Archive | Diamond Mining

Lab-Grown Diamonds: They’re Real, and They’re Spectacular – by Stephanie Talmadge (GQ Magazine – October 16, 2018)

Getting engaged just got 30% cheaper.

It’s rare that an imitation, Frankensteined into existence, is anything more than a watered-down, flimsy version of the original. Real Rolexes and Folexes. Charcuterie and “ham”-and-“cheese” Lunchables. Coke and Diet Coke. (Fight me, Diet Coke fans.) But when it comes to diamonds—items we’ve historically been conditioned to think of as exceptionally precious—that might not be the case.

Lab-grown diamonds are exactly what they sound like: diamonds that were manufactured in a lab, rather than mined from the earth. These aren’t knockoffs; they’re not cubic zirconia; they’re not Swarovski crystals.

They’re bona fide diamonds—chemically identical to their earthen counterparts, so declared by the FTC this summer, except they cost about 30% less than mined diamonds. Excellent news if you’re shopping for a diamond…and less excellent if you’re selling them. Continue Reading →

Investors frustrated as diamond mine talks between province, First Nation stall – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – October 15, 2018)

Investors in a proposed diamond mine east of Prince Albert are growing increasingly frustrated as environmental consultations between the provincial government and the nearby James Smith Cree Nation appear to have stalled.

The federal government approved Star Diamond Corp.’s plan to build the mine in the Fort à la Corne forest in 2014. More than four years after receiving the company’s final environmental impact statement, the province has yet to give its blessing.

That is likely because a fresh round of talks with James Smith Cree Nation, launched last winter and originally expected to last six months, appear to have reached an impasse over various concerns, including access to land and natural resource royalties. Continue Reading →

Leadership is really about recognizing talent, Lucara Diamond CEO says – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – October 15, 2018)

Eira Thomas is the chief executive officer of Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp., which she co-founded in 2007. Ms. Thomas has more than 25 years of experience in the mining industry, including 14 years in various roles with Aber Diamond Corp. (now Dominion Diamond Mines) and as co-founder of Stornoway Diamond Corp., serving first as CEO and then as executive chairman.

Ms. Thomas was also CEO of Kaminak Gold Corp., which was acquired by Goldcorp in 2016 for $520-million. I was born in Calgary in 1968 the daughter of a mining engineer who then got the exploration bug and later started his own exploration company, Aber Diamond. I have three siblings, a brother and two sisters.

I’m the oldest. My brother is also in the mining business. One of my sisters is a winemaker in the Okanagan and the other is currently a stay-at-home mom. My mother was involved in banking and finance, but she left her job to become the primary caregiver of four children. Continue Reading →

Questioning the real value of lab-grown diamonds – by Panna Munyal (The National – October 7, 2018)

Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, tells us why he doesn’t trust man-made diamonds

There’s something fascinating about diamonds, even those grown in the laboratory. Over the years, I have kept a close eye on the evolution of the man-made diamond industry and welcomed the Federal Trade Commission’s recently revised jewellery guidelines, which state that: “The Commission no longer defines a ‘diamond’ by using the term ‘natural’ because it is no longer accurate … when it is now possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds.”

The commission went on to caution marketers that it would be deceptive to use the terms “real”, “genuine”, “natural”, or “synthetic” to imply that a lab-grown diamond is not, in fact, “an actual diamond”. This is a major boost to the man-made diamond industry, which has been plagued by authenticity issues.

Sure, these stones are not as rare or worth as much money as their mined counterparts, which take millions of years to form in the belly of our planet – a factor that’s a big part of the appeal to scores of diamond lovers. Continue Reading →

Diamond trade must reform in face of threat from synthetic stones: U.S. – by Joe Bavier (Reuters U.S. – October 2, 2018)

PRETORIA (Reuters) – The diamond trade must confront its tarnished image and revamp its certification scheme or risk seeing increasingly demanding consumers spurn natural stones in favor of cheaper synthetic diamonds, a senior U.S. official said.

Bloody African civil wars in the 1990s prompted diamond companies, governments and rights groups to come together to set up the Kimberley Process to prevent the sale of so-called “blood diamonds” from funding conflicts.

