While there are conflicting reports coming from the Indian media, it appears that jewelers in the New Dehli today (April 13) temporarily called off their 42-day strike for 12 days after the government's assurance that there will be no harassment by excise officials.
AllAfrica reports the recently formed Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is set to improve revenue inflows into the cash-strapped government's coffers, according to Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa. ZCDC took over operations in Marange diamond fields recently after government cancelled the permits of mining firms that were mining in the area, citing lack of transparency and investment. Chidhakwa told reporters recently that ZCDC would not wait for six months or a year to declare dividends to governments but would ensure funds were transferred to the treasury every month.
India will hold its first auction for a diamond mine next month as part of New Delhi's efforts to boost local output of minerals and cut expensive imports, the country's top mines told Reuters. Madhya Pradesh will soon issue tenders for the sale of the Hatupur block which is likely to be completed in about 40 days, said mines minister Balvinder Kumar. Mining major Rio Tinto aims to mine diamonds in the Bunder area of Madhya Pradesh, but faces environmental hurdles.
Zimbabwe is checking Rio Tinto’s disposal of its stake in two mines in Zimbabwe, claiming that it is doing so because the shares were held offshore so it needs to see if the correct procedure was followed. Rio Tinto sold its 78% stake in the Murowa diamond mine and a 50% stake in the Sengwa coal mine last year. Both stakes were sold to RioZim, a separate, locally-listed entity that held 22% in Murowa and about half of Sengwa. Mining sources in Zimbabwe say Rio Tinto pulled out of Zimbabwe after encountering regulatory and operational hurdles, miningweekly.com reported.
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.
Starting off with some of the more outlandish comments thrown out by presidential hopefuls, jewelry industry consultant Ben Janowski looks at the impact of changes to come on the economy and the jewelry business in particular. The middle class is shrinking as the number of well-paying jobs decline. "The substantial decline of the middle class, abetted by the economy's shift from manufacturing the services, has stalled the US jewelry business. For some 20 years or so, US jewelry business has stayed at about $30 billion a year, in spite of steadily rising material costs.
To raise public awareness on the Marcos' two-decades of plunder during martial law from 1965 to 1986, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on March 16 launched an online exhibit of selected pieces from the Hawaii jewelry collection, one of the three massive jewelry collections hoarded by Marcoses. This collection was seized by the US Bureau of Customs upon the Marcoses’ arrival in Hawaii in 1986 and is currently stored at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet with a delegation of Indian diamond company representatives from Antwerp during a one-day visit to Brussels on Wednesday, the Hindustan Times reports. Diamonds are by far the largest import-export category in trade between Belgium and India. India exported around $1.5 billion of diamonds to Belgium in the first three-quarters of 2015, and imported around $5.3 billion of diamonds.
Gold and jewelry markets across India re-opened on Monday after traders ended an 18-day strike that resulted in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for businesses and taxes for the government. The strike was aimed at pressuring the government to reverse a 1% excise duty imposed on gold and diamond jewelry in the 2016-17 budget. Although the government has not yet announced the withdrawal of the planned excise tax, which could make gold and diamond jewelry more expensive, it has decided to set up a task force led by an economic expert to look into it.
The Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association (MDMA) has asked its members to go on strike March 17 in solidarity with jewelers who have closed down their businesses across India in protest at a new 1% tax on all jewelry except silver items. A huge protest expected to take place in New Delhi on Thursday despite Finance Minister Arun Jaitley this week ruling out a reversal of the excise duty which is part of Jaitley's budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year which starts on April 1.
India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has ruled out a reversal of a proposed 1% excise duty on non-silver jewelry. Jewelers across India launched strike action on March 2 aimed at reversing the tax which is part of Jaitley's budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year which starts on April 1. He told parliament that the tax would not apply to small traders with a turnover of under $1.8 million and they would not be "harassed" by tax officials. Jaitley said the budget proposal would apply to “principal traders” and not jewelry makers.
Amnesty International Portugal has delivered a petition to the Angolan embassy in Lisbon with the signatures of almost 40,000 people calling on Angola to give “all the guarantees of a fair trial” to Angolan activist and journalist Rafael Marques. Rafael Marques was sentenced in May 2015 to six years in prison, suspended for two years, for slandering 12 people including members of the Angolan armed forces, following the publication of his book Blood Diamonds – Corruption and Torture in Angola) in 2011.
The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) is urging the Indian government to withdraw its proposed 1% excise tax on jewelry. Although it "morally supports the stand [strike action] taken by the Gems and Jewellery Federation (GJF) and other industry associations, we do not want to go on strike as a protest against this announcement as we believe in engaging with the government in constructive dialogue to persuade them to repeal the move,” said GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya.
