Mountain Province Diamonds turned in a very strong production performance at the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada, particularly in the fourth quarter, but a 15% decline in the average price achieved for their rough diamonds over the course of 2019 dragged their proceeds down. A slightly lower recovery grade also curtailed their carat recovery, which ended just below 2018 levels.
Rio Tinto has lowered its 2020 rough diamond production guidance to 12-14 million carats, down from 17 million carats produced in 2019 and 18.4 million carats the year prior.
De Beers is moving to expand exploration at its Gahcho Kué diamond mine, while Dominion Diamond Mines (DDM) is looking to expand a major exploration program east of Ekati mine, according to several Canadian news outlets. In a Dec. 31 submission to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, De Beers indicated it would be exploring 11 targets of interest by late February.
Mountain Province Diamonds reached the upper level of its output guidance in 2019 and sees opporunity for further growth in 2020. President and CEO Stuart Brown confirmed in a Dec. 19 statement that the miner will achieve the upper end of their production guidance of 6.7 – 6.8 million carats recovered on a 100% basis. Mountain Province Diamonds is a 49% participant with De Beers Group in the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories.
Canadian junior miner Star Diamond Corporation on November 15 announced it has received notice from Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (RTEC) indicating that it intends to exercise all four options under an Option to Joint Venture Agreement entered into in 2017. According to diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky, writing on Twitter, this includes Rio Tinto committing to spend C$70.5M (US$53M) to take Star-Orion South through feasibility for a 60% stake in the project. Star Diamonds owns the 60 Fort a la Corne kimberlites in central Saskatchewan.
Stornoway Diamond Corp. is a Canadian diamond exploration and producing company that developed the Renard mine over the course of two decades from a grassroots exploration project to a world-class diamond mine - the first in Québec. The massive project, built for $774 million - under their budget of $811 million - sparked enthusiasm across the diamond industry, which has seen few new mines open in recent years. Stornoway delivered the first ore to the processing plant in July 2016 and achieved full production in the summer of 2017.
Rio Tinto saw its diamond output fall in the third quarter of 2019 (three months ended September 30, 2019), citing lower carat grades from its Argyle mine in Australia and lower ore availability at the Diavik mine in Canada. The multinational mining group reported a 7% decline in diamonds produced during the quarter and a 9% drop over the first nine months of the year.
De Beers' rough diamond production in the third quarter of 2019 declined by 14 percent to 7.4 million carats, with significant reductions in South Africa and Canada which the miner says was planned. "In addition," they note, "we continue to produce to weaker market demand due to macro-economic uncertainty as well as continued midstream weakness." For the year to date, De Beers ouput is lagging 12% behind the first nine months of 2018, falling to 23 million carats from 26 million carats. Q3 output fell 3% from Q2 output.
A 27% decline in the average price per carat led to an equivalent decline in total Q3 proceeds for Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds, as the company sold about the same number of carats as in Q3 last year.
Diamonds is a business we like a lot. It’s a very high-margin business in line with our strategy of value over volume. It makes a lot of sense. We want to stay in the diamonds business, so we have committed 20% of our exploration budget to diamonds. We are also exploring for mergers and acquisitions.
- Arnaud Soirat, Rio’s chief executive for copper and diamonds, speaking to Bloomberg
Struggling Canadian miner Stornoway Diamonds, which has been particulary impacted by the 2019 market downturn, has announced two moves that should provide the financing and liquidity required to ensure the Renard Mine will continue to operate while the company undergoes restructuring. Stornoway Diamonds Corp. and its subsidiaries Stornoway Diamonds (Canada) Inc. (SDCI), Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. (Ashton), and FCDC Sales and Marketing Inc.
Two major Canadian diamond miners, Stornoway and Mountain Province, have been put on notice and will be facing a delisting review from respectively the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, as an extremely soft market has punished their recent results and their share prices have plummeted.
The De Beers Group’s carbon-capture research at the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada has received a funding boost following the award of a C$675,000 (US$514,000) grant from Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds has reported a 10% decline in output during Q2 from the Gahcho Kué diamond mine located in Canada's Northwest Territories. While Mountain Province mined 10.8 million tonnes of material during the quarter, 6% higher than the same period last year, a 9% decline in the recovered grade kept their overall recoveries down, but still ahead of plan. The miner produced 847,772 carats in Q2 (49% of the ouput shared with De Beers Canada). Diamond sales remained stable, particularly in the larger sizes (5 carats and up).
