As the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent restrictions make it impossible to bring together the industry for the 2nd African Diamond Conference, which was set to take place in Durban, South Africa in May this year, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) together with its partners, Belgium’s Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs and the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA), have announced a series of webinars, on October 14, 21 and 28, aimed at sharing information on challenges and opportunities for African diamond producing countries and the diamond industry.
Several diamond and jewelry industry sites are reporting that the U.S. State Department may be prepraring to strengthen and enforce disclosure requirements for all materials used in jewelry. State Department representaitives met with a coalition of industry leaders in New York to explain the new potential regulations. According to Rob Bates at JCK, "The United States believes that jewelry materials and other minerals are funding conflict and rogue regimes, specifically mentioning Iran, Venezuela, and certain countries in Africa, said attendees.
South Africa's Mining Charter III "heaps more pain on South Africa’s alluvial diamond producers who already face enormous cost burdens and high risks," writes Gert van Niekerk, Chairman of the South African Diamond Producer’s Organisation in a recent opinion peice in Mining Review Africa.
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.
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.
Representatives from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) this morning joined Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Didier Reynders in Angola, where he hosted a Diamond Breakfast Symposium in cooperation with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Angola, HE Frank Felix. The mission to Angola is intended to reinforce the momentum established between the two countries during the visit of the President of Angola, João Lourenço, to Antwerp last June, where they discussed increased cooperation concerning diamond trading.
South Africa has a new minister of mineral resources, which is likely to be welcome news to the country's mining community. New President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his cabinet on Monday night, appointing former National Union of Mineworkers secretary general and national chairperson of the ruling ANC party Gwede Mantashe to head the Ministry of Mineral Resources. Mantashe was also the first trade unionist to be appointed to the board of a listed mining company (Samancor) in South Africa in 1995.
Last December, the Government of Zimbabwe announced it would be relaxing laws that require black citizens hold majority stakes (51%) in companies as it looks to restore confidence and boost economic growth.
India's GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council met on January 18 slashed the tax rate on 54 services and 29 items, including polished diamonds. Diamond processors and jewellery exporters in the country Around 94 percent of the diamonds processed in the country would attract 0.25 per cent GST effective Friday, according to Business Standard, down from three percent, following the GST Council's decision. This adjustment, however, only applies to trade between Indian states.
The U.S. sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, one of the biggest individual mining and diamond investors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in what it calls a clampdown on human-rights abusers and corrupt actors, write Thomas Biesheuvel, Mark Burton, and William Clowes for Bloomberg Politics. The U.S. Treasury said Gertler has used his close relationship with the country’s president, Joseph Kabila, to amass a fortune through corrupt and opaque deals.
The government of Zimbabwe has removed the local ownership requirement for foreign investment into the country - laid down in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act - with the exception of the diamond and platinum sectors, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced in a major policy change by the new administration. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has made job creation one of his priorities, had telegraphed his radical policy shift by dropping the indigenisation portfolio when he named his cabinet last week.
India's jewelry sector can breathe a little easier after Friday's announcement of the removal of gems and jewelry from the scope of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, writes The Hindu Business Line. The sector has been hit hard by the dual impact of demonetisation and the Goods and Sales Tax (GST). Following the move, jewelers no longer need to verify the identity of their clients by a KYC process for every transaction of Rs. 50,000 ($765) or more made through a single or multiple transactions.
In a recent interview with Mining Weekly Online, De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) CEO Phillip Barton bemoaned the lengthy delay in processing their 54 prospecting licences in South Africa, citing the new Mining Charter (still on hold) and issues with South Africa’s Department of Minerals Resources (DMR), which are effectively blocking them from diamond exploration in the country.
London-listed Petra Diamonds said on Wednesday it had received authorization from the Tanzanian government to resume diamond exports and sales from the Williamson mine. Shares in Petra Diamonds climbed more than 12% from two-year lows following the annoucement. The company said the timing and process for the next diamond export to the company’s office in Antwerp and the sale would be finalized between the company and the government. Petra said no resolution had been reached over the 71,654.45 carat shipment from the Williamson mine that was blocked for export this month.
