The second major tender of rough diamonds from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility, located in the AWDC building, concluded Wednesday 12 February, closing the book on another highly successful sale. As with the first tender, held only two months ago, this one exceeded expectations: organizer Samir Gems sold some 535,000 carats of rough goods for $7.84 million.
Anjal Bhansali of Samir Gems said that "despite the scare from the coronavirus, which has really impacted the market more than one might imagine, we had a huge turnout." He said that more than 250 companies visited the viewing in only five days, with 50 companies placing bids and 19 different companies winning lots. "This is one of the things that shows that Antwerp is still the best market. There are so many active buyers in Antwerp, the miners - in this case SACIM - can be assured of maximizing their return." As he explained, the fact that so many different companies won parcels indicates that more companies were bidding, and this guarantees the best market price. "If you only have one or two big buyers, the bids do not necessarily reflect the market. If you have ten companies bidding, you know you are getting the fairest price for the goods you are putting on the table."
The prices achieved at the first tender of DRC goods in November were slightly higher than at this tender: in November, the tender earned nearly $6 million from 350,000 carats of mixed quality goods at an average price of nearly $16 per carat; this time it earned $7.84 million from about 535,000 carats at an average price of $14.72 per carat, which is slightly higher than the estimated value of the goods as determined by the DRC's Ministry of Mining diamond experts at the CEEC. Bhansali said that while commercial goods performed strongly, the price of gem-quality goods took a dip due to somewhat lower-quality production, as well as a general sense of caution among buyers. "The excitement of the stronger rough sales in January was somewhat deflated due to the virus and people worrying about the market. The crisis is growing in major diamond markets, and one should not forget that diamonds are a luxury product. People generally don't buy luxury goods in times of crisis."
Samir Gems said the positive results from these two tenders have opened the door to continuing rough tenders from the DRC. As the tender was taking place, we had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Nyembo Muyumba, Director General of the CEEC and Coordinator of the National Commission to Combat Mining Fraud in the DRC, who shared his views about the DRC-Antwerp relationship. Stay tuned for that discussion in the coming weeks.