Rio Tinto's rough diamond production fell by 10% during the first half of the year despite improved output in the second quarter compared to the first three months of 2019. Production at its Argyle mine in Australia actually increased by 18% compared to Q1, but the nearly 3.3 million carats recovered in Q2 was 5% fewer than during the same period in 2018 due to lower recovered grade, partially offset by stronger mining rates. Output at the Argyle mine reached 6.1 million carats in H1 2019, a 13% decline compared to the same period last year.
Canadian miner Stornoway Diamonds delivered a strong performance in rough sales as well as production in Q2 2019, but ever-softening diamond prices in a market that continues to be challenging kept proceeds level with those achieved in Q1.
Global rough-diamond production fell to 148.2 million carats in 2018, a decline of less than 2% from the 150.9 million carats recovered in 2017; however, a 4% rise in the average price per carat led to a 2.4% increase in the value of the world's rough diamond production, according to Kimberley Process (KP) data. Global diamond production was worth $14.47 billion in 2018 compared to $14.12 billion in 2017, as the average price per carat rose to $97.5 from $93.6.
Rio Tinto Exploration Canada (RTEC) has completed the drilling of the first bulk sample hole on Star Diamond Corp.'s Star Kimberlite, employing a massive 'trench cutter sampling rig'. The first of 10 bulk sampling holes has been drilled to a depth of over 228 metres and intercepted a total of 117 metres of kimberlite on Star Diamond’s Star-Orion South site at Fort à la Corne.
Stornoway Diamond Corp., 100% owner and operater of the Renard Diamond Mine in Quebec which began commercial production in January 2017, is in dire financial straits and is looking for new investment in, if not a buyer for the mine and its assets. Stornoway has endured some very turbulent times over the past year and a half, seeing its losses mount as a result of operational difficulties and a highly unfavorable market for its diamonds, and will need to restructure if it is going to continue operations.
A new discovery has the potential to change how we look for diamonds in Canada and around the world, write Katie Willis from the University of Alberta, Canada. This comes as potentially big news to an industry that has discovered scant few significant and economic diamond deposits in the past decade.
Stornoway Diamond Corporation saw its losses widen in Q1 2019 as the miner faced "continued downward pressure on the market price for rough diamonds." The Canadian miner reported a net loss of C$48.4 million (US$36 million) in the first quarter of 2019, in comparison to a net loss of C$11.0 million (US$8.2 million) in the first quarter of 2018. The latest results follow a year in which Stornoway encountered a host of difficulties on its way to a US$246.8 million (CA$329.4 million) loss, substantially widening the loss of US$85.6 million (CA$114.2 million) recorded the year prior.
De Beers Group reported a diamond production decline in the first quarter of 2019 driven by a 65 reduction in South Africa as the Venetia mine as it approaches the transition from open pit to underground mining. Venetia yielded only 0.4 million carats due to lower mined volumes, while the Voorspoed mine was placed onto care and maintenance in Q4 2018 in preparation for closure. De Beers' production guidance for 2019 remains unchanged at 31 - 33 million carats, subject to trading conditions.
Mountain Provice Diamonds recorded a 3% year-over-year drop in recovered carats at the Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine during Q1 2019 despite a 11% increase in tonnes of ore treated, as the average recovered grade slipped by 13%. Rough diamond sales also fell by 12% as a result of a 28% decline in the average price per carat sold, offsetting the larger volume it marketed through Bonas tender house in Antwerp.
Canadian miner Stornoway Diamond Co. rebounded from a difficult final quarter of 2018 to post significant increases in total carats sold, leading to a big rise in gross proceeds. Stornoway in Q1 2019 sold 429,506 total carats at two tender sales a Bonas tender house in Antwerp, earning about US$35 million (C$47 million) at an average price of US$83 per carat (C$110 per carat).
Canadian diamond miner Stornoway encountered a host of difficulties in 2018 on its way to a US$246.8 million (CA$329.4 million) loss, substantially widening the loss of US$85.6 million (CA$114.2 million) recorded last year. The miner's challenges included delays in the ramp-up of the Renard 2 underground mine, the processing of low-grade stockpiles during the transition from open pit to underground operations and weak diamond prices.
Arctic Star Exploration Corp. of Vancouver has begun this year’s exploration program at the 40% owned Diagras joint venture diamond property in Lac des Gras, Northwest Territories, Canada (NWT). Margaret Lake Diamonds holds the remaining 60% and is the project operator. Preliminary results have been "encouraging."
The Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine, a joint venture between Mountain Province (49%) and De Beers Canada (51%), exceeded expectations in its first full year of commercial production, setting records for carat recoveries and sales despite a challenging end of year 2018. Mountain Province reports that the Gahcho Kué Mine exceeded its upper end of FY2018 guidance of tonnes treated, processing 3,194,000 tonnes (2017: 2,775,000 tonnes) and recovered 17% more carats than last year, settting a new high for the mine of 6,937,000 carats (2017: 5,934,000 carats) with a 4% increase in the average grade.