In response to a recent Reuters article (based on an Mmegi Online article) mentioned yesterday, Lucara Diamond Corp. - whose mining assets are located in Botswana - has issued a statement to "provide clarity" after the miner was mentioned specifically as a catalyst for a government decision to establish first rights to diamonds of "unusual" size or quality unearthed in the country.
The government of Botswana is amending the law to give the state the first option to buy ‘unusual’ diamond finds such as the historic Lesedi La Rona recovered at Karowe Mine two years ago, writes Botwanan news outlet Mmegi Online. A recently filed draft bill to amend the Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Act contains a new clause that compels any producer that comes into possession of an unusual rough or uncut diamond to notify the minister of mines within 30 days, following which the government shall have the right of first refusal to the stone.
According to an article in The Kommersant Daily, Russia's Ministry of Finance has prepared a 'roadmap' for the development of Russia’s diamond manufacturing industry, which could become one of the biggest reforms in its history. "In particular", the news agency writes, "it is said to be aimed at serious mitigation of state regulation and reducing the tax burden on Russian diamond manufacturers, as well as at expanding their access to raw materials. This threatens to revise the marketing and investment policy of ALROSA and add to its financial burden.
The South African government has raised the minimum threshold for black ownership of mining companies to 30 percent in a surprise move that weakened the rand and knocked shares in the London-quoted mining groups Anglo American and Petra Diamonds. Shares in Anglo American have fallen sharply after South Africa announced changes to its mining regulations. They dropped 57p, or more than 5 percent to £10 after South Africa’s mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane said miners have to raise their black-owned stakes to 30% from 26% under a revised version of its mining charter.
Thursday June 8, the US House of Representatives approved legislation to erase a number of core financial regulations put in place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, as Republicans moved a step closer to delivering on their promises to eliminate rules that they claim have strangled small businesses and stagnated the economy, writes the New York Times.
Lucapa Diamond Company secured $14.2 million (AUD $19 million) in funding for the acquisition and advancement of the high- value Mothae Kimberlite Diamond Project located in the southern African country Lesotho. The funding sets Lucapa on track to commence commissioning Mothae in the first quarter of 2018 under a staged, low-risk development plan.
The decision to consolidate diamond mining killed the industry in Zimbabwe and government is currently re-engaging the Chinese companies that were operating in Marange to reach an amicable settlement, said Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa while addressing Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI). New Zimbabwe writes that according to the minister, the diamond mining sector is "dead" and is currently not contributing meaningfully towards the country's foreign currency earnings. "As of now the diamond sector is dead.
Speculation was already rampant about the potentially positive impact of having a First Lady and Daughter with their own retail brands; that impact has arrived in the first month, but whether or not it is positive is another question.
The founder and CEO of Gemological Science International (GSI), Mark Gershburg, has decided to step down as director of USKPA, writes Stacey Hailes of the National Jeweller. The USKPA, US Kimberley Process Authority, is an organization that works closely with the U.S. government in order to prevent conflict diamonds from circulating with legitimate trade.
Last Friday, September 30, the second of three rough diamond valuation forums initiated by the current Kimberley Process (KP) Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, was held in Antwerp.
Russia may have been too generous in setting the price of shares in diamond miner ALROSA in a sale earlier this year and "leaving 20 billion rubles ($313 million) on the table" after its biggest asset sale in three years, according to Bloomberg.
In the lastest installment of the Diamond Intelligence Briefing (DIB), diamond industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar presents a searing indictiment of the rough diamond trade in the United States, "The world's most convenient and 'uncontrolled' rough transfer market", claiming that, "The main justification for the overwhelming bulk of the (U.S.) rough trade is pure transfer pricing*." This rough diamond 'stopover' in the U.S. also "endangers the integrity of the legitimate U.S.
BlueRock Diamonds has resumed operations at its Kareevlei mine in the Northern Cape in South Africa following a suspension ordered by the country's Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). The DMR suspended operations at the mine after an inspection on July 6 revealed changes needed to processing plant procedures, guard rails on the plant and trackless mobile machinery (TMM). "After a frustrating few weeks I am delighted that we are now back into production," said CEO Adam Waugh said.
