Zimbabwe: Uber-Wealthy Oppenheimers Win Case to Block Mineral Exploration at Zimbabwe Cattle Ranch – by Jerry Chifamba (All Africa – July 4, 2022)

https://allafrica.com/

Harare — A Zimbabwean court has barred a miner from exploring for gold on a huge Matabeleland South ranch owned by the Oppenheimer family, the super-rich former proprietors of De Beers Diamond Corporation and Anglo American.

The Oppenheimers, through their company Shangani Holistic, turned to the courts after a South African firm Pearline Mineral Exploration conducted an aerial geophysical survey of their Shangani Ranch on June 2.

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Ukraine war robs India’s ‘Diamond City’ of its sparkle (Economic Times India – June 26, 2022)

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/

Yogesh Zanzamera lays out his bed on the floor of the factory where he works and lives, one of around two million Indians polishing diamonds in an industry being hit hard by the Ukraine war.

The air reeking from the only toilet for 35-40 people, conditions at workshops like this in Gujarat state leave workers at risk of lung disease, deteriorating vision and other illnesses. But Zanzamera and others like him have other more immediate worries: the faraway war in Europe and the resulting sanctions on Russia, India’s biggest supplier of “rough” gemstones and a long-standing strategic ally.

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Are Russian diamonds now conflict diamonds? Depends on who you ask – by Samanth Subramanian (Quartz.com – June 21, 2022)

https://qz.com/

Russia has thwarted a Western effort to have its crude diamonds labeled as “conflict diamonds”—thwarted it so effectively that the Russia-Ukraine war won’t even be discussed at a crucial meeting of diamond producers this week.

The phrase “conflict diamonds” refers to those that finance “violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments,” a definition outlined in its charter by the Kimberley Process, a global watchdog forum set up in 2003 to block the sales of conflict diamonds.

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Top producer Russia thwarts move to redefine ‘conflict diamonds’ – by Helen Reid (Swiss Info/Reuters – June 16, 2022)

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/

JOHANNESBURG – Russia, supported by Belarus, Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan and Mali, has torpedoed a Western-backed proposal to discuss whether its diamonds are funding war ahead of an international conflict diamond meeting in Botswana, letters seen by Reuters show.

The rift in the Kimberley Process (KP), which certifies rough diamond exports, risks paralyzing the body which makes decisions by consensus. The letters, which have not been previously reported, show a dispute over a proposal by Ukraine, the European Union, Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and whether to broaden the KP’s definition of conflict diamonds to include state actors at its June 20-24 meeting in Botswana.

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The looming recession and rising prices are putting pressure on the diamond industry – by Zofia Zwieglinska (Glossy – June 15, 2022)

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Amid price increases caused by the war in Russia, a shortage of stones, and young consumers’ growing interest in digital and sustainable production, the diamond industry is facing new challenges. Vrai and The Clear Cut are looking for solutions in the form of lab-created diamonds and NFT product passports.

According to Bloomberg, the prices of rough diamonds used for smaller settings have jumped about 20% since the start of March as diamond supply has stalled. The U.S. imposed sanctions in February on Russian company Alrosa PJSC, which is responsible for one-third of global diamond production alongside American De Beers and Debswana Diamond Company in Botswana.

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Russia Produces a Third of the World’s Diamonds. Now They’re Coming Under Scrutiny – by Lisa Abend (Time Magazine – May 3, 2022)

https://time.com/

No one would ever call the atmosphere on Antwerp’s Hoveniersstraat relaxed. Each day, millions of euros worth of diamonds pass through the export offices and exchanges that line its 300 barricaded meters, and the traders who move along its length, clutching innocuous-looking plastic bags laden with gems, tend to eye outsiders with suspicion.

But ever since the war in Ukraine began, Hoveniersstraat has been even more tense than usual. As the world’s oldest and largest hub for the trade, it—and Antwerp as a whole—has held its breath each time the European Union has announced a new set of sanctions against Russia. And now, with a sixth round imminent, traders in Belgium’s second largest city are again worried that their luck may soon run out.

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Will the Far North be left out of the critical minerals rush? – by Alisha Hiyate (Northern Miner – April 27, 2022)

Global mining news

When Rio Tinto’s Diavik diamond mine closes in 2025, it’s going to put a major dent in the finances of the Northwest Territories. The mine, now 100% owned by Rio Tinto after it acquired Dominion Diamond’s 40% share last year, following Dominion’s filing for insolvency protection in 2020, was Canada’s second diamond mine, with production starting in 2003.

Now, it is the first of the Northwest Territories’ three currently operating diamond mines to be scheduled for closure. Its impact — as an employer of over 1,000 workers and contractors, more than twice that of Gahcho Kué — will also be the biggest.

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Diamond mines in the Northwest Territories are not a girl’s best friend – by Rebecca Hall (The Conversation – April 21, 2022)

https://theconversation.com/

Almost three years ago, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) released its final report and among its findings, the report identified resource extraction as a site of gender violence.

