Archive | Diamond Mining

Millennials like their diamonds ethically sourced or man-made, and jewellers are responding – by Divia Harilela (South China Morning Post – July 7, 2018)

According to industry insiders, he is not the only one among his peers who is concerned about where diamonds are sourced from. While many have lamented that diamonds have lost their lustre for the new generation, the truth is that millennials view these precious stones differently from their predecessors.

In addition to colour and clarity, they are more likely to consider social and ethical concerns before they make a diamond purchase.

“New generations equally value what we call natural diamonds, but they are even more demanding about what they buy in this category, like in most of their consumption. Consumers, now more than ever, want to be assured of quality and integrity,” says François Delage, CEO of De Beers Diamond Jewellers. Continue Reading →

[Diamonds] Africa’s Blue Economy: An overlooked opportunity? – by David Thomas (African Business – July 16, 2018)

African Business

Honing in on a promising area using geophysical mapping, a crawler cuts and dredges the seabed, sucking some 60 tonnes of sediment per hour through a giant pipe and onto the vessel. Without any human contact, the sediment is washed and sorted for the glittering stones, which are sealed into small, barcoded containers for the first stage of their journey to the boutiques of Europe and Asia.

To many, subsea diamond mining may sound like a far-off vision of the future, a fanciful innovation on a par with asteroid mining. But with 1m carats recovered from the seabed in 2015 alone by global mining giant De Beers, the technology is already well into its infancy.

For the firm, which has made a vast fortune sifting the soils of Southern Africa for 130 years, heading to the oceans is not just a technological luxury but also an economic necessity. Continue Reading →

A Diamond Giant Plays Up Its Russian Ties to Appeal to Americans – by Andrew E. Kramer (New York Times – July 11, 2018)

Alrosa is not a household name, but it is a dominant force in mining and wants to increase its sales in the United States.

MIRNY, Russia — Shoppers want to know where their coffee is grown, where their clothes are made and where their iPhones are assembled. The world’s biggest diamond miner is now betting that they will also care where the jewels on their engagement rings are dug up.

Alrosa, the mining company, is mounting a campaign to tell the tale of its stones’ journeys from mines deep beneath the ground on to the fingers of betrothed couples around the world. Its one barrier? The diamonds come from Russia.

The company is not a household name. In fact, most people who buy a diamond ring at a jewelry store have probably never heard of it. Continue Reading →

First there were blood diamonds. In India, there are suicide diamonds (South China Morning Post – July 10, 2018)

Investigations spread over a year in the western Indian state of Gujarat found a pattern of suicides – many shrouded in silence – in the industry that cuts and polishes 90 per cent of gems sold globally, with many workers paid per stone

After polishing diamonds destined for luxury stores from New York to Hong Kong for nearly 10 hours in a cramped workshop in western India, Vikram Raujibhai went home, waited for his family to leave, and locked the front door. Raujibhai doused himself in kerosene and lit a match.

His family returned to find the 29-year-old’s charred body, his case the latest in a series among workers with low wages and poor work conditions in India’s booming diamond industry, as uncovered by a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation.

Investigations spread over a year in the western Indian state of Gujarat found a pattern of suicides – many shrouded in silence – in the industry that cuts and polishes 90 per cent of gems sold globally, with many workers paid per stone. Continue Reading →

Cree see benefits from Quebec’s first diamond mine, built on their territory – by Kevin Dougherty (CBC News Canada – July 8, 2018)

Cree leaders negotiated to have guaranteed jobs, contracts and a share of the royalties from the Renard mine

Quebec’s first diamond mine — the $774-million, Stornoway Diamond Corp.’s Renard mine — sits on Cree territory, about 800 kilometres from Montreal in northern Quebec.

In operation since January 2017, the mine would not have happened without a unique agreement reached between the company and the Cree, who are guaranteed jobs, contracts and a share of the royalties, once the mine is profitable.

