Rio Tinto has ended speculation about a potential move to acquire Dominion Diamond Mines' 40% share in the Diavik mine in Canada's Northwest Territories, which would give the global miner full control of the mine in which it currently owns a 60% stake. According to a May 28 court filing, Rio "does not seek to bid" on Dominion's stake, nor does it intend to acquire Dominion's Ekati mine.
A Canadian judge has ordered the Rio Tinto subsidiary, in the joint venture managing the Diavik mine, to release Dominion's share of production that Rio Tinto has been holding as collateral for overdue payments. Dominion Diamonds filed for protection last week granting the company protection from creditors.
Star Diamond Corporation recently announced that Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (RTEC) has commenced the processing of bulk samples from RTEC's trench cutter program at the Orion South Diamond Project in Saskatchewan, Canada. These bulk samples, estimated by RTEC to be approximately 8,271 wet tonnes, were collected in 2019 and are stored on-site in approximately 6,848 cubic metre bulk bags.
In a press statement, Dominion Diamonds, operating the Ekati Diamond in the Northwest Territories has announced it has filed for insolvency protection under the Canadian Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA") granting the company protection from creditors. Dominion is said to have received and is considering a proposal from an affiliate of its current equity owner, The Washington Companies, to provide financing to pilot the company through the CCAA process.
Mountain Province Diamonds has announced improved production and sales results for the first quarter of 2020, though their sales are currently on hold. In Q1 2020, Mountain Province sold 659,318 carats at an average value of $99 per carat (US$75 per carat) for total proceeds of $65.4 million (US$49.2 million) in comparison to 643,739 carats sold at an average value of $94 per carat (US$71 per carat) for total proceeds of $60.7 million (US$45.8 million) in Q1 2019.
Dominion Diamond Mines (Dominion) yesterday, March 19, announced that it has decided to suspend operations at the Ekati Diamond Mine in Canada to safeguard its employees and the communities surrounding its operations from threat posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Dominion Diamond Mines and its owner The Washington Companies has appointed Patrick Merrin to be its new interim chief executive officer, taking over from Shane Durgin who has left Dominion to “pursue other opportunities,” according to Dominion’s statement. He is the miner’s third CEO since The Washington Companies took over the Canadian diamond miner in November 2017 for $1.2 billion, acquiring all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Dominion for US$14.25 pe
With its share price last topping $1.00 on October 28, 2019, Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds (MPD) has notified the Nasdaq Stock Market of its intention to voluntarily delist its common shares from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange (NASDAQ). MPD's shares will continue to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) after the NASDAQ delisting becomes effective on or around February 11. The miner had already indicated last August that delisting was imminent.
Mountain Province Diamonds turned in a very strong production performance at the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada, particularly in the fourth quarter, but a 15% decline in the average price achieved for their rough diamonds over the course of 2019 dragged their proceeds down. A slightly lower recovery grade also curtailed their carat recovery, which ended just below 2018 levels.
Rio Tinto has lowered its 2020 rough diamond production guidance to 12-14 million carats, down from 17 million carats produced in 2019 and 18.4 million carats the year prior.
De Beers is moving to expand exploration at its Gahcho Kué diamond mine, while Dominion Diamond Mines (DDM) is looking to expand a major exploration program east of Ekati mine, according to several Canadian news outlets. In a Dec. 31 submission to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, De Beers indicated it would be exploring 11 targets of interest by late February.
Mountain Province Diamonds reached the upper level of its output guidance in 2019 and sees opporunity for further growth in 2020. President and CEO Stuart Brown confirmed in a Dec. 19 statement that the miner will achieve the upper end of their production guidance of 6.7 – 6.8 million carats recovered on a 100% basis. Mountain Province Diamonds is a 49% participant with De Beers Group in the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories.
Canadian junior miner Star Diamond Corporation on November 15 announced it has received notice from Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (RTEC) indicating that it intends to exercise all four options under an Option to Joint Venture Agreement entered into in 2017. According to diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky, writing on Twitter, this includes Rio Tinto committing to spend C$70.5M (US$53M) to take Star-Orion South through feasibility for a 60% stake in the project. Star Diamonds owns the 60 Fort a la Corne kimberlites in central Saskatchewan.
Stornoway Diamond Corp. is a Canadian diamond exploration and producing company that developed the Renard mine over the course of two decades from a grassroots exploration project to a world-class diamond mine - the first in Québec. The massive project, built for $774 million - under their budget of $811 million - sparked enthusiasm across the diamond industry, which has seen few new mines open in recent years. Stornoway delivered the first ore to the processing plant in July 2016 and achieved full production in the summer of 2017.
