Archive | Diamond Mining

Famed Cullinan mine banks on big diamonds to drive down debt – by Emma Rumney and Barbara Lewis (Reuters Canada – February 14, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

CULLINAN, South Africa (Reuters) – The owner of one of the world’s most famous diamond mines could be about a decade away from clearing its multi-million-dollar debts, in a sign of the struggles facing an industry assailed by synthetic rivals and uncertain demand.

Petra Diamonds bought Cullinan in 2008, aiming to breathe new life into the South African mine renowned for yielding the largest rough gem diamond ever found – 3,106 carats – and being the world’s main source of rare blue diamonds.

The London-listed miner, which acquired Cullinan from industry leader De Beers, borrowed heavily to revamp the facility and began mining a new section of ore last July. Petra told Reuters its debts from the mine stood at around 65 percent of its overall $650 million in borrowing, which would represent about $420 million. Continue Reading →

Good Diamonds Are Hard to Find at World’s Richest Gem Mine – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 7, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The Letseng diamond mine in Lesotho is renowned for unearthing some of the world’s most valuable gems, but it didn’t find many last quarter.

The average price of diamonds found was just $1,259 per carat in the fourth quarter, almost half the value for the full year, according to Gem Diamonds Ltd., which runs the mine. While that’s still the highest in the industry, it shows that the mine had a significant drop in finding the most precious stones.

Producing diamonds that are profitable to mine is a problem throughout the industry. Prices for the smallest and cheapest gems are falling because of too much supply and that’s shrinking profits for mining companies. Continue Reading →

De Beers left out in cold as Zimbabwe awards diamond licences to Chinese, Russian firms – by Memory Mataranyika (MiningMX.com – January 24, 2019)

MiningMX.com

ZIMBABWE has licensed two diamond companies from China and Russia as the only foreign firms allowed to explore and mine for diamonds in the country after approving its Zimbabwe Diamond Industry Policy late last year.

President Emerson Mnangagwa has increasingly favoured Russia and China in his investment dealings as other international investors raise concerns over the slow pace of reforms, and the country’s worsening currency problems. Zimbabwe is readying the re-introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar in the next 12 months.

Mines Minister, Winston Chitando, said in an interview that De Beers and Vast Resources have not been given the green light for diamond exploration and mining. Continue Reading →

Diamond sector transformation in Angola approaches major milestone achievement (Mining Review Africa – January 14, 2019)

Mining Review Africa

The significant diamond sector reforms being enacted by the President of Angola, His Excellency Joao Lourenco, to grow investment into the Angolan mining sector, will take another major step forward this month. The inaugural competitive bid sale of large and premium-quality diamonds from Lucapa Diamond Company’s (and partners) high-quality Lulo diamond mine will take place in Luanda.

The sale will mark a significant milestone for the Angolan diamond mining industry, being the first diamonds offered for sale in a competitive process under the new diamond marketing policy enacted by President Lourenco and the Angolan Council of Ministers.

The historic Lulo competitive bid sale, which is scheduled to close on 31 January 2019, is being organised in Luanda by SODIAM, the state-owned company responsible for the trading of diamonds in Angola. Continue Reading →

Russian Diamond Giant Alrosa Is Going Back to Zimbabwe – by Yuliya Fedorinova and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Alrosa PJSC, one of the world’s top diamond miners, is returning to crisis-stricken Zimbabwe, the latest example of Russia expanding its footprint in Africa.

The company will develop new mining operations with the support of the government, Alrosa said Monday as Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited Moscow to try and raise investment for his economically blighted nation. In Mnangagwa’s absence, protests against his government’s economic mismanagement intensified, with 24 injured on Monday and five possibly dead.

Mnangagwa, who became president in 2017, sees diamonds as one way to help revive his nation’s mining industry, which suffered years of decline under his predecessor Robert Mugabe. The government is considering waiving a rule that has prevented foreign investors from holding controlling stakes in its diamond mines, as it targets production of 12 million carats by 2023, up from 3.5 million carats last year. Continue Reading →

How Canada’s dazzling future in diamonds ended in fraud allegations – by Jennifer Wells (Toronto Star – January 14, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

This is not going to be a column about the manufactured consumption of diamonds. But it is going to be a column about the manufacture — the cutting and polishing — of diamonds.

The news from Tiffany & Co. of a diamond provenance initiative is welcome. Steps the company has taken as of this week — providing geographic sourcing information for individual diamonds — will be ramped up in 2020 when the New York jewelry house begins sharing the “craftsmanship journey,” as in, where those stones were turned into princess-cut bedazzlers. Do you want your diamond to be ethically sourced? Of course you do.

