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.
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.
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.
Summing up the main results of its ecological programs and events for 2017, Russia's ALROSA, the largest diamond company in the world, said it allocated $75 million (RUB 4.4 billion) for environmental programs last year alone. These funds allowed the miner to implement projects of great importance to ALROSA and the regions and to significantly increase monitoring over the state of the environment. In 2018 financing for environmental activities will increase up to approximately US$85 million (RUB 5.3 billion).
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.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) has suffered a major blow after the High Court ordered it to immediately shut down its mining operations amid reports its activities do not meet Environmental Management Authority (EMA) regulations, writes The Zimbabwe News Live. This decision comes as part of an ongoing investigation in to the Marange alluvial diamonds operations, with the Court ordering the state-owned company to stop diamond mining in Chiadzwa with immediate effect until it has been granted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate.
Diamond expert, industrialist and industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado takes an incisive look at the value proposition of synthetic diamonds, taking their producers and marketers to task on their main selling points. Reprinted in full with the permission of the author.
Tuesday morning, Tiffany & Co. posted a message on its Facebook page appealing directly to US President Donald Trump, stating, "Tiffany strongly supports keeping the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement" ... and their Facebook page promptly exploded to the tune of 20,000 reactions and over 2,200 shares to this point.
De Beers Group has announced it is leading a ground-breaking research project that aims to deliver carbon-neutral mining at some of the company’s operations in as few as five years. The company’s scientists are working in close collaboration with a team of internationally-renowned scientists to investigate the potential to store large volumes of carbon at its diamond mines through the mineralisation of kimberlite ‘tailings’, the material that remains after diamonds have been removed from the ore. De Beers Group will investigate the storage potential across its diamond mines globally.
Russia's diamond mining giant ALROSA, the world leader in diamond mining volumes, ranked among the top three in the first environmental responsibility rating of Russian mining companies. ALROSA placed in the top three of all sections of the rating: "Environmental Management/Policy", "Environmental Impact" and "Disclosure/Transparency", the company announced in a press release. According to the assessors, these ratings reflect leadership in terms of transparency and in terms of minimizing the negative impact on the environment.
De Beers is shelving immediate plans to study an expansion project, called Tango, at its Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario after failing to get support from a neighboring aboriginal community, writes Reuters.
Rio Tinto has announced it will relinquish its interest in the Bunder diamond project in India "due to commercial considerations" and will gift it to the Government of Madhya Pradesh. The move is not entirely unexpected, as Rio Tinto announced back in August 2016 it would not proceed with the development of Bunder and would be seeking to close all project infrastructure.
Sustainability has entered the mainstream in a signficant way, with young companies often making it a prime selling-point while well-known retailers, consumer products giants, and tech firms cater to consumers who increasingly care about sustainability.
As first announced last February, De Beers is moving ahead with its plans to flood the underground workings of Snap Lake Mine as part of its extended care and maintenance program for the mine in Canada's Nortwest Territories, which began in December 2015.
A Canadian environmental group is taking diamond giant De Beers to court over their alleged failure to provide a full report on the mercury levels at their Victor diamond mine in Northern Ontario. Since mining could trigger mercury pollution, Ontario’s government requires De Beers to self-monitor and report on the mercury levels found in creeks near the mine.
De Beers' Tango Extension Project a proposed open pit diamond mine being explored as a way of extending the life of Victor Mine, located in the James Bay Lowlands of northern Ontario, approximately 90 km west of the coastal community of Attawapiskat First Nation. They are undertaking engineering studies and pursuing environmental approvals for the development of this mine, supported by existing Victor Mine infrastructure, and will be consulting with local communities and First Nations as part of that process.
CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has published the first of the CIBJO commissions' Special Reports ahead of the body's 2016 Congress to be held in Yerevan, Armenia, in October. Prepared by the CIBJO Marketing & Education Commission, headed by Jonathan Kendall of De Beers, the report provides an update about the organization's Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative, which was launched in 2012 to help businesses in the industry understand and reduce their environmental impact.
