Diamond-rich Botswana expects mineral revenues in the 2019/20 fiscal year to drop by 4 percent to 13.6 billion pula ($1.26 billion) due to a decline in royalties and dividends, a minerals ministry budget document showed last week. Botswana is heavily dependent on its diamond resources which, according to the World Bank, is responsible for 25% of the country's GDP, approximately 85% of exports earnings and about one-third of the government's revenues.
The marketing battle between the natural diamond industry and laboratory-grown diamond producers and their advocates is intensifying. Not a week goes by without the latest effusive article - sponsored or otherwise - appearing about the inevitable rise of synthetics. While the traditional issue of the undisclosed mixing of synthetics with natural is still very topical, recent debates have shifted to nomenclature, pricing, transparency and corporate social responsibility.
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.
According to new research published by the Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF), one of the most overlooked facts concerning the diamond industry is that the world’s diamond mines are rapidly depleting. Within a quarter of a century, the majority of the 45 most notable diamond mines operating today will cease to exist, and the last diamond will be unearthed in 60 years. According to the FCRF, diamond prices will rise as supply wanes.
Petra Diamonds, owner of one of the world’s most famous diamond mines - the Cullinan mine in South Africa - could be about a decade away from clearing its multi-million-dollar debts, according to Reuters. As Emma Rumney and Barbara Lewis explain, Petra bought Cullinan in 2008, "aiming to breathe new life into the South African mine renowned for yielding the largest rough gem diamond ever found - 3,106 carats - and being the world’s main source of rare blue diamonds.
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.
BlueRock Diamonds plc, the AIM-listed junior mining company which owns and operates the Kareevlei Diamond Mine in the Kimberley region of South Africa, has recommenced operations after South Africa's mining regulator ordered a temporary suspension on January 24 following an accident. The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) imposed a section 54 notice - which concerns the code of practice relating to the operation of trackless mining machines - following an event involving an external contractor.
Multiple forces seem to be conspiring against the diamond industry these days, and if mining stocks are any indication, the wider market takes a pessimistic view of its prospects. But as independent analyst Paul Zimnisky explains in his latest analysis, "Don’t Give Up on the Diamond Industry Just Yet", to take this attitude as a foregone conclusion is to underestimate the resilience of the industry as a whole and overlook not only the enduring intangible value of diamonds, but also the impact of what may well become their much more tangible rarity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre today welcomed the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio. The presidential delegation’s visit emphasizes the importance of trade relations between Sierra Leone and the Antwerp diamond industry, and falls within the framework of President Bio's efforts to take his country in a "new direction", which includes a strong focus on revising key legislation pertaining to the mining sector to ensure a win-win situation for the government, mining companies and local communities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite its annual revenue rising 25% and its profit from mining activities up 33% to US$205.1 million, the miner recorded significant losses ($203.1 million) and Petra Diamonds' CEO Johan Dippenaar will step down after 12 years at the helm following a slump in the company’s share price this year. The miner was forced to raise $170m in capital from shareholders last May to shore up its heavy debt, which has run up over the $600 million mark and accelerated the company’s share price fall this calendar year, which is down by 43%.
PJSC Severalmaz, a subsidiary of ALROSA Group, has planted over 80,000 pine tree saplings at the Soyansky State Bio-Reserve as part of their effort to revegetate 40.6 hectares of forest in the Arkhangelsk Oblast region in northwestern Russia. This revegetation effort was an obligatory follow-up after processing the sand and gravel extracted from the site that had been leased to Severalmaz by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Timber Complex of the Arkhangelsk Oblast.
The 7th Conference on the Geology of Diamond Deposits in Brazil will be held in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil from November 4-7, 2018. "It is particularly appropriate that the 7th Conference will be hosted in the State of Bahia" the organizers write, "which is the largest producer of diamonds in Brazil, and the location of the first commercial diamond mine in Brazil which was developed on a kimberlite deposit, the primary source rock of diamond. This year’s conference also marks the 25th year since the first conference, which was held in the State of Mato Grosso in 1993."
Petra Diamonds late last week announced that it had sold its stake in the Kimberley Ekapa Mining joint venture (KEM JV) to its namesake partner, Ekapa Mining, for about 300 million rand ($22 million).
Russian diamond miner ALROSA has decided to suspend the construction of deep mine levels at its International underground mine due to health and safety concerns, which will impact the mine's output plan, though the miner's 2018 production plan remains unchanged.
