This morning, February 6, some 535,000 carats of rough diamonds from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) went on tender at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility. The tender runs through Februay 12. The leading position of Antwerp as a rough diamond trading center convinced SACIM, a Congolese diamond miner, to hold its second Antwerp tender of DRC rough goods in the past ten weeks. The parcel comprises approximately 15% gem-quality diamonds and 85% industrial diamonds, and are of higher overall quality than in the first Antwerp tender held in November, including a higher percentage of white goods.
The visit of DRC President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi to Antwerp in September 2019 revitalized the trade relationship between the Antwerp diamond industry and the DRC, leading to a first tender in November of more than 350,000 carats. The prices achieved at the first sale exceeded the expectations of the organizers and the miner, earning nearly $6 million at an average price of $16.83 per carat. At the same time the Antwerp tender was being held, a parcel of similar goods was tendered in Dubai, earning an average price 8% lower than what was achieved in Antwerp despite containing higher-quality rough. This led President Tshisekedi to instruct the CEEC (Centre d’expertise, d’évaluation et de certification des substances minerals précieuses et semi-précieuses) to give priority to Antwerp as the primary sales channel for Congolese diamonds as they assess the success of the new relationship. By all accounts, it is developing well.
In addition to obtaining higher value for his country’s mineral resources, the decision of President Tshisekedi to hold a second tender in Antwerp makes good on the his promise to trade DRC’s diamonds in a more transparent and traceable manner. Antwerp is the world’s most competitive and strictly controlled diamond trading center, with 86% of the world’s rough diamonds changing hands in the city every year. Samir Gems is organizing the tender, which is being hosted by the AWDC.
“Diamonds are an important source of income for the DRC,” says AWDC CEO Ari Epstein. “Earning a strong return on a tender is thus extremely important for the Congolese government as well as the population. We are therefore pleased that they have opted for Antwerp’s transparent business model and competitive market,” he added. “In this way we provide added value to the DRC.” In March, an AWDC delegation will travel to the DRC to follow up on the cooperation agreement signed in November 2019.
The organizers told The Diamond Loupe that more than 80 companies from across the world - Belgium, of course, but also India, Hong Kong, Israel and the U.S., among others - had scheduled viewings for fully-booked tender, with a waiting list of 7-8 hopeful participants for each day. They said they were confident in the prices they would earn for the goods, particular the gem-quality stones, as Antwerp is the leading rough market and interest and participation is very high. Indian cients from several companies told us they preferred the rough tenders to be held in Antwerp for the all-around convenience of the surroundings as well as the clear and well-structured organization of the event. The SACIM mine is located in the Miabi territory in Kasaï-Oriental.
Photo: Shruti Mehta @DiamondsandAntwerp