Some may think, brightly: Tiffany-blue ring boxes, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn. Others may think, insightfully: conflict diamonds, blood diamonds, child labour. I think, simply: Northwest Territories, squandered economic opportunity, a sprinkling of fraud. They’re all connected. Human rights abuses abroad bleed as deeply through the mining of diamonds as those kimberlite pipes that plunge beneath the Arctic surface. Continue Reading →

You Know Your Diamond’s Cut and Carat. But Does It Have Ethical Origins? – by Tiffany Hsu (New York Time – January 8, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Consumers want to know the origin of the things they buy, like the name of the farm that supplied their milk or the source of the feathers in a down jacket. But when it comes to a diamond — quite likely one of the most expensive and emotional purchases a jewelry buyer will ever make — most know next to nothing about the source of the stone.

Tiffany & Company, which sold more than $500 million worth of diamond engagement rings in 2017, is hoping to change that. Beginning Wednesday, it will start a program that will identify for customers the country where their diamond was mined, and, eventually, information on where it was cut, polished and set.

The move is part of an effort among jewelers to attract younger shoppers, who may look upon established, venerable stores as stuffy and uncool. They also tend to eschew the hefty baubles their parents preferred for a much more spare style. Continue Reading →

HARRY OPPENHEIMER: 110 YEARS AGO, A LEGEND WAS BORN – by Iris Hortman (Israeli Diamond Industry – December 30, 2018)

Israeli Diamond Industry

More than anyone else, Oppenheimer is responsible for associating diamonds with romantic love

Harry Frederick Oppenheimer (1908-2000), born 110 years ago in South Africa, was one of the most prominent figures in the global diamond industry; more than anyone else, Oppenheimer is responsible for associating diamonds with romantic love, and the transformation of diamonds into a symbol of marriage.

Harry was the son of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, founder of the multinational mining company Anglo American Corporation of South Africa, which took over De Beers after WWI. In 1929, Ernest Oppenheimer became Chairman of De Beers. Over the years his son took over, and under his leadership De Beers became a global leader in diamond mining.

Diamonds are Forever

More than anything else, Harry Oppenheimer is remembered for his contribution to the promotion and marketing of polished diamonds. In the mid-1930s, he persuaded his father and the company that they should advertise their polished stones – an innovative suggestion that was initially met with opposition. While some argued that advertising would degrade the image of diamonds, young Oppenheimer initiated a revolutionary marketing concept: Diamonds as a symbol of romantic love. Continue Reading →

Three days of violence that emptied an Angolan town of Congolese – by Stephen Eisenhammer and Giulia Paravicini (Reuters U.S. – October 25, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LUCAPA, Angola (Reuters) – Residents of Kapende, a Congolese neighborhood in the Angolan town of Lucapa, scrawled messages on their homes to keep the looters away, but it did not work.

“Occupied”, “do not enter”, “home of an Angolan”: The writing remains visible on the wrecked houses belonging to Congolese who have gone home as Angola has clamped down on illegal diamond mines and the migrants who worked them.

The destruction in Kapende, where no house remains occupied or intact, marked the culmination of three days of violence in Lucapa, a sprawling mining town in the northeast surrounded by some of the world’s richest diamond fields. About 300,000 Congolese have fled Angola in the last few weeks, many of them in response to the violence in Lucapa at the beginning of October. Continue Reading →

Three Themes That Will Likely Shape the Diamond Industry in 2019 – by Paul Zimnisky (Diamond Loupe.com – December 13, 2018)

https://www.thediamondloupe.com/

Looking towards 2019, independent diamond industry analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky, who covers the natural and the lab-created diamond industry, has identified three themes that will likely shape the diamond industry, exclusively for The Diamond Loupe.

The pricing power of lab-created diamond producers

Even before De Beers announced that they would be entering the lab-created diamond jewelry arena in mid-2018, the price differential of equivalent lab-created and natural diamonds was widening significantly. This is primarily the result of more lab-created supply entering the market and lower-production costs resulting in more competitive pricing amongst producers.

However, given that the price of a mid-quality generic 1-carat lab-created diamond still sells for around $3,700 at year-end 2018, compared to De Beers’ 1-carat Lightbox offering at $800, the lab-created industry is still trying to price the product symbiotically with natural diamonds. Even JCPenney is selling a 1-carat lab-created for upwards of $3,700 to its mostly lower-middle-class demographic in the U.S.

The profit margins for the lab-created producers are quite attractive at the above price points, so it’s no wonder why the industry is reluctant to come down to Lightbox-level pricing. Continue Reading →

The Quest for a Moral Diamond – by Monte Reel (Bloomberg News – December 18, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The Peace Diamond, and the miner who found it, are at the center of a new push to redeem African diamond mining.

