First cluster of diamonds to be auctioned from Quebec mine – by Nicolas Van Praet (Globe and Mail – November 21, 2016)

MONTREAL — Stornoway Diamond Corp. is selling its first cluster of Quebec gemstones this week, the introductory auction of what it believes will be a strong market for its diamonds in the years ahead as overall industry supply begins to dwindle.

The Longueuil, Que.-based producer will test the value of its initial batch of diamonds on the open market in Antwerp, Belgium, in a multiday sale ending Nov. 23. Stornoway said it will sell about 91,000 carats of gemstones in roughly two dozen lots arranged by size and quality in a tender process organized by diamond broker Bonas Group. The best offer takes each lot.

“We won’t try and overthink our marketing,” said Matt Manson, Stornoway president and chief executive officer. “We’ll be price takers, within reason. If we get a crazy low price for something, we also have the right to not sell.”

Stornoway’s stones were mined at its new Renard mine in the Otish Mountains, a range of tall hills north of Lac Mistassini in the James Bay region of north-central Quebec. Built with a $946-million financing package secured in 2014, Renard is the province’s first diamond mine and a centrepiece in the Quebec government’s Plan Nord northern resources development program.

The shipment comes as Stornoway starts ramping up output with a goal of achieving commercial production by year end. The company said it is on track to beat its guidance for full-year carat production, meaning it is producing more diamonds than it thought it would, but at a lower-than-expected initial diamond price because of a higher proportion of small diamonds in the early product mix.

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