ALROSA will participate in the Second Eastern Economic Forum on September 2-3 as its official partner. The Eastern Economic Forum is held annually in Vladivostok in accordance with the Decree of President Vladimir Putin. The aim of the Forum is to promote the accelerated development of the economy of Eastern Russia and expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
DiamondCorp reports said that the South Africa Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has given permission for an immediate resumption of underground mining operations at the Lace diamond mine, which have now commenced. The diamond mining, development and exploration company stopped operations on July 18 to have miners’ assistants undertake refresher training after an incident in a development tunnel on the 310 m level. Following an investigation, the DMR ordered all miners’ assistants to undertake refresher training in the handling and charging up of explosives.
Zimbabwe's diamond production has slumped by 76 percent since the government’s consolidation of the firms mining in the Marange deposits, the Daily News reported, citing information from the country's central bank. Rough diamond output dropped to 152,475 carats in the first quarter of this year from 639,377 carats in the same period the year before.
With the abolition of the 6.5% export duty on rough diamonds fast approaching on September 1, writes Kommersant Daily, the Russian diamond cutting industry is asking the government to provide large-scale support to withstand competition on international markets - in particular from Indian diamond manufacturers.
Representatives of major law enforcement organizations and other groups from around the world, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Europol, Interpol, the Netherlands police, the U.S. State Dept., and the World Customs Organization, will be gathering in The Hague from June 28 to 29 for a two-day meeting on the role diamonds might play in money laundering and terrorist financing.
Namibian diamond miners working off the coast of Africa discovered a 500-year-old shipwreck loaded with around $14 million of gold and coins. The 'Bom Jesus' - or 'Good Jesus' - was first discovered along the Namibian coast near Oranjemund by geologists from De Beers in April 2008. It was found by the miners as they drained a man-made salt water lake along the Skeleton Coast. Although many shipwrecks have been discovered along the coastal area, this was the oldest and the first to be loaded down with coin and ivory tusks, according to the Mail Online.
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) CEO Mark Mabhudu and Finance Director Stewart Musekiwa have been fired just months after being appointed. The two officials "allegedly misrepresented production forecasts" to government. There were also allegations of corruption and nepotism at the company, according to The Standard newspaper. The ZCDC, a merger of the companies mining in the Marange deposits, is failing to achieve the targets set for it, according to the report.
The diamond mining giant is arranging investor meetings in the United States and the United Kingdom next month in preparation for the government's sale of a 10.9% stake in the firm, a Sberbank executive said on Friday. The Russian government aims to bank more than $900 million from the sale on the Moscow Stock Exchange later this year, Reuters reported.
Russia forecasts receipts of around $900 million (RUB 60 billion) from the sale of 10.9% of its shares in the giant diamond miner ALROSA, the country’s news agency TASS cited a minister as saying. “Today on the market it [the value of the 10.9% holding] is a little more than RUB 60 billion,” TASS cited Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev as saying in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel, Rapaport reported. “I do not rule out that by the time the transaction is closed the market conditions will improve further,” Ulyukayev added.
At least 300,000 migrants are involved in diamond mining activity in the eastern Lunda Norte province of Angola, mostly illegally, according to Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on Human Rights of Migrants, François Crépeau. He has just concluded an eight-day visit to Angola, at the invitation of the government, to see the scale of the problem. Illegal diamond mining in Angola and smuggling of gems to neighboring states has long been a problem for Angola.
The newly created Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has sold 270,000 carats of stones since its formation in February, according to a report out of the country. The company was established after the government cancelled the licenses of miners operating in the Marange diamond areas as the government sought tighter control of the diamond trade and revenues. Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa said ZCDC's performance had shown that government made the right decision to consolidate the mines.
Belgium made clear its intention to develop stronger ties with Angola in the diamond during meetings between Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Development Cooperation, Didier Reynders and Angolan officials. Angola's Minister of Geology and Mining, Francisco Monteiro Queiroz, asked Reynders about the possibility of Belgium training Angolans and providing finance and investment for projects in Angola, according to Allafrica.com.
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has rejected a U-turn by the government on the issue of a 1% excise duty on gold jewelry that he proposed in his budget. In an uncompromising speech in parliament, he described it as a tax on a luxury item, saying that gold had to be taxed since goods used by "common people" were taxed. These included items such soap, toothpaste, razor, pencil, ink, fruit juices and baby food. "Why should the luxury items be exempted from tax," he asked in response to a question from an MP.