De Beers decreased its rough diamond production in Q2 by 14% to 7.7 million carats and revised its full-year guidance downwards to ~31 million carats in response to a backlog of polished diamond inventories in the midstream and weaker trading conditions. The overall decline was mainly driven by reductions in Botswana (Debswana) and South Africa (DBCM). The miner's H1 production fell by 11% to 15.5 million carats from 17.5 million carats during the same period a year ago.
De Beers has renamed its International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR); it will henceforth be known as De Beers Group Industry Services (DBGIS). Based in London Maidenhead), Antwerp and Surat, DBGIS offers diamond grading, testing to verify diamonds and identify synthetics and simulants, detection instruments developed by De Beers Group Technology and education services provided by De Beers Group Institute of Diamonds. The services thus remain the same as before.
De Beers' rough diamond sales at Cycle 5 in June were (provisionally) $390 million, making sight number five of 2019 the lowest-earning sight of the year to date, the smallest since the October 2017 sight ($370 million, Cycle 8) and the lowest for a June sale since the miner started releasing monthly sales data in 2016. June is not typically a slow month for rough diamond sales. Cycle 5 sales from 2016-2018 averaged $555 million, or 30% more than in 2019.
“I’m actually really excited about it. I think it was a very positive development for the industry. It clearly serves to differentiate the two markets. The synthetic diamond market is not the same as the natural diamond market and they can co-exist ... there’s no store of value in a synthetic diamond. Rather, synthetic diamonds are filling a niche around fashion jewellery and we see it almost as an entry level opportunity for consumers. That’s how we see synthetics and natural diamonds playing together in this market."
Mountain Province Diamonds has discovered a new kimberlite at its Gahcho Kué Joint Venture (GKJV) leases, the company announced today in a press release. The Wilson kimberlite - named after Alice Evelyn Wilson (1881-1964), who is officially recognized as Canada's first female geologist - is located roughly 200 meters east of the Tuzo kimberlite and was discovered during drill testing of geophysical and geological anomalies in the area.
An annual tradition, industry veterans Chaim Even-Zohar and Pranay Narvekar present the 2018 iteration of The Tacy Diamond Pipeline, with an in-depth look at the impact that the rise and acceptance of laboratory-grown diamonds has had on the industry this past year.
Is the goal of Lightbox to lower the price of lab-growns?
Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky is one of the greatest diamond cutters of all time. His many accomplishments include the fashioning of the priceless, 273.85-carat Centenary Diamond, cut from a 599.19-carat rough stone, which is still the largest D Flawless diamond in history, and the Golden Jubilee Diamond, the largest faceted diamond in the world at 546 carats. Sir Tolkowsky - known as Gabi - is also renowned for creating the “Flower Cuts” for De Beers, which accentuate the brilliance of typically lower-quality and lower-color stones with their unconventional angles and facets.
Tracr™, the end-to-end diamond traceability platform being developed by De Beers Group in collaboration with the diamond industry, has launched an online resource called the Tracr Community to prepare for the Tracr Beta Platform which will be launched over the summer. The Tracr Community aims to foster the education and collaboration of industry participants, enabling them to share information and tools. it will also serve as a knowledge base for data standards, technical readiness and process best practices that will allow for seamless integration with the Tracr platform.
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.
De Beers' rough diamond sales in May were (provisionally) $415 million, making sight number four of 2019 the lowest-earning sight of the year to date, the smallest since the October 2017 sight ($370 million, Cycle 8) and the lowest for a May sale since the miner first released sales data in 2016. The $415 million in reported sales represents a 25% decline from sales in Cycle 4 2018 ($554 million). The company cited macroeconomic challenges and a seasonal decline in demand for rough diamonds to manufacture as weighing down sales at the sight.
Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers Group, have approved the construction of the world’s first ever custom-built diamond recovery vessel. The new vessel is expected to cost US$468 million (N$7 billion) and represents the largest ever single investment in the marine diamond industry. The ship will become the seventh vessel in the Debmarine Namibia fleet and is scheduled to commence operations in 2022.
