Professor Heiner Evanschitzky, Chair of Marketing at Aston University in Birmingham, says: “Amazon has had an incredible 20 years, and already has a legacy as one of the disruptive innovators that set the standard for online retailing and changed the face of the industry, as well as consumer shopping habits, forever.
The Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF), founded in 2007 to empower youth from diamond-producing countries and communities, has published the summer issue of newsletter highlighting it work in the diamond and jewelry industries (www.diamondempowerment.org).
Rough diamond are the biggest source of export revenue for the Central African Republic (CAR) even though it has been suspended from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme since May 2013, says the Enough Project, which placed a value of $39 million for its diamond trade in 2014 and almost $13 million for the January-April of this year.
The Comesa-EAC-SADC tripartite free trade area (TFTA) has officially been launched at a signing ceremony in Egypt, setting the stage for the establishment of a single market for the 26 African countries in the Eastern and Southern African region. It is hoped that the TFTA will boost intra-regional trade, which is estimated to be between 10 and 12% of total African trade, by creating a wider market, increasing investment flows, enhancing competitiveness and encouraging regional infrastructure development.
In what is probably a first for the diamond and jewelry industry, organizers of the Jewelry Industry Summit due to take place in New York next March are attempting to raise money for the event via crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The summit will address sustainability and responsible sourcing. The event’s fund-raising goal is $30,000; as of now $4,735 has been raised.
Abbey Chikane, the first chairman of the Kimberley Process, talks to Rough & Polished’s Mathew Nyaungwa about his prescription for diamond beneficiation in southern Africa. Chikane identifies five key issues to address for diamond beneficiation to succeed in southern Africa: a constant supply of rough, access to capital, expertise, technology and lowering the cost of production - energy in particular. He also spoke about the need for aggregation: "Beneficiation is not feasible without [a constant] supply of rough.
While peace gradually returns to the CAR, the struggle for the control of the mines has intensified in the provinces along familiar sectarian lines between the Muslim Seleka (which seized power in 2013 only to lose it and regress into indiscriminate violence) and the Christian anti-balaka militias. With both groups fighting to control the mines, mining is difficult to monitor and regulate, and is largely dominated by smuggling while the country is still excluded from the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme for rough diamonds.
Stellar Diamonds reports that it is delighted with its latest diamond auction of stones from Baoule in Guinea, which raised US$505,000 before costs. It took place through the eDiamond online auction platform and brings total sales for 2015 to US$922,000 - of which US$700,000 is derived from Baoulé. Six lots totalling 48.12 carats of +5 carat diamonds sold for US$3,510 per carat. Stellar's chief executive Karl Smithson said: "The presence of larger, high value stones and the stability in the rough diamond market has resulted in an average price of $156 per carat for the latest Baoulé parcel.
The projection is made by the annual African Economic Outlook report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program. Although the trend indicates African economies will return to closely tracking emerging Asian ones as the world’s fastest-growing regions, progress will be irregular and precarious, the report says. East Africa will expand by 5.6% and provide the main impetus for the continent’s expansion, while West African economies are expected to bounce back from the Ebola epidemic with 5% growth.
A new report by Global Witness and Amnesty International claims that more than three-quarters of U.S. publicly traded companies analyzed by human rights groups are failing to adequately check and disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals from Central Africa.
The report, Digging for Transparency, analyzes 100 conflict minerals reports filed by companies including Apple, Boeing and Tiffany & Co under the 2010 Dodd Frank Act (Section 1502), known as the conflict minerals law. The findings point to alarming gaps in U.S. corporate transparency.
A geologist has discovered a thorny, palmlike plant in Liberia that seems to grow only on top of kimberlite pipes—columns of volcanic rock hundreds of meters across that extend deep into Earth, and could be simple, powerful way of finding diamond-rich deposits. Miners have long known that particular plants can signal ore-bearing rocks, but the new plant, identified as Pandanus candelabrum, is the first indicator species for diamond-bearing kimberlite, says Stephen Haggerty, a researcher at Florida International University in Miami and the chief exploration officer of Youssef Diamon
The dream of southern African countries finally beneficiating their own minerals, and having their diamonds cut locally as opposed to in foreign countries such as Belgium, Israel and India, is coming ever closer to reality. The SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Harare approved the Regional Strategy and Roadmap for Industrialisation, whereby regional governments have agreed to find concrete ways to diversify trade, beneficiate their own minerals and create regional value chains.
The Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative has published its new Conflict Minerals Reporting Template. Established in 2008 by members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), the CFSI has grown into one of the largest resources for companies addressing conflict minerals issues in their supply chains.
Africa’s major diamond producing nations expressed unwillingness to compromise government revenue from rough diamond sales to support local manufacturers in the current weak market. "We are not willing to forego profits from diamond mining activities [to support polished diamond manufacturing]," said Jacob Thamage, Diamond Hub coordinator at Botswana's Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Ministry. Botswana and other countries have embarked on a program in the past decade to develop its beneficiation industry in an effort to diversify the economy’s reliance on diamond mining.
The explorer, which focuses its operations in West Africa, reported that it had recovered 5,087 carats of diamonds so at an average grade of 13.5 carats per hundred tones during trial mining at its 75%-owned Baoulé kimberlite pipe in Guinea. The firm said high-quality stones had been recovered, including diamonds weighing 12.6 carats and 10.0 carats.
Tanzania’s annual Arusha Gem Fair is a three-day event that brings together primary gemstone and mineral producers from Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar and Uganda in one forum, along with renowned industry leaders. Tanzania suspended exports of gemstones from 5 April to 3 May to ensure availability of sufficient goods to 'dedicated' buyers during the fair.