For more than a year now, the mine has been producing diamonds, some of which are sold at Montreal’s Birks jewellery store. They bear a fleur-de-lis inscribed by a laser, and come with a certificate that says they’re officially, “Diamants du Québec.” Continue Reading →

SA missing a gem of an opportunity for creating jobs, wealth – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – June 25, 2018)

A short drive from the edge of the gold belt west of Johannesburg lies one of the world’s biggest alluvial diamond deposits, stretching deep into the Atlantic Ocean. But onerous, costly regulations, corruption and nit-picking officials are destroying a once-vibrant junior mining sector, say a diminishing number of diggers.

Digger after digger talks of how difficult it has become to operate small mines that dig into ancient riverbeds more than 100-million years old, and an even older seafloor.

These deposits should lend themselves to small-scale mining, wealth creation and employment across hundreds of kilometres stretching through farmlands, impoverished towns and settlements where unemployment is rife and work opportunities outside agriculture are slim. But that isn’t the case. Continue Reading →

Eira Thomas takes the reins at Lucara – by Alisha Hiyate (Northern Miner – June 19, 2018)

Lightning has struck more than once so far in Eira Thomas’s career of more than 25 years. The geologist famously spotted a nearly 2-carat diamond in drill core — an incredibly rare occurrence — during exploration at Lac de Gras in 1994, at what would become the Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories.

And as a founder and director of Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC), she was part of the leadership when the company unearthed a 1,109-carat stone — the second largest diamond in history — at its Karowe mine in Botswana in November 2015.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” said Thomas in an interview in May. “Those were obviously two exciting milestones for me in my career, but I think with each and every project that I’ve worked on there’ve been those moments.” Continue Reading →

De Beers playing poker with perception by launching Lightbox? – by David McKay ( – June 19, 2018)

ANGLO American’s 85%-owned De Beers may have pulled off a strategic coup by unveiling plans to launch a new brand of synthetic diamonds. These are the stones that are ‘grown’ artificially in a laboratory and against which the diamond giant has previously fought a marketing campaign.

In fact, the group spent some $140m in 2017 alone promoting naturally occurring diamonds which it says truly represent the profound emotions that inspire wedding bands and other anniversary gifts. Now, however, De Beers has performed an about-turn by unveiling its Lightbox range of synthetics. What could it portend?

According to analysts, this is not really the acknowledgement of diamond synthetics that it appears (although De Beers has its own line of synthetic diamonds which are used primarily for industrial purposes). Instead, it’s a clever commercial ploy aimed at better controlling the pricing and proliferation of lab-grown diamonds by other producers. Continue Reading →

Why Indian traders are outraging over the sale of synthetic diamonds – by MG Arun (Daily O – June 18, 2018)

The market for real diamonds may feel the impact.

For an industry that is still reeling under the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksy scams, there is fresh trouble brewing. This time, it is the announcement by London-headquartered De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company with mines in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada, that it is launching a jewellery brand using synthetic diamonds in India.

A synthetic diamond (also known as an artificial diamond, cultured diamond, or cultivated diamond) is produced using an artificial process, as opposed to natural diamonds, which are created using geological processes.

A section of traders in Surat and Mumbai, two main hubs for diamond trade in India, are up in arms against the launch of synthetic diamonds in India, since they believe that such diamonds will destroy the market for real diamonds here. Continue Reading →

Diamonds in Canada Editorial: The next diamond boom – by Alisha Hiyate (Northern Miner -June 18, 2018)

We’ve timed the release of our June issue to coincide with Diamonds in Canada’s first-ever event. The inaugural Diamonds in Canada Symposium, hosted by The Northern Miner, will take place on June 11 at the Royal York in Toronto.

The event will look at the diamond market and industry trends, and involve some of the biggest players in the sector — including Grenville and Eira Thomas.