India jewelers are estimated to be losing about $150 million a day in income from a shutdown protesting a proposed 1% tax enters its second week, the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation told Bloomberg. Shops will stay closed until the government assures jewelers that a 1% duty proposal is withdrawn, said Bachhraj Bamalwa, a director at the federation, which represents 300,000 jewelers and bullion dealers across the country.
More than 300,000 jewelers across India are taking in a three-day strike starting today (Thursday) to protest against a proposed 1% excise duty on gold and diamond jewelry which they believe will severely impact sales of jewelry. In excess of 300 industry associations, including manufacturers, craftspeople and others, are participating. The proposed tax would be another burden on an industry already beset by challenges, said All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman G V Sreedhar.
The repercussions of budget changes affecting the Indian jewelry market have started to be felt with India’s biggest gold market closing down on Tuesday as jewelers in the country’s commercial capital began an indefinite strike to try to reverse a plan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce an excise tax. Jewelers in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar stopped work and want the proposal for a 1% levy announced in Monday’s annual budget to be withdrawn, according to Ketan Shroff, a spokesman for the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Ltd., which has 10,000 members, Bloomberg reported.
A Zimbabwean court has ruled in favor of Mbada Diamonds to allow the largest diamond mine in the Marange diamond deposits to return and assume control of all its assets, thus overturning a government order last week to the nine mining firms operating in the area to stop mining operation because their licenses had expired. Zimbabwe's High Court on Monday ruled that Mbada should have full control of its assets, Reuters reported.
The huge Indian diamond and jewelry trade was hoping to receive some relief as a result of the 2016 budget speech delivered by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, with lower taxes that would spark greater sales. Instead, Indian consumers will have to pay more for gold and diamond jewelry after Jaitley imposed 1% jewelry excise duty. The gems and jewelry sector was hoping for a cut in import duty on gold to 2% from the current 10%.
The former Prime Minister of the diamond-rich Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, has taken an initial lead in early results from the presidential election vote count which is now in its fifth day. Touadera, who headed the government from 2008 to 2013, is ahead in the CAR’s three biggest cities, according to a Bloomberg tally from Sunday’s vote results announced by the electoral commission. Results from several cities in the north of the country are yet to be announced, and it’s not clear when the commission will publish the final results.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s glitzy campaign this week to showcase India as the world’s next manufacturing hub is being met with realities on the ground with conflicting data, vague timelines, investment remains weak, exports have fallen for 14 straight months, borrowing costs are relatively high and trade deals have stalled. Although foreign investment pledges have reached $117 billion, it remains to be seen if it will materialize. Modi's aim is to attract manufacturers that can create millions of jobs.
The British jewelry and watch sector loses around $156 million (£108 million) every year as a result of counterfeit goods being shipped into the market, new EU figures show. Overall in the EU, the manufacture of counterfeit jewelry, watches, handbags and luggage costs businesses €3.5 billion ($3.95 billion) a year.
The news agency reports from the controversial diamond fields of Marange in gem-rich eastern Zimbabwe which have contributed virtually nothing to improving the lives of more than 80,000 people in the area. Due to frequent droughts, people in Marange had hoped the diamond industry would invest in reviving irrigation schemes, since national law requires mining companies to help local communities develop. Irrigation schemes in and around Marange, most constructed decades ago, are no longer operating properly as small-scale farmers cannot pay to maintain or replace aging equipment.
GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya led a delegation of diamantaires and other industry representatives to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to talk about some of the critical issues facing the gems and jewelry industry in India. The delegation requested the introduction of a Special Turnover Tax regime for the diamond industry with 0.75% tax on sales turnover. This would be along the lines of the tax regimes seen in other diamond trading nations like Belgium and Israel.
China's Shanghai stock index dropped almost 7 percent on Monday, the first day of trading of 2016, and trading in Chinese shares was halted for the rest of the day as poor Chinese manufacturing data and Middle East tensions weighed on Asian markets, according to reports. Shares across Asia fell after the latest signal that China’s economy is stalling with an index of Chinese manufacturing activity showing an ongoing weakening. China’s manufacturing sector is being hit by overcapacity, falling prices and weak demand.
Angola produced a record 8,837,414 million carats of diamonds with a value of more than $1.1 billion last year, Geology and Mining Minister Francisco Queiros was cited as saying by allafrica.com. Although Angola's diamond output was higher than the 8,750,892 carats mined in 2014, its revenue was lower than the $1.31 billion figure for 2014. Most of the country's diamond output is of industrial quality stones. Queiros said his ministry awarded six licenses for diamond production in 2015.
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, Rinat Gizatulin, is to leave after four years in the post to become a vice president of ALROSA, he told RIA Novosti, Rough & Polished reports. "Now is the time to apply the experience earned in the field of environmental policy and to implement all previously adopted legislative initiatives in the business structure," Gizatulin said. ALROSA can go further in improving its environmental performance, as well as in other areas, including profitability, the social orientation of its business, and diamond manufacturing in Russia, he added.
