Archive | Diamond Mining

The World Has a Diamond Glut. Why Is That a Problem? – by Elizabeth Paton (New York Times – August 16, 2019)

LONDON — Is it ever possible to have too many diamonds? For many in the business of producing and trading these gems in recent years, the answer is yes.

The top diamond miners in the world, including the two largest, Alrosa and De Beers, have an inventory problem. So do many of the cutters and polishers who buy the rough stones and sell them to retailers. At every stage of the supply chain there are too many of these precious gemstones, whose marketing has long depended on their rarity.

A glut in many other industries would ordinarily lead to deep price cuts. But consumers are buying stones that have passed through many layers of middlemen: traders, polishers and cutters, who have absorbed much of the raw stones’ price volatility, as well as brands and jewelry houses that create rings, bracelets and necklaces. This has kept retail prices relatively constant, fueled by robust demand from shoppers all over the world. Continue Reading →

Sierra Leone community’s suit against diamond miner shows activist trend – by Cooper Inveen (Reuters U.S. – August 6, 2019)

FREETOWN, August 6 (Reuters) – At the foot of a slag heap some 40 meters high, Adi Kalie Bangura showed the black welts that dot his arms and legs that he says are the result of drinking and bathing in water contaminated by Sierra Leone’s largest diamond mine.

The water “makes us get headaches and feel sick in our stomachs,” said Bangura, a traditional healer and community elder in Koidu, the largest city in the West African country’s diamond-rich Kono district. The aluminium roof of the mud brick house he shares with a dozen family members is pockmarked by holes he says are the result of rocks loosened by years of blasting by the mine.

Bangura’s claims are part of those made by a group of Koidu residents in a lawsuit against diamond mining firm Octea Limited and related companies, highlighting how communities in developing countries are becoming increasingly emboldened to use courts to pursue grievances against mining firms. Continue Reading →

De Beers Diamond Sales Sink to Three-Year Low as Buyers Hold Off  – by Liezel Hill (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – July 30, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — The crisis squeezing the diamond industry is gaining momentum. De Beers reported another sharp drop in its latest sales to the lowest since 2015, after the world’s biggest producer allowed its struggling customers to defer more purchases to later this year.

The mostly family-run businesses that cut, polish and trade the world’s diamonds are battling to make a profit as demand slumps because of a surplus of polished stones and as demand for high-end jewelry stagnates. It has also become harder for these companies to access financing.

De Beers sells gems at 10 sales a year in Botswana to a select group of customers, who are expected to accept the price and quantities they’re offered. Membership of the group was once a lucrative coup for anyone in the industry, but some buyers are now struggling to make money as De Beers keeps prices high, even if it means selling fewer stones. Continue Reading →

The elite club that rules the diamond world is starting to crack (Singapore Straits Times – July 29, 2019)

It’s one of the world’s most exclusive clubs, known over the years as the Syndicate, the Central Selling Organisation and the Diamond Trading Company.

For more than a century, De Beers has sold most of its rough diamonds to a select number of customers, a list that reads like a who’s who of the opaque gem-trading world. Tiffany & Co, Graff Diamonds and Signet Jewelers Ltd all own subsidiaries in this group, guaranteeing a steady supply of gems with the pedigree of being vetted by De Beers.

In the diamond trading world, becoming one of De Beers’s elite buyers is viewed as essential to achieving success and making money. Now, it’s no longer so easy. Continue Reading →

Made-in-China diamonds poised to shape global market (Singapore Straits Times – February 7, 2019)

ZHENGZHOU/BRUSSELS (XINHUA) – A diamond is forever but its chemical composition is just carbon, the fourth most abundant element in the universe.

Before being cut and polished to what may cost over US$2,000 (S$2,710) per carat – one-fifth of a gram, or the weight of two grains of rice, diamonds have traditionally been mined from earth, where they were forged in extreme pressure and heat over millennia.

But companies in China and elsewhere have mastered the technologies to manufacture them en masse in a matter of weeks or days, with the products practically indistinguishable from those mined from earth. Continue Reading →

Anglo Plans $1 Billion Buyback After Bumper Iron Ore Profit – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – July 25, 2019)

Anglo American Plc plans to buy back up to $1 billion of shares after the diversified miner reaped bumper profits from its iron ore business, more than offsetting declines in diamond and copper.

Anglo is the first to report earnings among the handful of giant miners that produce iron ore and investors have been preparing for big windfalls. The steelmaking ingredient surged to the highest in more than five years after a deadly Brazilian dam collapse and operational setbacks in Australian caused a supply shock.

The buyback represents a shift for Anglo, which has been focused on repairing its bruised balance sheet and investing in growth while the world’s biggest producers handed massive amounts of money back to shareholders in recent years. The company’s net debt stands at $3.4 billion. Continue Reading →

Canada announces $2M for research into carbon neutral mining at Gahcho Kue mine (CBC News North – July 23, 2019)

Project accelerates natural process that uses mine waste to trap greenhouse gases

The Canadian government is investing millions in a research project that has the potential to make some mining operations carbon neutral.

Greg Dipple, a professor of geology at the University of British Columbia, has been working with three other universities and three mining companies, among other groups, to use tailings from mining operations to strip carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to a stable mineral form, trapped in cement-like rock.

“It’s essentially the acceleration of a natural process called chemical weathering,” said Dipple. “The difference here is … we can do it in a timescale of minutes to hours to days to weeks rather than hundreds or millions of years.” Continue Reading →

Can diamonds be a millennial’s best friend too? – by Olivia Pinnock (The Telegraph – July 12, 2019)

In the heart of Siberia, the Sakha Republic is home to acres of evergreen larch trees, herds of reindeer, the indigenous Yakut people and, under its permafrost, diamonds.

