How to get rich from commodities: Tips from Botswana on how to avoid the resource curse (The Economist – June 8, 2023)

Africa’s soil is studded with buried treasure. Half the world’s diamonds are mined there. The largest producers of cobalt, manganese and uranium are all African countries. Since 2000 more big petroleum discoveries have been made in sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region. Yet Africans are not wrong when they talk of a “resource curse”.

The continent’s political elite have squandered or stolen much of the bounty, often aided by unscrupulous private firms. The World Bank predicts that by 2030, 62% of the world’s very poor people will live in resource-rich sub-Saharan countries, up from 12% in 2000. Resource-rich states are more likely to suffer dictatorship or civil war.

Read more

Harry Oppenheimer biography shows the South African mining magnate’s hand in economic policies – by Roger Southall (The Conversation – June 1, 2023)

In Harry Oppenheimer: Diamonds, Gold and Dynasty, his outstanding biography of the South African mining magnate who died in 2000, Michael Cardo shows that there is still mileage to be made in the study of dead white males who played a role in the making of South Africa. Based on a remarkable depth of research, it is written in an elegant style which makes for a delightfully easy read.

It is rendered the more impressive by the author’s deep conversance with the debates over the relationships between mining capital, Afrikaner nationalism and apartheid. Cardo is an opposition MP.

Read more

Botswana president insists on bigger share of diamonds from De Beers venture (Reuters – May 25, 2023)

GABORONE, May 25 (Reuters) – Botswana will not back down on demands for a bigger share of rough diamonds from its joint venture with De Beers, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Thursday, upping the stakes as talks for a new sales deal appear to be stalling.

Botswana and De Beers mine the precious stones through their equally owned, 54-year-old mining venture, Debswana Diamond Co. The current diamond sales deal, in place since 2011, has been extended three times since 2020 but is set to expire next month.

Read more

Ontario’s first diamond mine in the final stages of closing up – by Maija Hoggett (Timmins Today – May 24, 2023)

Active closure is expected to be done this summer, though the site will be monitored until at least 2039

Before the Victor Mine even had permits to operate, De Beers was working on its closure plan. Today, Ontario’s first diamond mine — located in a remote area of the James Bay lowlands west of Attawapiskat First Nation — fewer than 100 people remain on-site.

That’s far less than the 500 employees and contractors who were there during the height of the mine’s operations, said De Beers head of corporate affairs Erik Madsen. Madsen was the guest speaker at the Timmins Chamber of Commerce’s State of Mining event today (May 24). He talked about the mine’s operations, the work left to be done on-site and the future of De Beers in the James Bay area.

Read more

Will a Russian diamond ban be effective? – by Tom Espiner ( – May 19, 2023)

The UK has announced a ban on Russian diamonds as it tightens sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine. Countries in the G7 bloc also want to be able to trace the gemstones to block Russian exports as they try to limit cash flowing into Russia’s war chest. But how effective will these schemes be, and could there be unintended consequences?

How important are Russian diamond exports?

Russia’s diamond trade, worth about $4bn (£3.2bn) per year, makes up a small proportion of its overall exports. Before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s total exports reached $489.8bn in 2021, according to the central bank, with oil and gas making up $240.7bn of that.

Read more

G-7 to Chase Russia’s Diamonds While Stopping Short of Total Ban – by Alex Wickham and Alberto Nardelli (Bloomberg News – May 18, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — Group of Seven countries agreed to work together to track Russian diamonds, but stopped short of slapping Moscow with an outright ban on the lucrative gem trade.

Leaders in a statement released Friday at their summit in Hiroshima, Japan, pledged to work together to “restrict trade in and use of diamonds mined, processed or produced in Russia” and coordinate future “restrictive measures, including through tracing technologies.”

Read more

Celebrating 20 years of Diavik diamonds – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – May 12, 2023)

Rio Tinto reflects on extraordinary people, spirit and innovation behind Far North Canada diamond mine.

Rio Tinto celebrates the extraordinary people, award-winning innovation, and pioneering spirit behind the 20 years of producing brilliant diamonds at the Diavik Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Discovered during the great Canadian diamond rush in the 1990s, Diavik began commercially producing diamonds in 2003. Over the ensuing two decades, Diavik has produced over 140 million carats of rough diamonds through a combination of surface and underground mining. Most of the diamonds recovered at Diavik are white gem quality stones, with a small quantity of yellow diamonds in the mix.

Read more

What’s The Difference Between Natural And Lab-Grown Diamonds? – by Talia Ergas (Huff Post- May 8, 2023)

Mined and simulated diamonds differ greatly when it comes to price — and synthetic diamonds might not be as sustainable as you thought.

If you’ve bought a piece of fine jewelry containing a diamond in recent years, you’ve likely encountered a more affordable option in a lab-grown diamond — especially if you were in the market for an engagement ring.

