carats) compared to the 2.9 million carats (5.9m) recovered last year, following from a 25% rise in total tonnes mined (ore & waste) and a 15% rise in total tonnes treated.
Russia’s Alrosa, the world's largest diamond producer, has announced its intentions to resume its diamond mining operations in Zimbabwe, which it had put on hold since 2016.
Angola has extended across the country what it calls “Operation Transparency”, which aims to fight illegal immigration, reduce diamond smuggling and reform the world’s fifth-largest diamond industry, Angolan authorities said in a statement. It is part of President João Lourenço’s drive to diversify the economy and reduce the country’s dependency on oil.
Lucara Diamond Corp. has recovered a 127 carat, top white gem diamond from its 100% owned Karowe Diamond mine located in Botswana. Since mining began at Karowe in 2012, a total of 129 diamonds in excess of 100 carats have been recovered, including an astounding 33 in 2018 alone. By way of comparison, Gem Diamonds, famous for its large diamond recoveries from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, recovered a record 15 stones larger than 100 carats this year. Lucara's haul since 2012 includes 12 diamonds larger than 300 carats in size, of which 5 were recovered in 2018.
Russian mining company AGD Diamonds has reported that from January to November of 2018, AGD Diamonds earned approximately $280 million (18.9 billion rubles) from diamond sales – up 35% year-on-year. According to Rough & Polished, the miner in 2018 the company extracted 22,150,000 cubic meters of rock mass from the Grib diamond mine, recovering 3,433,000 tons of ore.
Canadian-based and TSX-listed company Diamond Fields Resources Inc. (DFR) recently announced the shipment of a 25,152-carat parcel of rough diamonds to Antwerp for independent valuation, deep-boiling and initial sorting in preparation for sale. The diamonds were recovered from the ML111 licence offshore Namibia during the first 25 days of mining, between November 11 and December 5, 2018. The shipment is the first since mining restarted, having been on hold since 2016.
Hamdi Ali, a 17-year old high-school student from Canada has discovered a new way to extract diamonds from kimberlite rocks, according to a report from the University of Alberta where she was conducting summer research. She discovered that using SELFRAG high voltage pulse power fragmentation technology on the kimberlite rocks enabled recovery of diamonds that would have been crushed if established extraction methods had been used.
Gem Diamonds brought 2018 to a close much in the same way that it opened the miner's banner year - with the unearthing of a 125-carat high quality white, Type IIa diamond - recovered from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho. It was the fifteenth diamond greater than 100 carats the London-based miner recovered in 2018. The recovery, which took place on December 20, following the December 19 announcement of the recovery of high quality 101 carat and 71 carat white Type IIa diamonds, both recovered within a twenty four hour period.
Angolan mining company Sociedade Mineira da Catoca (Catoca) is planning to invest $330 million over the next three years in large sample collection works in the area of the future Luaxe mine, according to the company’s Director General Benedito Paulo. The work is due to begin in the first half of next year, when the company will collect data on the quality of diamonds as well as initiate price discovery and evaluation, after which the economic and financial feasibility study will be carried out as well as the exploration project, according to a report by Macauweb. Paulo said that t
Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines have announced the recovery of the largest known gem-quality diamond ever found in North America. The 552-carat yellow diamond was unearthed in October at the Diavik Diamond Mine, approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Measuring around 3cm by 5.5cm, it is said to be about the size of a chicken egg. "A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America and Canadamark diamonds overall," the companies said in a statement.
Gibb River Diamonds Ltd. (GIB), until recenly known as POZ Diamonds, has received the necessary permitting for its Blina Diamond Project in the Ellendale Diamond Province of Wester Australia's Kimberley Region. The project consists of four granted mining and various exploration leases, and the company is already recovering high quality stones.
De Beers' parent company Anglo American has announced a slight rise in its guidance for diamond output this year to 35-36 million carats (previously 34-36 million carats), marking a rise from the 33.5 million carats recovered in 2017. They estimate a reduction in 2019 volumes down to 31-33 million carats due to declining open pit production at the Venetia mine in South Africa as it transitions underground, and the Victor mine in Canada reaching its end-of-mine-life.
In a cost-cutting move, mid-tier miner Petra Diamonds has unburdened itself of the Helam mine in South Africa for a total price of $14 (ZAR 200). Petra put the Helam mine on care on maintenance during FY 2015, following previous attempts to source a suitable purchaser and has conducted no mining activities since then.
Dominion Diamond Mines CEO Patrick Evans has left the company after just over a year at the helm. The former chief executive of Mountain Province Diamonds, a position he held for twelve years, was brought in to lead the the world's third largest diamond producer by market value and Canada’s largest independent diamond producer after last year's $1.2 billion acquisition by billionaire Dennis Washington of Washington Companies. Shane Durgin, Dominion’s chief operating officer, took over as CEO effective Dec. 7. Evans plans to stay on as an adviser until the end of 2019.
Zimbabwe does not plan to change its ownership rules for diamonds and platinum, its Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando told Reuters on Monday. Late last year, Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, introduced a partial repeal of a controversial indigenization law passed under former president Robert Mugabe that had limited foreign ownership of local businesses to 49 percent, hoping to attract both domestic and international investment by implementing investor-friendly policies.