PJSC Severalmaz, a Russian diamond mining company and subsidiary of ALROSA, has tested unmanned aerial vehicles - a quadcopter and an airplane - for mine surveying of land objects of Lomonosov Mining and Processing Division. According to ALROSA, preliminary estimates show that the use of unmanned technologies provides high survey accuracy, increases the speed and safety of work. Using a Geoscan 401 Geodesy quadcopter and Geoscan 101 Geodesy aircraft, Severalmaz surveyed the open-pit mine, dump, ore storages and other bulked land objects.
Eira Thomas was recently appointed as the new CEO of Lucara Diamond Corp., replacing William Lamb, who oversaw the successful creation of the world-class Karowe mine in Botswana. Thomas brings more than 25 years’ experience in the mining industry to Lucara, including 16 years with Aber Diamond Corporation (now Dominion Diamond), where she played an integral role as a geologist at its initial discovery and ultimately became Director of the Board.
ALROSA, the world’s largest diamond producer, summarized the results of the final stage of the competition for projects on the resumption of mining works at the Mir pipe deposit. The competition committee awarded two projects with the second place. Another project took the third place. The technical solutions proposed will be used during the development of the mining works resumption concept.
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.
Sergey Ivanov (37), the young CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the world’s largest diamond miner, ALROSA, was in Antwerp for the company’s annual meeting with its 56 long-term clients. ALROSA is a traditional company in a traditional business, and still evokes the reputation of a state-owned giant despite the partial privatization (currently 34%) of the company a few years ago.
Zimbabwe appears ready to consider applications from companies mining platinum or diamonds to be exempt from a requirement that they be at least 51% owned by black citizens of the country, provided they can show they have a plan to achieve compliance, mines minister Winston Chitando said in an interview in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Namdeb Holdings, a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers Group, today (Feb. 9) announced it is to seek a buyer for its Elizabeth Bay mine to secure its long-term future, according to a De Beers Group release. The mine was commissioned in 1991 and is located along the south-western coast of Namibia near the town Lüderitz. It employs around 160 people and produced around 200,000 carats in 2017.
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.
De Beers Canada has notified the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board it intends to file a final closure and reclamation plan for its defunct Snap Lake diamond mine, writes CBC News from Canada. The process started out in 2015 as a care and maintenance operation to wait for a possible market rejuvenation or a buyer to come forward.
In a recent meeting concerning the 2018 budget, Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA said diamond production is planned at 36.6 million carats in 2018, representing an approximately 7% decline from the 39.3 million carats it is likely to produce this year.
Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published a wide-ranging article comprised of quick diamond-industry stats and trends: "2018 Global Diamond Industry Primer". Here he lays out the current situation and developments as we bring the 2017 diamond year to a close, and identifies what to look out for in the year ahead.
Diversified mining conglomerate Rio Tinto will expand its fleet of autonomous haul trucks at its world-class iron ore operations in the Pilbara by more than 50 percent by 2019 after signing agreements with leading manufacturers Caterpillar Inc. and Komatsu Ltd. to convert traditional trucks to autonomous vehicles, the company announced today. A total of 29 Komatsu haul trucks will be retrofitted with Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology starting next year.
Rapaport’s Sarah Jordan lists five common misconceptions about the diamond industry and lets industry experts explain the difference between myth and reality.
Myth: Customers are significantly at risk of buying a conflict diamond
Reality: The Kimberley Process alongside a multitude of legislation and self-regulation are a guarantee that 99.8% of diamonds are conflict-free.
In Gem Diamonds’ Half Year 2017 results, announced on 17 August 2017, shareholders were notified that an offer to acquire 100% of the Ghaghoo asset ("Ghaghoo") had been received and was being considered by the Board.
Discussions have not resulted in agreement between parties and this offer has been withdrawn, the company announced this morning.
Bain & Company, together with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), has published their seventh annual report on the global diamond industry, "The enduring story in a changing world", covering industry developments in 2016 and the first half of 2017 as well as the challenges the industry faces and how it is turning them into opportunities. Their report looks at key issues along the value chain, from rough-diamond production and sales, to midstream performance and global diamond jewelry demand in major markets.
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.
"ALROSA will play its role in diamond mining in Zimbabwe", said Zimbabwe's ambassador to the Russian Federation, Mike Nicholas Sango, to TASS news agency. Following Robert Mugabe's resignation and the transfer of power to former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, countries and natural resource companies will be testing the waters of the new administration, and Russia's ALROSA will apparently be one of them.