Seeking a compromise with foreign mining firms operating in the country, Zambia will set its mining royalties at 9% for both open-pit and underground mines. In January, the government said taxes for open pit mines would jump to 20% from 6% while taxes for underground mines would rise to 8% from 6% in a bid to encourage miners to open underground operations.
The gemstone miner posted a huge jump in its output of emerald and beryl from the Kagem mine in Zambia in which it has a 75% stake – up 175 percent on a year before to 9.9 million carats in its fiscal third quarter that ended on March 31.
Sub-Saharan Africa's growth will slow in 2015 to 4.0 percent from 4.5 percent in 2014, according to World Bank projections. This downturn largely reflects the fall in the prices of oil and other commodities that closely correlate with each other.
"The challenges that come with the end of the commodity super-cycle have also provided a window of opportunity to push ahead with the next wave of structural reforms and make Africa's growth more effective at reducing poverty.", Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa said.
Having finalised the procurement process for Kimberly Process Certificates this year, the government announced that the country’s mining sector will soon realise potential growth. A new entrant which would be mining diamonds at Dvokolwako mine is expected in about six months. The investor to be granted mining rights must be able to extract the diamonds, contribute to the surrounding community and also invest in processing the mineral locally. Most applicants are from South Africa.
Stellar Diamonds plc, a diamond company focused on West Africa, sold 4,414 carats of diamonds in Antwerp for gross revenues of $417,122. The sale included top-quality white stones, with a five- carat rough stone sold for $5,000 per carat. Stellar held back 1,617 carats from the sale due to low bid prices; they will be offered for sale at a later date. The company's next sale is planned for May.
The Jewelry Industry Summit - The Open Forum on Sustainability & Responsible Sourcing in the Jewelry Industry - says the summit is scheduled for August or Fall 2015, aimed "to provide an open discussion regarding challenges and opportunities in the jewelry industry and to foster better support for all sections of the supply chain." According to the website, the first Jewelry Industry Summit is set up by "a loose group" formed to develop and plan the summit, The Planning Committ
Following finalisation of the procurement process for Kimberly Process Certificates, Swaziland’s mining sector will soon realise potential growth as the country is expected to now trade in diamonds. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy annual performance report 2014/15, the mining department continued with reforms including commencement, review and implementation of the mining legislation which would improve the efficiency and accountability of mining operations.
In their article “Revisiting the Conflict Minerals Rule”, Alex Bracket Estelle Levin and Yves Melin review and assess the impact of the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals rule, summarize the proposed European Commission rules for the EU, compare the EU proposal with the U.S.’s Dodd-Frank Act and critically review it in terms of its stated objective.
Stellar Diamonds, whose operations are focused on West Africa, said that it is now ready for an inaugural sale of diamonds from trial mining at the Baoulé mine in Guinea.
After an ugly strike late last year, the Southern African diamond miner said its 74%-owned Lace Diamond Mines Ltd has signed a four-year salary deal with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) covering all employees at the Lace mine.
The gem miner said that its production of emeralds and beryl surged by almost 50% on the year to 5.8 million carats in its second fiscal quarter ending December 31, with the final auction of the quarter in November raising a record $34.9 million.
Development work is on track for the start of mining operations in the second half of this year – four months ahead of the original plan but delayed from the first half because of industrial action at the end of 2014.
The Botswana diamond mining firm, jointly owned by the government and De Beers, aims to set up 10 full-body X-ray machines around its four mines following “indications” of diamond thefts
Mining at the site has generated 2,145 carats with average grade of 15 carats per hundred tones, the miner said, adding that high-quality stones are being found, with two examples weighing 8.5 carats and 6.6 carats.
South African heavy-lifting specialist firm Vanguard says the latest statistics show that in spite of falling commodity prices, a new gold mine is opening in Africa every quarter.
Following a far-reaching financial and economic appraisal, Lucara Diamond Corp. will divest its Mothae diamond project in Lesotho.
The South-West African diamond producer saw output drop by 12.3 percent on the quarter and on the year to 446,637 carats in the third quarter, partly as a result of bad weather which battered marine mining operations in the middle of the year.
The NDTC presented Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali with a dividends payment of N$100 million. That makes a total of N$704 million (US$61.2 million) for the year so far.
Although Zimbabwe’s diamonds are no longer labeled ‘conflict diamonds’, Zimbabwe’s diamond industry is still facing other setbacks.
The West Africa-focused miner has sent 941 carats of rough stones from its Baoulé diamond operation in Guinea to Antwerp for its initial sale which will take place soon. Stellar Diamonds expects to stage diamond sales every two months next year.
Botswana's Jwaneng mine, the richest in the world in terms of production and value, is now producing diamonds from its tailings dump and is forecast to show an output of 900,000 carats annually for the next 20 years.
Stellar Diamonds, which is focused on mining in West Africa, has raised by 35 percent its Joint Ore Reserves Committee compliant inferred resources for its Tongo kimberlite Dyke-1 project in Sierra Leone.
Voters in one of the world's most important diamond-producing countries will vote for a new president and parliament and will be the first country in Africa to cast their votes electronically.
“The next step would then be to invite the world to meet and get to know you.”
Anglo American’s CEO Mark Cutifani believes Botswana needs to attract foreign investment in order to diversify its economy beyond diamond mining. He also emphasized Anglo’s commitment to build upon its partnership with Gaborone.