After nearly three years of a state of lawlessness in the diamond-rich Central African Republic, voters went to the polls on Wednesday to vote in presidential and legislative elections that had been postponed from Sunday. The elections were delayed because ballots hadn’t been distributed, following two earlier deadlines this year to hold the votes. Sectarian conflict has torn the Central African Republic apart, with the country mired in violence since a 2013 coup that toppled then-President Francois Bozize and enabled armed groups to seize control of the countryside.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on proposed changes to its Jewelry Guides. The Guides (formally known as the “Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries”) provide advice to businesses on how to avoid making deceptive claims about precious metal, pewter, diamond, gemstone, and pearl products, and when to provide certain types of disclosures about the products.
The government is in talks to purchase equipment for the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC), a firm that will merge the operations firms mining for diamonds in the country, the Zimbabwe Standard newspaper reported the finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, as saying. ZCDC was formed through the merger of Kusena, Jinan and Marange Resources, with other diamond producing companies to be included at a later stage. The state will own 50% of ZCDC's shares.
The two-day Jewelry Industry Summit, which aims to provide a forum for all parts of the diamond and jewelry industry to discuss sourcing issues, is due to take place at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City from March 11 to 13. Also attending will be representatives of government and NGOs, as well as consumer and marketing experts and service providers such as banks and industry trade associations.
Zimbabwe's Mines and Mining Development Minister, Walter Chidhakwa, said the consolidation of the country's diamond miners into one firm, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Corporation, is at an advanced stage. Directors are being appointed, and three firms – Marange Rosources, Gyne Nyame and Kusena – would immediately become part of the new firm. Nine diamond mining firms operate in the country, with all but two operating in the Marange region.
The men reportedly drowned in Chiadzwa on Saturday after they jumped into a slime dam as they sought to evade arrest by security officers at the Diamond Mining Company (DMC) concession, according to a report in NewsDay citing the Centre for Research and Development (CRD). The rights groups said the bodies of the deceased were retrieved from the slime dam on Monday.
This week, the Botswana's Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila, told a conference that the government was going to increase working hours for diamond polishers from 212 working days to 283. Mokaila said the move was necessary in order to enable the country to compete with plants in China and India.
The comments were made by Namibia's Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, at the International Diamond Conference held in the capital, Windhoek at the end of last week. He added that 2,000 workers were employed at the peak but that this number is now just 700 due to the downturn the diamond industry is facing worldwide. He pointed out that other countries in the region, such as South Africa and Botswana, are also experiencing the same problems.
The India Diamond Trading Centre (IDTC), the first such trading zone to be set up in the country to trade rough diamonds under special laws, in the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Mumbai recently completed its first test shipment. The test shipment, from Rio Tinto has now been re-exported back to the mining firm.
The figure was cited by Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa at a parliamentary pre-budget seminar, saying the figure indicated an almost 30 percent decline on the year-earlier figure. “Most of the [Marange] diamond miners opted for alluvial mining and in the current situation the resource is depleting so at the end of the day the production levels are bound to decrease,” said Chidhakwa. According to official estimates, 3.36 million carats are expected to be produced by the end of the year compared to 4.77 million carats last year.
Bollywood stars and businessmen are coming together to start legal proceedings in London’s High Court for the return of the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, which they say was stolen from its true home. The move could result in some awkward moments at a lunch the Queen is hosting for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Buckingham Palace this week, although a Royal source said the row was strictly off the agenda, according to the Daily Mail.
Diamond mining that began 50 years ago in Botswana turned it from a dusty farming backwater into one of the continent’s wealthiest societies, Bloomberg News writes. "Thousands of miles of dirt roads were paved and schools and clinics built in every town. The capital, Gaborone, once a rural village, is now dotted with office blocks and malls... The country’s finances were in such good shape that Botswana earned the highest credit rating in Africa. Now the diamond mining industry is floundering as jewelry sales stagnate amid a slowdown in China.
The All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) is asking the government to implement a 1 percent reduction in the Goods & Services Tax (GST) for the entire gems and jewelry sector. This would bring all jewelry manufacturers under one umbrella, and also help the gems and jewelry sector to promote the 'Make in India' concept.
India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry is expected to announce on November 3 the extension of incentives under the ‘Make in India’ initiative for the gem and jewelry sector. The short-term and medium-term initiatives include the establishment of Special Notified Zones (SNZ) for the sale of rough diamonds by mining companies, a reduction of net profit rates for the diamond industry to 2.5 percent from 6 percent, reductions in import duty on gold and silver to 2 percent from 10 percent, and zero percent for cut and polished colored gemstones from 2.5 percent among other measures.