Rio Tinto saw its diamond output fall in the third quarter of 2019 (three months ended September 30, 2019), citing lower carat grades from its Argyle mine in Australia and lower ore availability at the Diavik mine in Canada. The multinational mining group reported a 7% decline in diamonds produced during the quarter and a 9% drop over the first nine months of the year.
De Beers' rough diamond production in the third quarter of 2019 declined by 14 percent to 7.4 million carats, with significant reductions in South Africa and Canada which the miner says was planned. "In addition," they note, "we continue to produce to weaker market demand due to macro-economic uncertainty as well as continued midstream weakness." For the year to date, De Beers ouput is lagging 12% behind the first nine months of 2018, falling to 23 million carats from 26 million carats. Q3 output fell 3% from Q2 output.
A 27% decline in the average price per carat led to an equivalent decline in total Q3 proceeds for Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds, as the company sold about the same number of carats as in Q3 last year.
Diamonds is a business we like a lot. It’s a very high-margin business in line with our strategy of value over volume. It makes a lot of sense. We want to stay in the diamonds business, so we have committed 20% of our exploration budget to diamonds. We are also exploring for mergers and acquisitions.
- Arnaud Soirat, Rio’s chief executive for copper and diamonds, speaking to Bloomberg
Struggling Canadian miner Stornoway Diamonds, which has been particulary impacted by the 2019 market downturn, has announced two moves that should provide the financing and liquidity required to ensure the Renard Mine will continue to operate while the company undergoes restructuring. Stornoway Diamonds Corp. and its subsidiaries Stornoway Diamonds (Canada) Inc. (SDCI), Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. (Ashton), and FCDC Sales and Marketing Inc.
Two major Canadian diamond miners, Stornoway and Mountain Province, have been put on notice and will be facing a delisting review from respectively the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, as an extremely soft market has punished their recent results and their share prices have plummeted.
The De Beers Group’s carbon-capture research at the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada has received a funding boost following the award of a C$675,000 (US$514,000) grant from Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds has reported a 10% decline in output during Q2 from the Gahcho Kué diamond mine located in Canada's Northwest Territories. While Mountain Province mined 10.8 million tonnes of material during the quarter, 6% higher than the same period last year, a 9% decline in the recovered grade kept their overall recoveries down, but still ahead of plan. The miner produced 847,772 carats in Q2 (49% of the ouput shared with De Beers Canada). Diamond sales remained stable, particularly in the larger sizes (5 carats and up).
Rio Tinto's rough diamond production fell by 10% during the first half of the year despite improved output in the second quarter compared to the first three months of 2019. Production at its Argyle mine in Australia actually increased by 18% compared to Q1, but the nearly 3.3 million carats recovered in Q2 was 5% fewer than during the same period in 2018 due to lower recovered grade, partially offset by stronger mining rates. Output at the Argyle mine reached 6.1 million carats in H1 2019, a 13% decline compared to the same period last year.
Canadian miner Stornoway Diamonds delivered a strong performance in rough sales as well as production in Q2 2019, but ever-softening diamond prices in a market that continues to be challenging kept proceeds level with those achieved in Q1.
Global rough-diamond production fell to 148.2 million carats in 2018, a decline of less than 2% from the 150.9 million carats recovered in 2017; however, a 4% rise in the average price per carat led to a 2.4% increase in the value of the world's rough diamond production, according to Kimberley Process (KP) data. Global diamond production was worth $14.47 billion in 2018 compared to $14.12 billion in 2017, as the average price per carat rose to $97.5 from $93.6.
Rio Tinto Exploration Canada (RTEC) has completed the drilling of the first bulk sample hole on Star Diamond Corp.'s Star Kimberlite, employing a massive 'trench cutter sampling rig'. The first of 10 bulk sampling holes has been drilled to a depth of over 228 metres and intercepted a total of 117 metres of kimberlite on Star Diamond’s Star-Orion South site at Fort à la Corne.
Stornoway Diamond Corp., 100% owner and operater of the Renard Diamond Mine in Quebec which began commercial production in January 2017, is in dire financial straits and is looking for new investment in, if not a buyer for the mine and its assets. Stornoway has endured some very turbulent times over the past year and a half, seeing its losses mount as a result of operational difficulties and a highly unfavorable market for its diamonds, and will need to restructure if it is going to continue operations.
A new discovery has the potential to change how we look for diamonds in Canada and around the world, write Katie Willis from the University of Alberta, Canada. This comes as potentially big news to an industry that has discovered scant few significant and economic diamond deposits in the past decade.