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.
De Beers Group has announced it is expanding its pilot project in Sierra Leone called GemFair, an innovative project to trace and sell ethically-sourced artisanal and small-scale mined (ASM) diamonds. The development of a toolkit that can be used in the field should help to create a secure and transparent route to market, a genuine sore spot for ASM diamonds.
De Beers Group announced last week that Nancy Liu will become the new Forevermark CEO, stepping up from her current role as COO and taking over the day to day responsibility for the leading diamond brand. Stephen Lussier, Executive Vice-President of Consumer & Brands for De Beers Group, will continue to oversee the strategic role Forevermark plays within the Group’s brand portfolio as Forevermark Chairman. Lussier has been the brand’s CEO since 2009.
De Beers' third sight of 2018 (Cycle 3) was easily its largest of the year thus far, provisionally realizing $575 million in rough diamond sales, a figure the miner has not reached since their Cycle 5 sale in June 2018. "As we move into the second quarter of the year, we saw a continuation of stable demand for our rough diamonds during the third cycle of 2019," commented Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group. De Beers' sales in Cycle 3 was 16% higher than the $496 million earned in Cycle 2, and 10% more than the $524 million in Cycle 3 2018.
Botswana’s GDP per person is one of the top three in Africa and it’s off the back of diamond mining. There is no commodity in the world that means as much to a group of people in terms of lifting them out of poverty than diamonds in Botswana. In terms of revenue and the benefits to the people of Botswana, it can’t be understated. From the President to people living on the ground, they understand the importance of diamonds and the contribution to society.
- Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani, on the social benefit of diamond mining
Mining in Africa is at the core of our business, just as it always has been, and just as it will be in future ... De Beers is and will remain a natural diamond business.
- De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver discusses Africa portfolio, exploration, technology and laboratory-grown diamonds.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which investigates allegations of deceptive advertising, sent eight letters to jewelry marketers warning them that some of their online advertisements of jewelry made with simulated or laboratory-created diamonds may deceive consumers, in violation of the FTC Act. The organization warned that failure to follow the Guides may result in enforcement actions if the FTC determines the companies engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
De Beers Group announced yesterday it would start providing enhanced transparency regarding diamonds purchased from its Sight sales by introducing a “diamonds from DTC” (DTC = Diamond Trading Company) source of origin claim. Diamonds from the DTC come from mines and recovery areas in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. The idea is to support the diamond trade by providing a factual statement about provenance that Sightholders and Accredited Buyers can use for diamonds purchased from Sights.
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.
The Debswana Diamond Company (Debswana), a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers Group, has today (March 18, 2019) announced the commencement of the Cut-9 project to extend the life of Jwaneng Mine, one of the world’s most valuable diamond mines. The project will extend the life of Jwaneng Mine to 2035, and is expected to yield an estimated 53 million carats of rough diamonds from 44 million tonnes of treated material. It is called Cut-9 because it is the ninth cut, or expansion, of the mine.
There is no fundamental change in the small diamond segment. The slowdown in the smaller sizes during the second half of last year is mainly cyclical – it is driven primarily by demand-supply dynamics. It is a misconception that there is any fundamental change in consumer behavior. The prices are coming down to where they should be, and this is mainly because retailers have realized how large the margins of LGD manufacturers have been. They are now understanding the pricing dynamics for this category and are asking their suppliers why they are charging so much.
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) and Signet Jewelers have published the first results of their ASSURE Program to independently and objectively test the performance of laboratory-grown diamond detectors (Diamond Verification Instruments). The program intends to eventually test and identify each machine on the market concerning how well they detected or referred man-made stones, including the rate at which they gave false positives.
De Beers sold $490 million worth of rough diamonds in Cycle 2 2019, holding steady at just $10 million less than their January sale but at a lower level than last year. The miner's sales fell 13% compared to the $563 million sold at their second sight last year, and combined sales for the first two sights of the year have fallen by 20% compared to 2018.
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.