While you may shell out around $23,000 for a 2-carat halo ring of natural diamonds, the lab-grown version of the same ring might cost $6,000 — a staggering difference for two options that are visually, chemically and physically the same.

Read more

What jewels will King Charles III use in his coronation? – by Kenichi Serino (PBS News Hour – May 5, 2023)

The world will be watching as King Charles III formally ascends the British throne in a coronation ceremony Saturday, just as his own mother, Elizabeth II, did 70 years ago. From monarch to monarch now passes the crown – actually, a few of them.

The jewels that adorn that regalia, including some of the largest diamonds in the world, are seen as some of Britain’s greatest treasures and help lend powerful symbolism to this ancient ritual. But their histories tell a more complicated story – some steeped in the legacy of colonialism.

Read more

Belgian mood turning against Russian diamonds Andrew Rettman (EU Observer – April 26, 2023)

Nobody in Belgium wants Russian “blood diamonds” any more, but the next round of EU sanctions still won’t ban them. “Consumers don’t want to buy diamonds with blood on them,” said Vicky Reynaert, a Belgian left-wing MP.

“Everybody knows what’s being done with the money by Alrosa [Russia’s biggest diamond firm] — it’s going directly to finance the war against Ukraine”, she said. Reynaert spoke to EUobserver after a Belgian parliament committee, on Tuesday (25 April), backed her resolution calling for the Belgian government to support an EU-wide embargo on Russian stones.

Read more

DeBeers says there will be few signs of closed northern Ontario diamond mine by year’s end – by Erik White (CBC News Sudbury – April 24, 2023)

Diamond mining company recognized for reclamation work at former Victor mine near Attawapiskat

Diamond mining giant DeBeers says by the end of this year there won’t be much left at the Victor mine near Attawapiskat in Ontario’s far north. The mine closed in 2019 and the company has been busy decommissioning the site where 500 people once lived and worked.

Senior communications officer Terry Kruger says most buildings have been demolished and the open pit filled with 44 million cubic metres of water and turned into a lake.

Read more

The View from England: Famous gems being both flaunted and hidden – by Chris Hinde (Northern Miner – April 20, 2023)

By now you should have received your invitation to the coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms. If you are at Westminster Abbey on May 6 (or watching, having mislaid your invitation) you will see a sparkling parade, but not the Koh-i-noor diamond.

One of the world’s most famous gems, the 106 carat Koh-i-noor (Persian for ‘Mountain of Light’) will not be used by Camilla. Instead, Queen Mary’s crown will be modified using diamonds from Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection, including three of the stones cut from the largest gem-quality diamond ever found (South Africa’s 3,106 carat Cullinan).

Read more

The EU is trying to sanction diamonds from Russia – by Jackie Northam ( – April 9, 2023)

A large part of the world’s supply of diamonds comes from Russia. The U.S. and Europe may try to cut off the revenue the country is raising from the gems given the war in Ukraine.


Russia’s one of the world’s biggest diamond suppliers, and the sale of the product is an important source of revenue for the country. So far, the gems have not been subjected to the same kind of sanctions that the country’s oil and banking industries have faced. But NPR’s Jackie Northam reports there are efforts underway to change that.

Read more

Lil Baby Catches Heavy Criticism After Flexing Blood Diamond Earrings – by Soje Leslie (Urban IslandZ – March 24, 2023)

Lil Baby caught some heat from fans after showing off his natural diamonds aka blood diamonds and thus contributing to forced child labor in Africa

Rapper Lil Baby is facing heat from fans on social media after he showed off new “blood diamond” earrings that sparked condemnation that he was knowingly or unknowingly endorsing the bloody war and slavery that is involved in mining the diamonds.

Lil Baby’s boasting backfired after he attempted to shame his competitors by telling them that his rocks were pricey and not grown in a lab as most stones are nowadays. According to the rapper in a video shared on Tuesday, his dazzling earrings were mined by hand from the rough and naturally occurring minerals.

Read more

Troubled Canadian diamond mine Ekati gets new life as Australian company takes control – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – March 16, 2023)

Burgundy is paying US$136 million to assume control from Arctic Canadian

The Ekati complex, a star-crossed diamond mining operation in Northwest Territories, is getting a new life. Ekati has changed hands several times in the past decade, and has struggled in recent years. But Australia’s Burgundy Diamond Mines Ltd. sees promise, announcing this week that it would pay US$136 million to assume control from Ekati’s current owner, Arctic Canadian Diamond Co. Ltd.

The deal is expected to close in April. Burgundy, based in Perth and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, said in a press release that the current life-of-mine plan supports operations until 2028, and that investments could further extend mining. In 2022, Ekati delivered US$494 million in revenue and 4.1 million karats of diamonds were recovered, the press release said.

Read more