But the body only considers conflict stones to be those whose sales fund armed groups seeking to overthrow legitimate governments, a definition that does not cover a wide range of human rights and labor abuses. Continue Reading →

Diamonds Face A Laboratory-Grown Future But De Beers Will Retain Control – by Tim Treadgold (Fobes Magazine – September 28, 2018)

Bookstores, cab drivers and newspaper publishers have all felt the lash of new technologies so it really isn’t a surprise that diamond mining, an industry which has long reveled in a claim to be selling something which lasts”forever” is being confronted by a technical equal but cheaper rival; man-made gems.

It also shouldn’t come as a surprise, just as it has in other industries, that the slow burn associated with a new product suddenly reaches a point of mass acceptance which is precisely what’s happening with diamonds grown in a laboratory which an eating into the market for diamonds mined in a way which hasn’t changed for hundreds of years.

Early attempts to produce diamonds of gem quality invariably produced poor imitations but three significant events have combined to deliver the same sort of revolution which has changed other industries. Continue Reading →

Blockchain and Diamonds: The Future of the Diamond Industry – by Andrej Kovacevic (Baltimore Post-Examiner – September 20, 2018)

On May 10 of this year, global diamond giant De Beers published a press release stating that it had successfully tracked 100 high-value diamonds from the time they left the mine until they reached the retailers’ door using blockchain technology.

According to the press release, this was the “first time a diamond’s journey has been digitally tracked from mine to retail.” De Beers is calling its new blockchain platform Tracr and will be available to the entire diamond industry as a whole before the end of the year.

With conflict gemstones and minerals in the limelight as of recent, De Beers is one among a handful of companies trying to increase consumer confidence by proving that the diamonds their buying are not funding rebel groups or rogue states, as well as make the supply chain more efficient and secure. Continue Reading →

How to flog glitter to the young and affluent: A De Beers special report – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – September 14, 2018)

Last year’s global market for diamond-encrusted jewelry rose 2.2% to a new high of $82 billion, largely due to the planet’s most populous age groups, says the world’s largest purveyor of the bling. But as “consumer power” shifts from elderly Boomers and middle-aged Generation X to Millennials and Gen Z, manufacturers and retailers must meet a new set of consumer expectations, De Beers’ Diamond Insight Report warns.

Americans again demonstrated the largest demand for diamond jewelry, splurging $43 billion, up 4.2% from the previous year’s $41 billion extravagance in a market that’s expected to show steady growth.

Looking at diamonds’ pre-jewelry market, rough sales to cutting and polishing facilities rose 2% to $16.6 billion. De Beers claimed 34% of the total, down from its 2016 portion of 37%. Alrosa’s share came to 25%, compared with 27% the previous year. This year’s H1 sales to cutting centres, however, have surpassed the same period in 2017. Continue Reading →

De Beers makes further inroads into Canadian diamond market as global discoveries prove elusive – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – September 17, 2018)

De Beers Group has high hopes for a small Canadian diamond project, as the world’s biggest diamond producer by value seeks to redress a global dearth in new discoveries and further diversify outside of its African base.

Last week, De Beers, which is controlled by global diversified miner Anglo American PLC Group, closed its acquisition of Vancouver-based Peregrine Diamonds Ltd., owner of the Chidliak project in Nunavut. De Beers paid $113-million for the junior, which was founded by Eric Friedland, brother of famed mining financier Robert Friedland.

Chidliak has 74 known kimberlite formations, a rare type of rock that can contain diamonds. According to a preliminary economic estimate (PEA), the inferred resource contains about 22 million carats, about two-thirds of De Beers annual production. It’s not yet known whether the resource can be profitably developed, but the PEA pegs the cost of building a mine that would last 13 years at $521-million. Continue Reading →

Lab-Made Diamonds for Less: Why De Beers’s Plan Worries Rivals – by Elizabeth Burden and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – September 4, 2018)

De Beers hasn’t even opened its first synthetic diamond store, but its looming entry into the market for man-made gems has already shaken the industry.

The unit of Anglo American Plc said three months ago that it plans to sell lab-grown diamonds at a fraction of the going rate, undercutting rivals like Chatham Created Gems Inc. and Diamond Foundry Inc. That’s already cut the price of man-made gems, furthering De Beers’s aim of increasing the premium paid for the diamonds it mines in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada.

