The Covid-19 pandemic has choked off revenue for diamond producers and funding for diamond juniors for much of the year. But with the diamond trade slowly starting to reopen and buyers and sellers adjusting to life under the pandemic, some companies outside of the big two – De Beers and Alrosa – have proven to be resilient. Here’s a look at seven small diamond producers and explorers that are soldiering on.
Gem Diamonds‘ (LSE: GEMD) Letseng mine in Lesotho, known to host large, high-quality Type II diamonds, has continued to deliver exceptional diamonds this year, with 12 diamonds larger than 100 carats recovered to date. The latest stones included a 442-carat diamond Type II stone in August, and 233-carat and 166-carat Type II white diamonds in September.
Production at the Letseng open-pit mine was suspended for 30 days early in the pandemic, but resumed in late April. On the sales side, Gem has been successful in adopting flexible tender processes to continue diamond sales during travel restrictions associated with the pandemic. Its average sales price for the first half of 2020 was US$1,707 per carat on 43,384 carats sold.
The company reported a net loss of US$1.7 million for the first half of 2020 on revenue of US$69.5 million. That compares with US$4.2 million in net earnings on US$91.3 million in revenue in the comparable period of 2019. It ended the first half with cash reserves of US$17.5 million and US$51.6 million in available debt facilities.
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