Each had a central role in the founding and building of Canada’s diamond sector: Gren Thomas was the founder of Aber Diamond (now Dominion Diamond) and is still deeply involved in diamond exploration through North Arrow Minerals. His daughter Eira Thomas was part of the exploration team at Aber that found the Diavik mine, as well as a founder of Stornoway Diamond and Lucara Diamond. Continue Reading →

On the gemstone trail: A tour of Antwerp’s diamond district – by John Malathronas (CNN – June 12, 2018)

(CNN) — With its flat-fronted 1960s buildings and plain color scheme, Hoveniersstraat might be dismissed as one of the most drab streets in the pretty baroque Belgian city of Antwerp.

In fact, it’s one of the most fascinating, and there are several high security clues that give the game away. The street is protected by a police station, dozens of CCTV cameras and several armed soldiers. The reason: Hoveniersstraat is the center of Antwerp’s — and the world’s — diamond industry.

About 84% of all rough diamonds and 50% of all cut diamonds on the planet are traded in this destination today. Located less than an hour from Brussels by train, the Belgian city, has been a major diamond center since medieval times. Continue Reading →

Russian diamond miner announces auctions and award of high Sustainability ranking – by Rebecca Campbell ( – June 7, 2018)

Russian diamond mining major Alrosa announced on Thursday that it would hold auctions in Hong Kong and Vladivostok for large rough diamonds. The Hong Kong auction will start on June 13 and will run until June 27. The Vladivostok auction would start on June 18 and conclude on June 29. In both cases, the rough stones being auctioned will each weigh more than 10.8 ct.

Both auctions are of gem quality stones. In Hong Kong, the corporation would auction 105 lots with a total weight of 1 620 ct. In Vladivostok, it would auction 130 lots, with a total weight of 2 149 ct.

The diamonds would come from Alrosa itself and two of its subsidiaries: Alrosa-Nyurba and Severalmaz. The group had invited 150 companies, from Belgium, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the US to attend the auctions. Continue Reading →

De Beers to Sell Diamonds Made in a Lab – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – May 29, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — De Beers, which almost single-handedly created the allure of diamonds as rare, expensive and the symbol of eternal love, now wants to sell you some party jewelry that is anything but.

The company announced today that it will start selling man-made diamond jewelry at a fraction of the price of mined gems, marking a historic shift for the world’s biggest diamond miner, which vowed for years that it wouldn’t sell stones created in laboratories.

The strategy is designed to undercut rival lab-diamond makers, who having been trying to make inroads into the $80 billion gem industry. Synthetically produced diamonds at a De Beers lab. Continue Reading →

Victor closure may not be the last seen of De Beers – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – May 24, 2018)

TIMMINS – De Beers Canada has been actively searching for an opportunity to prolong its stay in Attawapiskat, beyond the lifespan of the Victor diamond mine. The Victor mine is set to end production in February 2019.

However, Tom Ormsby, head of external and corporate affairs for De Beers Canada, says there are still diamond-containing kimberlite deposits they would be interested in mining, if they can find a way to do it economically.

“Physically these pipes and their revenue models are not the same type as the current Victor pit,” Ormsby explained. “The Victor pit was larger, higher price per carat, more diamonds that are going to be in that price range that we know we can generate revenue from. Continue Reading →

How the wealth from Sierra Leone’s diamonds fails to enrich local communities – by Roy Maconachie (The Conversation – May 23, 2018)

Ever since diamonds were discovered in Sierra Leone in the 1930s, they have had a significant impact on the country – socially, politically and economically. This is partly to do with how they are extracted from the ground.

In countries in southern Africa, diamond mining is mostly undertaken by large-scale, mechanised companies, which monitor and control deep reserves. But in Sierra Leone, diamonds are more commonly dispersed close to the surface of river beds. They can be found by anyone with a shovel and a sieve.

This accessibility has made Sierra Leone’s diamond-rich Kono district a magnet for migrant workers – mostly young, single, uneducated, unemployed men seeking their fortunes. World Bank estimates suggest the artisanal diamond mining sector is now Sierra Leone’s second largest employer (after agriculture), providing a livelihood for between 300,000 and 400,000 people. Continue Reading →