Rio Tinto on Friday decided to close its diamond mine project in Madhya Pradesh after being asked to explore the possibility of underground mining and wait until a river linking project was completed. The project had faced a series of environmental issues. Wildlife groups said the country’s first private diamond mining project would severely damage the wildlife corridor between the Panna Tiger Reserve and the Navardehi Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Indian government has deferred granting permission to mining giant Rio Tinto to open a diamond mine in Madhya Pradesh, saying the plan endangers a dense forest area and a tiger corridor between the Panna Tiger Reserve and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, writes Live Mint. The project for forest clearance has been pending since 2014. Rio Tinto says there are 53.7 million tons of diamondiferous Kimberlite ore at the site, containing an estimated 34.2 million carats of diamon
The Minister of Lands of the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has accepted the recommendations of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB), that Dominion Diamond's Jay Project be approved, subject to the measures described in the Report of Environmental Assessment. At issue were the potential environmental impacts of Dominion Diamond’s proposed expansion of the Ekati diamond mine in Yellowknife, in Canada's NWT.
Brazilian prosecutors filed a $44 billion civil suit against two of the world's largest mining companies, Vale SA, BHP Billiton Ltd. and their iron-ore venture over a November dam rupture which has been called, “the worst environmental disaster in Brazil’s history”, killing as many as 19 people and causing severe environmental damage.
A De Beers proposal to let its closed Snap Lake diamond mine flood as part of its care and maintenance status has run into opposition from a local community in the Northwest Territories in Canada. The miner suspended operations at the underground mine last December with the forecast loss of more than 400 jobs saying poor market conditions made the Snap Lake operation unviable and it could remain closed for three years or more.
On the one hand, a $3 billion diamond mining project, on the other, one of the world’s most beautiful wild beasts and nearly 1,000 hectares of pristine forest and other exotic flora and fauna face destruction. A decision on whether to allow Rio Tinto to explore for diamonds under the Chhatarpur forests in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has been boiling for the past decade, but now could be approaching resolution with the government of India to decide its fate.
It sounds much more dramatic than it is, but CBC News reports that De Beers Canada may flood the underground workings of its shuttered Snap Lake diamond mine 220 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. The company, which is currently suspending operations at the unprofitable mine as a step towards placing the site on care and maintenance, said it will file an extended care and maintenance plan, which will include flooding the mine's underground tunnels (which come with inherent and costly water problems).
The Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the environmental, social and health-impact assessment (ESHIA) for Stellar Diamonds' Tongo Dyke-1 project in Sierra Leone, writes Engineering News. “The approval of our ESHIA marks another key step in the process of obtaining the mining and environmental licences that will allow for the development of the 1.45-million-carat diamond resource at Tongo Dyke-1, one of four kimberlite dykes at our Tongo project.
De Beers subsidiairy Forevermark hosted a Botswana Rhino Rescue Fundraiser, attended by high dignitaries and Hollywood actress Uma Thurman, in support of the Tlhokomela Trust, a newly established organisation preserving wildlife in the Jwana and Orapa game parks, close to Debswana’s major diamond mines in the central towns of Jwaneng and Orapa. De Beers has been involved in projects regarding the conservation of natural resources in Botswana since the 1970s. For every acre of land used for mining by De Beers, five acres are dedicated to the conservation of nature.
The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (“MVEIRB”) has completed its Report of Environmental Assessment for Dominion Diamond's Jay Project in the Northwest Territories and has recommended that it be approved, subject to the measures described in the Report. The Jay Project is an expansion of the Ekati Diamond Mine. The Report has been sent to the Minister of Lands, the Honourable Robert C. McLeod.
Reuters reports that unseasonably warm weather in Canada's Northwest Territories this year is threatening - or at least delaying the formation of - the vital, and world's busiest ice road. Ice formation has been slow on the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road, named after the first and last of hundreds of lakes on the route of a highway of ice built atop frozen lakes and tundra. The road serves as a supply lifeline to remote diamond mines, bustling with traffic for a couple of months before melting away in the spring.
De Beers Canada’s senior external and corporate affairs manager Tom Ormsby tells the Canadian Mining Journal (CMJ) that the recent report by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's (CPAWS) Wildlands League "is greatly misleading.” The report accuses De Beers Canada and its Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario of environmental offenses.