Stornoway Diamond Corporation saw its losses widen in Q1 2019 as the miner faced "continued downward pressure on the market price for rough diamonds." The Canadian miner reported a net loss of C$48.4 million (US$36 million) in the first quarter of 2019, in comparison to a net loss of C$11.0 million (US$8.2 million) in the first quarter of 2018. The latest results follow a year in which Stornoway encountered a host of difficulties on its way to a US$246.8 million (CA$329.4 million) loss, substantially widening the loss of US$85.6 million (CA$114.2 million) recorded the year prior.
De Beers Group reported a diamond production decline in the first quarter of 2019 driven by a 65 reduction in South Africa as the Venetia mine as it approaches the transition from open pit to underground mining. Venetia yielded only 0.4 million carats due to lower mined volumes, while the Voorspoed mine was placed onto care and maintenance in Q4 2018 in preparation for closure. De Beers' production guidance for 2019 remains unchanged at 31 - 33 million carats, subject to trading conditions.
Mountain Provice Diamonds recorded a 3% year-over-year drop in recovered carats at the Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine during Q1 2019 despite a 11% increase in tonnes of ore treated, as the average recovered grade slipped by 13%. Rough diamond sales also fell by 12% as a result of a 28% decline in the average price per carat sold, offsetting the larger volume it marketed through Bonas tender house in Antwerp.
Canadian miner Stornoway Diamond Co. rebounded from a difficult final quarter of 2018 to post significant increases in total carats sold, leading to a big rise in gross proceeds. Stornoway in Q1 2019 sold 429,506 total carats at two tender sales a Bonas tender house in Antwerp, earning about US$35 million (C$47 million) at an average price of US$83 per carat (C$110 per carat).
Canadian diamond miner Stornoway encountered a host of difficulties in 2018 on its way to a US$246.8 million (CA$329.4 million) loss, substantially widening the loss of US$85.6 million (CA$114.2 million) recorded last year. The miner's challenges included delays in the ramp-up of the Renard 2 underground mine, the processing of low-grade stockpiles during the transition from open pit to underground operations and weak diamond prices.
Arctic Star Exploration Corp. of Vancouver has begun this year’s exploration program at the 40% owned Diagras joint venture diamond property in Lac des Gras, Northwest Territories, Canada (NWT). Margaret Lake Diamonds holds the remaining 60% and is the project operator. Preliminary results have been "encouraging."
The Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine, a joint venture between Mountain Province (49%) and De Beers Canada (51%), exceeded expectations in its first full year of commercial production, setting records for carat recoveries and sales despite a challenging end of year 2018. Mountain Province reports that the Gahcho Kué Mine exceeded its upper end of FY2018 guidance of tonnes treated, processing 3,194,000 tonnes (2017: 2,775,000 tonnes) and recovered 17% more carats than last year, settting a new high for the mine of 6,937,000 carats (2017: 5,934,000 carats) with a 4% increase in the average grade.
Diamcor Mining, a publicly traded junior diamond mining company based in Canada and operating in South Africa, sold 1,220 carats of rough diamonds recovered from ongoing processing exercises performed at its Krone-Endora at Venetia Project in South Africa for US$376,000, achieving an average sale price of $308.06 per carat. This represents an increase of 76% compared to the company’s average price per carat of $176.16 realised on all rough diamonds tendered and sold to date, and included the sale of a 44 carat gem quality rough diamond.
Canadian junior miner Star Diamond Corp. has reported "unusually high proportions of Type IIa diamonds" at its kimberlite diamond project in Saskatchewan, and investors did not fail to notice, sending its shares soaring almost 15% on the news, closing at 24 Canadian cents.
The De Beers group is set to consolidate its Canadian and South African mining business into a single unit to streamline operational management of the Venetia Mine, Gahcho Kué Mine and De Beers Marine under a single leadership team based in Johannesburg. The new unit, called De Beers Group Managed Operations, will be headed by the group’s former DBCM deputy CEO, Nompumelelo (Mpumi) Zikalala.
RJK Explorations, a mineral exploration company with a focus on diamonds, gold, silver and base metals with its resource properties located in Ontario and Newfoundland, is planning to search for the source of the 800-Carat Nipissing Yellow Diamond in southeastern Ontario. The Bishop Nipissing Diamond Project came about when RJK entered into a property option agreement with Anthony “Tony” Bishop for the Bishop Nipissing Diamond Properties, exploration properties totaling 2,090 hectares encompassing at least 18 potential kimberlite pipes, according to a press release.
Mountain Province Diamonds will include in its upcoming, February rough diamond sale an exceptional quality, 60.59-carat, fancy vivid yellow rough diamond. The diamond was recovered at the Company’s Gahcho Kué Mine in October 2018. Also included in the sale will be more than 50 other large, high-quality white and fancy-colored rough diamonds. Viewings will take place between February 11 to 21 at the offices of Bonas-Couzyn in Antwerp, Belgium.