From a pickup truck heading out of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s recent history is legible in the images that scroll beyond the passenger-side window. A hand-painted sign reading “Amputee Lodge” points to a structure serving victims brutalized by an 11-year civil war that ended in 2002. Next comes a billboard that says “Report Bribery,” a plea to resist the corruption blamed for siphoning away international relief funds and obstructing postwar recovery.

A faded canvas banner—“Only You Can Stop Ebola”—is a tattered relic from a 2014 outbreak that killed thousands. As we ascend the hills on the city’s periphery, a glance in the rearview mirror reveals a thick brown stripe running down the face of a distant slope: the scar from a 2017 mudslide that devoured the homes of at least 3,000 people, killing more than 1,100 of them.

For a break from all this misfortune and calamity, stop looking out the window and focus on the man in the passenger seat of the truck. His name is Emmanuel Momoh, and by general consensus, he’s the luckiest man in Sierra Leone. Until last year, Momoh, 44, wasn’t much different from anyone else in a country where more than 60 percent of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day. Continue Reading →

Interview: Charles Wyndham on a dramatic year in diamonds and what comes next – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – December 17, 2018)

Northern Miner

Charles Wyndham has been in the diamond industry for over 40 years. He was a director of the CSO, De Beers’ selling arm, before deciding to leave De Beers to set up his own diamond businesses in 1995. He is co-founder of WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd. (WWW) and is engaged in related businesses, mainly with others whose skills are based on the company’s expertise in technology, the gathering of detailed market information, and a wide range of contacts.

WWW has had a joint venture with the Aboriginal Diamond Group (ADG) through Diamonds International Canada (DICAN) and since 1998 has been the Government Diamond Valuator for the Federal Government of Canada and now for the Government of the North West Territories.

It also acts as the diamond valuator for the Government of Ontario. In 2000, he founded U2 Diamonds Ltd., which owns polishedprices.com, the only polished diamond price list based on multiple sourced actual transactions. Charles holds an MA in jurisprudence from Oxford University. Continue Reading →

552-Carat Yellow Diamond Discovered In Canada, Largest In North America – by Anthony DeMarco (Forbes Magazine – December 14, 2018)

https://www.forbes.com/

It gets quite chilly in the northwest region of Canada but the diamond industry in the area is starting to burn red hot as a 552-carat yellow diamond was discovered in October.

The rough diamond was unearthed at the Diavik Diamond Mine, approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories, jointly owned by mining companies Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines, which made the announcement Friday. It is the largest diamond discovery in North America, far surpassing the previous record held by the 187.7-carat “Diavik Foxfire,” which was recovered at the same mine in 2015.

The gemstone, which measures 33.74mm x 54.56mm, was discovered while passing through the initial screening process at Diavik’s recovery plant. “Abrasion markings on the stone’s surface attest to the difficult journey it underwent during recovery, and the fact that it remains intact is remarkable,” the company said in a statement. “A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America.” Continue Reading →

Low Prices Trigger A Four-Way Merger Proposal For African Diamond Miners – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – December 12, 2018)

https://www.forbes.com/

Tim Treadgold has been writing about the mining and oil industries for more than 40 years.

Tough times in some parts of the diamond-mining industry has prompted an innovative solution, a four-way merger to create a new southern African diamond specialist.

The proposal, from the London office of the German bank, Berenberg, could see Gem Diamonds, Petra Diamonds, Lucara Diamond Corporation and Firestone Diamonds emerge as a single business with enhanced financial metrics courtesy of cost savings and a focus on big, high-quality gems.

If the deal happens, and at this stage it is just a proposal from Berenberg and not something the diamond-miners have embraced, the new business would have mines in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Lesotho. Continue Reading →

Diamonds are forever – whether made in a lab or mined from the earth – by Joshua Wilhide and William LaCourse (The Conservation – December 12, 2018)

https://theconversation.com/

It’s diamond season. Almost 40 percent of American engagements happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, with Christmas the most popular day to pop the question – and hand over a sparkly piece of ice. Jewelry stores do at least double their usual monthly sales in December.

Since at least the late 1800s, with the discovery of huge diamond mines in South Africa, people have treasured these dazzling gems. The beauty and splendor of diamonds goes well beyond the surface. Like a diamond hunter digging in an underground mine, one must look deeper to their atomic characteristics to understand what sets these stones apart – and what makes them valuable not just for romantics but also for scientists.

When mined from the earth, diamonds look like cloudy rocks before they’re cut and polished. Their chemical nature and structure were unknown for centuries. It was Isaac Newton’s experiments in the 1600s that first suggested diamonds are made up of the fourth-most abundant element, carbon. Continue Reading →