The relationship between extraction and gender violence has been observed in extractive sites around the globe. And in Canada, this gender violence is shaped by extraction and settler colonial dispossession of Indigenous lands and livelihoods. What is it about extractive projects that creates the conditions for gender violence?

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The Man with the Diamond Dream – by Avi Krawitz (Diamond.net Magazine – April 2022)

https://www.diamonds.net/

On the eve of his retirement from De Beers, Stephen Lussier reflects on a career that has spanned four decades.

Stephen Lussier was chomping at the bit as he sat on stage during a 2019 diamond conference in Dubai. Dressed in his trademark cream suit, he slid toward the edge of his seat as he waited his turn to speak, confident in his ability to unbundle everything his fellow panelist was saying to prop up lab-grown diamonds against the natural product.

“I couldn’t disagree more,” Lussier retorted, and went on to dismantle the speaker’s claim that the value of a diamond lies in its packaging — that the origin, whether mined or made, doesn’t guarantee value. Lussier weaved through key descriptors, citing the “rarity,” “preciousness” and “enduring value” that underpin the appeal of natural diamonds.

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Clock ticking on Swiss watches’ raw materials from Russia (France 24.com – April 3, 2022)

https://www.france24.com/en/

Geneva (AFP) – Diamonds shine brightly at this year’s Geneva watch fair but the sanctions slapped on Russia could soon force the Swiss watch industry to produce more subdued designs.

Russia is a major supplier of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to the luxury watchmakers exhibiting at Watches and Wonders, one of the world’s top salons for the prestige industry. The Russian group Alrosa — the world’s largest diamond mining company — was hit by US sanctions within hours of the Kremlin-ordered invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

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A Brief History of the Cullinan Diamonds, Queen Elizabeth’s Most Valuable Jewels – by Leena Kim (Town and Country Magazine – August 14, 2021)

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/

She has Burmese Rubies and Brazilian Aquamarines; Cambridge Emeralds and Kent Amethysts; George VI Sapphires and Jordanian Turquoise. Since her accession to the throne in 1952, nearly 70 years ago, Queen Elizabeth has inherited, received, and commissioned a veritable treasure chest of magnificent jewels. But few, if any, of the gems in the Windsor vaults can quite compare to the Cullinan Diamonds.

Unearthed in a South Africa mine in 1905 and weighing 3,106 carats, the Cullinan—named after Thomas Cullinan, the chairman of the mining company—still holds the title of largest diamond ever found (if you’re keeping score, the second largest, the 1,758-carat Sewelo, was discovered in Botswana in 2019 and now belongs to Louis Vuitton).

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The True Story of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond—and Why the British Won’t Give It Back – by Lorraine Boissoneault (Smithsonian Magazine – August 30, 2017)

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/

A star of London’s Crown Jewels, the Indian gem has a bloody history of colonial conquest

The diamond came from India’s alluvial mines thousands of years ago, sifted from the sand. According to Hindu belief, it was revered by gods like Krishna—even though it seemed to carry a curse, if the luck of its owners was anything to go by.

The gem, which would come to be known as the Koh-i-Noor Diamond, wove its way through Indian court intrigues before eventually ending up in the British Crown Jewels by the mid-1800s. That was when a British amateur geologist interviewed gemologists and historians on the diamond’s origins and wrote the history of the Koh-i-Noor that served as the basis for most future stories of the diamond.

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Alrosa roughs are not ‘conflict diamonds’, says India – by Shantanu Guha Ray (Sunday Guardian Live – March 19, 2022)

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NGOs supporting a ban on Russian exports to India are silent about the consequent shift of the industry to China.

New Delhi: Exports of rough diamonds from Russia’s state-owned Alrosa mines have resumed to India, although tensions remain high over such consignments.

The exports, claim those in the industry, were started to help Indian diamond traders avoid Western sanctions imposed on Vladimir Putin-led Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. Exports were carried out through making payments in euros through German banks.

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Signet Hits Diamond Trade With Refusal to Buy Russian Gems – by Thomas Biesheuvel and Jeannette Neumann (Bloomberg/Financial Post – February 17, 2022)

https://financialpost.com/

(Bloomberg) — Signet Jewelers Ltd., the owner of Kay Jewelers and Zales, sent shockwaves through the global diamond trade on Wednesday, telling suppliers it would no longer buy stones mined in Russia, the world’s biggest source of gems.

The move by the largest diamond retailer in the industry’s most important market will create difficulties through the entire global supply chain. In diamond hubs from the Belgian port-city of Antwerp to Mumbai and Dubai, diamonds from different countries are routinely mixed together at almost every stage of cutting, polishing and trading.

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Key supply of diamonds caught up in Russia sanctions – by Parija Kavilanz (CNN Business – March 14, 2022)

https://amp.cnn.com/

New York(CNNBusiness)Far-reaching global sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine are affecting the global supply of a precious commodity — the diamonds used in jewelry.

President Biden on Friday issued an executive order prohibiting imports of certain products originating in Russia. They include fish, seafood, luxury goods, alcoholic beverages and nonindustrial diamonds.

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