Mining is one of the main industries in the region, with 95pc of Russia’s diamonds originating here, accounting for 27pc of the world’s supply.

In July, it’s hot. Temperatures reach 86F (30C), midges and flies are in abundance and feral dogs seek shade under the site office. In the harsh Siberian winters though, it can drop to -22F (-30C). It’s a world diamond consumers don’t get to see. Alrosa, the partially state-owned mining company listed on the Moscow Exchange that operates here, wants to change that. Continue Reading →

The world’s biggest diamond mine is closing, which means gem prices are likely heading higher – by David Stringer and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News/Finance – July 12, 2019)

Argyle is best known as the source of about 90 per cent of the world’s prized pink diamonds

The world’s biggest diamond mine ⁠— famed more for the fistful of coveted pink and red gems it yields each year than being a major producer of lower-quality stones — is being shuttered by Rio Tinto Group after almost four decades. Rivals from Russia to Canada hope that can help turn around the beleaguered industry.

Rio’s Argyle mine in remote Western Australia has transformed the sector since 1983 when the operation began supplying gems for both ends of the market. RBC Capital Markets and Panmure Gordon are among brokers, banks and competitors forecasting the closure could kick-start prices that have waned since 2011, according to, an industry data provider.

Production at Argyle, about 2,600 kilometres (1,600 miles) northeast of the state capital Perth, is scheduled to end before the end of next year after finally exhausting its supply of economically viable stones, said Arnaud Soirat, Rio’s head of copper and diamonds. Continue Reading →

Top 10 Canada-based diamond companies – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – July 2019)

Northern Miner

The Northern Miner has compiled a list of the top-10 diamond companies with headquarters in Canada, arranged by market capitalization, as of early July 2019.

1. Lucara Diamond – Market cap: $623 million

Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) is part of the Lundin Group of companies and owns the Karowe diamond mine, in Botswana, which has been in production since 2012, and is one of the world’s foremost producers of large, high quality, Type IIA diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats. These include the historic 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona (the second-largest gem diamond ever recovered), and the 813 carat Constellation, which was sold for a record US$63.1 million.

Since starting production, the company has sold 180 diamonds for more than $1 million each, and 10 single diamonds for more than $10 million apiece. The company has paid out more than US$249 million in dividends, a sum that exceeds the total capital invested to build the mine. Continue Reading →

Diamond Producers Association battles diamond mining misconceptions – by D’Arcy Jenish (Northern Miner – July 4, 2019)

Northern Miner

Jean-Marc Lieberherr readily concedes that the industry he represents and speaks for – global diamond mining – has an image problem. “There are so many misconceptions about diamond mining,” says Lieberherr, chief executive officer of the Belgium-based Diamond Producers Association.

“Issues from the 1990s, like conflict diamonds that funded several African civil wars, are real scars in the history of the industry.” Much has changed within the industry over the past 20 years.

In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution establishing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which aimed at preventing conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. And by July 2013, some 54 participants from 81 countries had endorsed the Kimberley Process. Continue Reading →

New discovery at Gahcho Kué mine could be good news for N.W.T., company bottom line – by Walter Strong (CBC News North – June 12, 2019)

The discovery of a new kimberlite pipe at the Gahcho Kué diamond mine could be good news for Mountain Province Diamonds and De Beers Canada, the co-owners of the mine, and for the Northwest Territories.

The diamond bearing, underground rock — named the Wilson kimberlite after Alice Evelyn Wilson, Canada’s first female geologist — is the first kimberlite discovery at Gahcho Kué in 20 years.

It is too soon to say if the new discovery will prove to be economically viable, but Mountain Province CEO Stuart Brown says drill sample results are promising. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s first and only diamond mine reaches end of production (Timmins Daily Press – May 31, 2019)

Mining activities in the pit ended on March 5, when the mine switched to processing the remaining surface stockpiles of ore.

ATTAWAPISKAT — Ten years and 10 months after the official opening in July 2008, production at De Beers Group Victor Mine in Northern Ontario has come to an end.

On May 26, the last of the economic ore was processed through the plant, followed by several days of low-grade ore and limestone to help purge the plant of any remaining diamonds. Mining activities in the pit ended on March 5, when the mine switched to processing the remaining surface stockpiles of ore. The plant will now undergo a comprehensive shutdown process through the end of June.

De Beers Group Exploration discovered Victor in 1987, becoming Canada’s first economically viable diamond deposit discovery, nearly five years ahead of the diamond discoveries in the Northwest Territories. Continue Reading →

Lab-grown diamonds to get sustainability standard certification – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – May 26, 2019)

Organizations behind lab-grown diamonds continue to push to conquer the market.

As miners of the precious stones are struggling across the board, particularly those unearthing cheaper and smaller gems where there is too much supply, companies producing synthetic diamonds are expanding their reach by incorporating consumer feedback into their manufacturing and commercialization processes.

According to Chris Casey, president of the New York-based Lab Grown Diamond Council or LGDC, compliance with labour and environmental standards are consumers’ top concerns when purchasing any kind of gemstones and other products. Continue Reading →

The Global Diamond Glut Worsens – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – May 21, 2019)

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De Beers’s diamond sales plunged to the lowest since 2017 in the company’s latest offering, underlining a slump in the industry worldwide.

Sales by the Anglo American Plc unit dropped 25% from a year ago to $415 million, and were down 29% from an offering last month. It’s often a quieter time of the year because the industry has already restocked after the key holiday period, but total sales so far in 2019 are still much weaker than in previous years. Continue Reading →