Diamcor Mining, a publicly traded junior diamond mining company based in Canada and operating in South Africa, sold 1,220 carats of rough diamonds recovered from ongoing processing exercises performed at its Krone-Endora at Venetia Project in South Africa for US$376,000, achieving an average sale price of $308.06 per carat. This represents an increase of 76% compared to the company’s average price per carat of $176.16 realised on all rough diamonds tendered and sold to date, and included the sale of a 44 carat gem quality rough diamond.
Canadian junior miner Star Diamond Corp. has reported "unusually high proportions of Type IIa diamonds" at its kimberlite diamond project in Saskatchewan, and investors did not fail to notice, sending its shares soaring almost 15% on the news, closing at 24 Canadian cents.
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.
RJK Explorations, a mineral exploration company with a focus on diamonds, gold, silver and base metals with its resource properties located in Ontario and Newfoundland, is planning to search for the source of the 800-Carat Nipissing Yellow Diamond in southeastern Ontario. The Bishop Nipissing Diamond Project came about when RJK entered into a property option agreement with Anthony “Tony” Bishop for the Bishop Nipissing Diamond Properties, exploration properties totaling 2,090 hectares encompassing at least 18 potential kimberlite pipes, according to a press release.
Mountain Province Diamonds will include in its upcoming, February rough diamond sale an exceptional quality, 60.59-carat, fancy vivid yellow rough diamond. The diamond was recovered at the Company’s Gahcho Kué Mine in October 2018. Also included in the sale will be more than 50 other large, high-quality white and fancy-colored rough diamonds. Viewings will take place between February 11 to 21 at the offices of Bonas-Couzyn in Antwerp, Belgium.
The De Beers Group has announced its production results for 2018 and Q4 2018, reporting that annual production increased by nearly 7% to 35.3 million carats, while a 4% decline in carats sold was offset by a higher average price per carat, leading revenues to rise 2% to $5.4 billion. They said the rise is production was due to a planned increase at the Orapa mine, although the group's output was in the lower half of the production guidance range of 35 to 36 million carats.
Rio Tinto's diamond production for the year fell by 15% to 18.4 million carats from 21.6 million carats in 2017, as production at the Argyle mine in 2018 fell by 18% compared to 2017, when production was enhanced by the processing of higher grade alluvial tailings. The fourth quarter in particular put a drag on the annual figures, as the 3.2 million carats unearthed represented a 48% decline from Q4 2017 - albeit against a high base of 7.21 million carats - and a 16% decline from last quarter.
Stornoway Diamonds got its production levels back on track in Q4 2018 after "challenging" year of ramping up their underground operations at the Renard mine in Canada, giving them the confidence to raise their production guidance for 2019. Production, sales and revenue all declined significantly from the miner's 2017 levels, but they recorded a 24% increase in the average price per carat earned despite a market downturn in the second half of 2018.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds reported a 17% jump in carat production for the full year 2018, with sales rising 30% to $US240 million. The company's 49% share of production from the Gahcho Kué mine it shares with De Beers totalled 3.4 million carats, (full GK production 6.9 million carats) compared to the 2.9 million carats (5.9m) recovered last year, following from a 25% rise in total tonnes mined (ore & waste) and a 15% rise in total tonnes treated.
Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines have announced the recovery of the largest known gem-quality diamond ever found in North America. The 552-carat yellow diamond was unearthed in October at the Diavik Diamond Mine, approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Measuring around 3cm by 5.5cm, it is said to be about the size of a chicken egg. "A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America and Canadamark diamonds overall," the companies said in a statement.
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.
Mountain Province Diamonds says that it expects the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada, a JV with De Beers (51% owner), to surpass its 2018 production guidance of 6.6 million carats. Output is then expected rise to a range of 6.6 million to 6.9 million carats in each of 2019 and 2020, followed by 6.8 million to 7.1 million carats in 2021. The miner says the production guidance over the three-year period 2019 to 2021 is evidence of a sustainable and smooth mining rate as the mine performance maintains a steady state.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds has sold US$17.7 million (CDN$23.3 million) from 245,751 carats at an average realized value of US$72 per carat at its ninth rough diamond which closed on November 14, 2018. The total proceeds from the sale were the lowest of the year thus far, but the average price per carat was the highest since the $85 per carat earned at the company's fifth sale of the year in June.