De Beers will target younger consumers with its lab diamonds, sold under the Lightbox name for about $800 a carat. That’s a fifth of the price of existing man-made stones and one-tenth of the cost of buying a similar natural gem. Continue Reading →

Diamond discovery in WA’s Kimberley brings shine back to Australian industry – by Courtney Fowler (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – August 29, 2018)

A global miner hoping to revive the Kimberley diamond industry believes it may have discovered Australia’s next big diamond field. Lucapa Diamond Company has recovered more than 1,100 diamonds from a single drill hole at their Brooking project 1,800km north of Perth.

The project sits only 50 kilometres east of the mothballed Ellendale mine that once produced 50 per cent of the world’s yellow diamonds and supplied stones to New York’s famous Tiffany and Co. It is the second significant discovery made by Lucapa since they began drilling for lamproite at Little Spring Creek last year.

Chairman Miles Kennedy has a long history of searching for diamonds, having set up the Ellendale mine almost 25 years ago. He said after almost three decades in the diamond industry, the discovery of that many diamonds in a single drill hole was “unprecedented”. Continue Reading →

Ashes to ashes, carbon to…: Could synthetics bring death to diamond mining? Or a kind of reincarnation? – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – August 20, 2018)

Somehow a real diamond got mixed up with the fakes. This summer the Gemological Institute of America reported its highest-ever single swoop of synthetic diamonds masquerading as naturals—1,101 artificial stones out of a parcel of 1,102. Efforts to pass off synthetic melee (variously given as under 0.15 or 0.2 carats) have increased exponentially since the GIA offered its detection service in 2016, the organization stated.

But while synthetics have improved substantially in quality, their chief risk to the diamond trade appears to be not false pretenses but positive consumer response. Customers willingly buy the man-made versions, attracted by lower prices as well as claims of ethical superiority that challenge the allure of a naturally created wonder.

And in a high-tech society, the lab-created substitutes can inspire a sense of wonder too. They’re created by one of two methods. Expressed simply, the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) process dissolves graphite or another form of carbon through a metal alloy to bond with tiny seed diamonds and grow atomically into gem-sized diamonds. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: NWT Diamond Mines Celebrate Milestones NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines – August 24, 2018)

(Yellowknife, NT – August 24, 2018) The Northwest Territories (NWT) diamond mining industry celebrated two milestones this month, milestones gratefully acknowledged by northern government, Indigenous and industry leaders.

On August 9, Dominion Diamonds celebrated the 20th year of diamond mining at Ekati, the first diamond mine to have opened in Canada in 1998. An unexpected and initially unbelieved discovery of diamonds by geologists Chuck Fipke and Stu Blusson in 1991 proved that the ground they staked held significant deposits of jewellery grade diamonds.

In partnership with a major global mining corporation BHP-Billiton, they would see the new Ekati mine approved, constructed and producing high quality diamonds a short seven years later. The mine is owned and operated today by the Washington Group. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Rio Tinto celebrates opening of new diamond pipe at Diavik (August 20, 2018)

YELLOWKNIFE, Aug. 20, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – Rio Tinto today celebrated the opening of a fourth diamond pipe, known as A21, at the remote subarctic Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

The new open pit pipe will provide an important source of incremental supply over the next four years to sustain production levels at the Rio Tinto operated mine.

The Honourable Wally Schumann, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment with the Government of the Northwest Territories was guest of honour at the celebration attended by Indigenous community representatives, joint venture partners and Rio Tinto employees. Continue Reading →

DeBeers CEO calls for ‘next evolution’ in relations between industry, Indigenous peoples – by Eric White (CBC News Sudbury – August 16, 2018)

Some on the James Bay still believe DeBeers will go ahead with mothballed Tango project

Kim Truter called it a “bittersweet” birthday party for Victor Mine.​The DeBeers Canada CEO gushed with pride at some moments during the 10th anniversary celebrations for Ontario’s first diamond mine on Wednesday, which come as the mine is set to shut down early next year.

And something else seems to have left a bad taste in his mouth as well. Truter says he is proud of the work DeBeers has done with the Mushkegowuk people of the James Bay Coast, with millions of dollars flowing to nearby communities through impact benefit agreements.

But it’s not hard to find someone on the coast who feels those deals were not fair. “Perhaps some of the communities felt that everyone would benefit directly and perhaps they haven’t seen that,” says Truter. Continue Reading →