De Beers reported a 4% rise in total revenue for FY 2018, reaching $6.1 billion, but its earnings slid by 13% to $1.25 billion driven by expenditures such as the $87 million acquisition of Peregrine Diamonds and the launch of Lightbox Jewelry. Rough diamond sales rose by 4% to $5.4 billion (2017: $5.2 billion), driven by improved overall consumer demand for diamond jewelry and a 1% increase in the average rough diamond price index.
The state of the diamond mining industry as 2019 enters full swing is concerning to many throughout the trade. The fall in prices of small, lower-quality diamonds, a staple of many miners, had participants at the Africa Mining Indaba last week concerned about the sustainability of their operations if the market does not correct this year, with some even concerned about their survival.
Russia's Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond miner, could not escape the current trend on the rough diamond market at the start of 2019, as its rough diamond sales plunged by 44% to $278 million from $499 million in January 2018. This is in sharp contrast to December sales, however, when rough sales increased by 46% over the previous year. Polished-diamond sales in January were $3.4 million, bringing total sales for the month to $281.5 million.
De Beers' first sight of the year provided no indication that the sluggishness of the market for lower value rough is ready to subside. The January sight is typically one of the largest of the year, as manufacturers restock after the Christmas season in preparation for the holidays ahead, including Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day. De Beers rough sales in Cycle 1, however, were much lower than the two previous starts to the year.
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.
De Beers reversed a four-month trend of declining rough diamond sales at the final sight of 2018, as the miner sold $540 million of rough goods in its December cycle. The company attributed the increase in sales to the restarting of Indian manufacturing units after the Diwali holiday, when factories close for several weeks, and the spike in demand precipitated by the crucial holiday season and in anticipation of the need for replenished stocks in January.
De Beers' parent company Anglo American has announced a slight rise in its guidance for diamond output this year to 35-36 million carats (previously 34-36 million carats), marking a rise from the 33.5 million carats recovered in 2017. They estimate a reduction in 2019 volumes down to 31-33 million carats due to declining open pit production at the Venetia mine in South Africa as it transitions underground, and the Victor mine in Canada reaching its end-of-mine-life.
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.
Independent diamond industry analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky, proprietor of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, takes an in-depth look at developments in the laboratory-grown diamond market in his latest contribution to the discussion, "2018: The Year of the Lab-created Diamond". Here he focuses on the impact (or current lack thereof) that De Beers launch of its Lightbox lab-grown diamond line (announced late May 2018, first available late September 2018) has had on the pricing of laboratory-grown goods.
Discussions between the Government of Botswana and De Beers Group are already underway as the long-standing partners look to strike a new deal. The current 10-year agreement for the sorting, valuing and sales of Debswana’s diamond production (Debswana is a 50/50 mining joint venture between Botswana and De Beers) is set to expire at the end of 2020. Botswana is reportedly pushing for a larger stake in its "new marriage" with De Beers ahead of the negotiations for the next sales agreement, writes The Southern Times.
Riding the current wave of depressed rough diamond sales throughout the industry in recent months, De Beers' ninth sale of 2018 earned (provisionally) $440 million, the miner's lowest earnings in a sales cycle since October 2017. Soft demand from India has been the predominant factor in the decline of rough sales - particularly of smaller goods - across the industry.
Several sources, including Bloomberg and Rapaport, have reported that De Beers has slashed its prices on lower-quality diamonds at its latest sight this week, with the discounts ranging from high-single digits to as much as 10%. Difficult trading conditions have been widely reported in the rough diamond market in recent months, although the market for higher-quality and larger goods has remained strong with firm pricing in all categories.
Canadian miner Mountain Province's production and sales of rough diamonds from the Gahcho Kué mine underwhelmed in the third quarter of 2018, as production was on the downside of flat during the quarter, while sales increased against a low comparison point in 2017 and the cost of production rose. Sales increased by 15% to US$57 million (C$75 million) at an average price of US$73 per carat, but net income dropped by 37% to US$13 million (C$17.5m) from US$21million (C$16m).