A new report released by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's (CPAWS) Wildlands League has alleged that neither De Beers nor the national government could monitor mercury risks from the Victor Diamond mine in northern Ontario. The study titled "Nothing to See Here" is the result of an investigation carried out by the environmental group for 18 months and calls for environmental monitoring of the mine. The investigation found failures in self-monitoring and increased concerns about entrusting the company to protect the environment in which it operates.
Despite a concerted effort to trim costs at all of its operations, Dominion Diamond Corporation says it still plans to start building a new pit at its Ekati diamond mine next year. The pit, called Jay, could help the mine stay in production until 2033. "It wouldn't surprise you to know that we are reviewing our cost structure, looking at all of our capital sustaining and development capital to make sure that we are only spending money we absolutely have to," said Dominion CEO Brendan Bell.
The city of Beijing just issued an air pollution red alert - the first time it has done so in history- as heavy smog blankets its skylines. Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde might have a solution: he is in midst of negotiations to deliver to Beijing a seven-metre high “Smog Free Tower” that he says is the world’s largest vacuum cleaner, but said “It's a very sensitive, political topic.” Roosegaarde first presented the tower as part of his “Smog Free Project” in September in Rotterdam.
The De Beers Group has announced it has placed its Snap Lake diamond mine on care and maintenance, with mining activities to cease immediately. The decision follows a review of the mine’s operation, particularly in light of current market conditions. De Beers will evaluate market conditions over the next year to determine the potential of the ore body as a viable mine. Work to suspend production at Snap Lake has begun, and is expected to last between one to nine months.
On November 5, two dams at an iron-ore mine owned by Samarco Mineração SA - a joint venture between two of the world's biggest mining companies, Australian BHP Billiton and Brazilian Vale SA - collapsed in Brazil. Almost 16 million gallons of toxic sludge escaped, sending a deluge of hazardous mud into a tiny town called Bento Rodrigues and starting the journey down the Rio Doce River. Bento Rodrigues was completely devastated, eleven people were killed with 12 more missing and presumed to be dead.
This has been called a "crucial week" for the future of Dominion Diamond's Ekati mine in Canada's NWT as it faces hearings initiated by an environmental watchdog about its proposed expansion of the mine - a project named the Jay pipe. "Dominion believes opening up Jay – by building a dyke, draining part of a lake and digging an open pit – will keep the mine open for an additional 10 years, to 2030," reports mining.com.
Fairtrade International has named Reflective Images Jewelry as the first Certified Fairtrade Gold American jeweler. The jewelry firm worked as the U.S. commercial liaison with Fairtrade International to launch the certification program while also introducing its own traceable and transparent sourcing practices in precious metal and gems. The move is the latest international expansion following its launch last October in Switzerland where approximately 70% of all gold refining takes place.
The CIBJO Congress that took place in Brazil in May is set to become the first-ever carbon neutral event in the jewelry industry, the global diamond, precious stones and jewelry industry body said. Environmental consulting company Carbon-Expert worked with CIBJO on its goal of carbon neutrality and has published a report on the event’s carbon footprint, including carbon gas emissions generated by the event and by participants’ preparation and travel.
On Aug. 5, an Environmental Protection Agency cleanup crew accidentally spilled three million gallons of toxic gold mine waste into Colorado’s Animas River, turning it orange and sparking a state of emergency in the local area. The EPA crews were investigating contamination at the Gold King Mine in Colorado, which has been closed since 1923. They accidentally breached a barrier, causing decades-old mine waste to flood into the Animas River. News reports say the orange-colored sludge has traveled as far as Utah and New Mexico.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in Zimbabwe has come under fire from Marange villagers who accused the state watchdog of doing nothing while Marange diamond miners were destroying the environment and polluting their water. Angry villagers blasted EMA for continuously fining companies in Marange for committing various environmental offences instead of closing down their operations. Villagers say the EMA was profiting from their suffering because it was not taking action against “environmental sabotage”.
Canada's federal government says the proposed expansion of the Northwest Territories' Ekati diamond mine doesn't need a second environmental review. That's good news for Dominion Diamond Corporation, which hopes to begin construction on the expansion in the second half of 2016, but it's not good news for the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA). The KIA wants the Nunavut review because the Jay project lies within the Lac de Gras watershed. All water from the watershed goes to the Coppermine River, a popular canoeing destination and source of drinking water and fish for the Inuit of Kugluktuk.