Mountain Province Diamonds says that it expects the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada, a JV with De Beers (51% owner), to surpass its 2018 production guidance of 6.6 million carats. Output is then expected rise to a range of 6.6 million to 6.9 million carats in each of 2019 and 2020, followed by 6.8 million to 7.1 million carats in 2021. The miner says the production guidance over the three-year period 2019 to 2021 is evidence of a sustainable and smooth mining rate as the mine performance maintains a steady state.
BlueRock Diamonds plc, the AIM listed diamond mining company which owns and operates the Kareevlei Diamond Mine in the Kimberley region of South Africa, has announced that the grade resulting from mining the first level of its latest kimberlite pipe "exceeds expectations". BlueRock is currently mining two of the five pipes at Kareevlei, called the KV1 and KV2. It has now processed the first Level 1 ore (10m to 20m below surface) from KV1, totalling 20,500 tonnes, resulting in grades of between 3.90 carats per hundred tonnes (‘cpht’) and 5.11 cpht at an average grade of 4.51 cpht.
Discussions between the Government of Botswana and De Beers Group are already underway as the long-standing partners look to strike a new deal. The current 10-year agreement for the sorting, valuing and sales of Debswana’s diamond production (Debswana is a 50/50 mining joint venture between Botswana and De Beers) is set to expire at the end of 2020. Botswana is reportedly pushing for a larger stake in its "new marriage" with De Beers ahead of the negotiations for the next sales agreement, writes The Southern Times.
The EU Plenary, which brings together the three pillars of the KP and its many stakeholders, was marked as a unique opportunity to advance the ambitious reform agenda set in 2017. Under the leadership of the EU, the KP discussed an agenda with three priorities: a deepening of the KP, including the reinforcement of the system of controls and the transformation of KP recommendations into minimum requirements; an expansion of the KP by broadening the definition of conflict diamonds; and professionalization of the KP by, among others, the establishment of a permanent KP secretariat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA's September sales continued the miner's positive trend in 2018 with an 8% increase in rough diamond sales compared to September 2017, which was admittedly a low comparison base. ALROSA sold $331.6 million worth of rough diamonds compared to $305.8 million a year ago, as the larger sized stones sold well while lower qualities and sizes set forth their downturn.
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.
Russian diamond mining company ALROSA extracted 28.59-carat rough yellow diamond at its Ebelyakhplacer deposit in July. The diamond is of deep greenish-yellow hue, and following the company's assessment, the color of the stone is defined as the rare Fancy Intense Yellow. It is currently the largest yellow rough diamond mined at ALROSA's deposits since the beginning of 2018. JSC AlmazyAnabara, a subsidiary of ALROSA, unearthed the stone.
Diamond Fields Resources (DFR) has confirmed, via its subsidiary Nutam Operations (Pty) Ltd, that the mining vessel "Ya Toivo" is scheduled to enter Namibian waters during the first week of November 2018. Once in position, the m/v Ya Toivo will commence mining operations on the ML111 license area, which is held by DFR through its Namibian subsidiary Diamond Fields (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd.
Russia's ALROSA has sold 2,234 carats worth of special size rough diamonds (larger than 10.8 carats) at an auction in Hong Kong, earning $10.7 million in sales revenue at an average price of $4,790 per carat. The 2,234 carats derived from 136 gem-quality diamonds, including 25 fancy yellow stones weighing 440 carats in total. 54 companies from Hong Kong, mainland China, Belgium, Israel and India took part in the auction.
Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines have revealed three of the finest large rough diamonds from their Diavik diamond mine in Canada, which will be showcased in Antwerp and Israel before being tendered to diamond specialists from around the world. The three rough diamonds, collectively named “The Diavik Stars of the Arctic”, will highlight a rough diamond tender of 'specials' (diamonds weighing more than 10.8 carats) before bids close on October 25.
Firestone Diamonds has just completed its first full year of production at the Liqhobong Diamond Mine (75% Firestone, 25% Government of Lesotho), ending an "eventful" year with mixed results. The company describes their first full year of production as "characterised by exceptional operational performance", as Firestone achieved their carat recovery guidance and exceeded their tonnage treated while operating at significantly lower cost than expected, and maintained an unblemished safety record.
The 7th Brazilian Conference on the Geology of Diamonds to be held in Salvador, Bahia is attracting speakers and delegates from around the world, the organizers write in a press release. The event, which focuses on the diamond producing industry, will highlight the diamond potential of Brazil, its geology, and new discoveries and developments in the sector. The conference will be held at the Deville Hotel and Conference Centre from November 4 to 7, 2018.
North Arrow, a Canadian-based exploration company focused on diamond opportunities in Canada, has completed an exploration drilling and till sampling program at its 100% owned Mel Diamond Project, confirming it as a new diamondiferous kimberlite field in Canada. The program represents the first ever exploration drilling of this new kimberlite field and also included work focused on generation of new targets through till sampling and geophysical surveys, the company said.
Botswana Diamonds has identified the potential of the Free State in South Africa to host additional commercial kimberlites following archival research concerning the history of diamond mining in South Africa. This research, first discussed in August 2017, found that in addition to the well-documented iconic operations at Jagersfontein, Koffiefontein and Kimberley, a number of smaller diamond mines existed in the area, but knowledge of them had essentially been lost over the
South Africa’s cabinet approved a long-delayed Mining Charter that spells out requirements for black ownership levels and backed the withdrawal of a mining bill after industry opposition, a minister said last week. The Mining Charter - which was introduced to redress the exclusion of black people in the mining sector under apartheid - could, however, still be the subject of legal challenges if mining companies are unhappy with its contents after it is published.