Archive | Diamond Mining

North: ‘All bets are off’ as Dominion Diamond Mines faces severe cash crunch – by Walter Strong (CBC News North – April 22, 2020)

Dominion Diamond Mines has been granted a reprieve after filing for insolvency protection, the company announced Wednesday in a press release.

According to the release, the company and some of its affiliates “have filed for insolvency protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)” and has received an order from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granting protection to the company under the act.

“Dominion intends to use the CCAA process to engage in discussions with its lenders, creditors, equity owner and other stakeholders and to solicit and evaluate strategic alternatives to restructure the company financially and operationally, and position it for long-term success when global economic and industry conditions improve,” the press release states. Continue Reading →

Diamond Crash. Just Don’t Ask How Bad It Is. – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – April 15, 2020)

How low can diamond prices go? That’s a question which no-one can answer, but it’s also a question which the diamond industry wishes no-one would ask, judging by an unsightly spat which has engulfed the normally well-mannered jewelry trade.

The diamond crash, which has been several years in the making, has been magnified by Covid-19, the coronavirus disease which has put the world in lock-down, forcing the closure of jewelry shops and trashing the share-prices of diamond mining companies.

Some smaller diamond miners, such as London-listed Petra Diamonds, have seen their shares plunge by 75% since the virus outbreak started in January. Others, such as Russia’s diamond champion, Alrosa, have fallen by 30%, despite having currency protection as the ruble has taken a dive against the U.S. dollar. Continue Reading →

Covid-19 robs diamond sector of recovery hopes – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 1, 2020)

The rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic has quashed diamond miners’ dawning hopes of a recovery in a sector severely hit by weak prices and demand since late 2018.

The market began suffering from the effects of the covid-19 spread in early March and measures to contain it has already pushed De Beers, the world’s largest producer by value, to cancel its April sales event.

Russia’s Alrosa, the world’s No.1 producer by carats, is studying options for online trade as global travel restrictions make traditional physical inspection of gemstones almost impossible. Continue Reading →

Lucara’s Eira Thomas has a knack for finding huge diamond reserves. Now she want to disrupt the industry – by Alanna Mithell (Globe and Mail/ROB Magazine – March 27, 2020)

‘What started out as a treasure hunt is now much more about how we make a lasting contribution to the communities we are working with,’ the CEO and geologist says

Eira Thomas is on the run. The annual results for her company, Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp., are coming out in 11 days, and as its co-founder and chief executive, she is prepping for a round of board meetings and earnings presentations, including dashes to both Florida and Toronto for mining conferences.

Before that, she’s heading from her home in England to Morocco on a half-term school break with her two daughters. Plus, she’s experiencing such wretched technical glitches that she missed a Skype interview yesterday and had to rebook. Today, she apologetically comes on 24 minutes late, something so uncharacteristic that her personal assistant, who is in Zurich, has begun to worry. Life is a little frenetic, Thomas confesses.

Yet, when I ask her why diamonds hold such an allure, all of a sudden, the busy executive life seems to vanish. She savours her answer—and when it comes, it’s unexpected. Yes, there’s the thrill of the hunt. But she is a geologist, and so within the diamond she also reads the violent secrets of the inner Earth that created it billions of years ago, when the planet was much younger. Continue Reading →

Alrosa CEO says virus outbreak affects 2020 sales outlook – by Mariaan Webb ( – March 11, 2020)

The outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, Covid-19, has weighed on diamond demand in February and will negatively impact on Alrosa’s sales outlook for 2020, CEO Sergey Ivanov said on Wednesday.

The Russian miner reported rough and polished diamond sales of $346.4-million in February, down 14% on January’s sales. “Though our January and February sales were healthy, currently we are seeing a decrease in demand,” Ivanov said in a transcript of a conference call, published on its website.

Alrosa had given its customers additional flexibility in terms of sales in March, he said, adding that the group would have to wait and see how the situation played out in April and May. Continue Reading →

Civil society challenges complacency of the Kimberley Process (Mining Review Africa – March 2020)

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Addressing government and industry representatives in New York the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition questioned the often-hailed contribution of the KP to preventing conflict and promoting development.

A conflict prevention tool?

During events organized around the adoption of the UN Resolution in New York, CSC representative from Zimbabwe, Mukasiri Sibanda, pressed the Process to stop the obstinate self-praise and finally face its long-known weaknesses.

The UN Resolution presents the Kimberley Process as “an effective multilateral tool for conflict prevention”, “but when has the Kimberley Process actually prevented any conflict from emerging?” questioned Sibanda. Continue Reading →

Scientists are hunting for diamond mines in India — with help from earthquake data – by Mohana Basu (The Print India – February 21, 2020)

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A 3-member team is mapping how waves generated by quakes travel through the Earth’s uppermost layers to detect potential diamond mines in the country.

New Delhi: A three-member team of scientists is trying to locate new diamond mines in India by studying how waves generated by earthquakes travel through the rocks of the Earth’s uppermost layers.

The researchers, from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune and IIT (ISM) Dhanbad, are using seismic imaging techniques, similar to medical CT scans, to analyse how waves generated during earthquakes travel through the layers under the Earth’s surface.

Their work is based on their own research published in the Journal of Earth System Science last year. The research found that in regions of India’s diamond corridor — which includes Dharwar, Bastar and Singhbhum blocks in south-eastern India — these waves have a higher velocity than usual. Continue Reading →

The 25 Most Famous Diamonds Mines of the World (Diamonds Examiner – January 21, 2018)

You’ve certainly heard about the most famous diamonds of the world like the Hope Diamond, the Koh-i-Noor or the Cullinan diamond. But do you know from which diamonds mines they are coming from? Read this post to learn about it.

1. Cullinan Diamond Mine

The Cullinan Diamond Mine, previously known as the Premier Mine (renamed in late 2003), is an underground mine located in today’s Gauteng Province of South Africa, in the eponymous town of Cullinan (both the mine and the town were named after Thomas Cullinan, a diamond magnate of South African origin).

Much as the new name would imply, this is the mine that yielded the largest rough stone in the world to date – the 3,106.75-carat Cullinan (unearthed in 1905, only three years after the mine’s establishment). Cullinan I and Cullinan II are the most prominent cut stones in the Crown Jewels of the UK. Continue Reading →

[India Diamonds] Mine-swept out of the game – by M Ramesh (The Hindu – June 24, 2016)

India’s last functioning diamond mine faces closure next week. Where did it all go wrong for a country that was once the only supplier of diamonds? On June 29, Lesedi la Rona, the second biggest diamond ever discovered, will go under the hammer at the auctioneer Sotheby’s.

A day later, India — the first diamond miner and the world’s only supplier until the 18th century — will see the closure of its only diamond mine in production today. Supreme Court’s orders!

And so, it is a happening week for diamond enthusiasts in India. I was not one, would never have been one, given my inveterate dislike for jewels, but I slowly got sucked into the world of sparkling stones when I was researching for my novel, Silence of the Cicadas, which has something to do with diamonds. Continue Reading →

Blood, diamonds and dynasties on a little explored Indian plateau – by Ute Junker (Australian Financial Review – February 7, 2020)

The forgotten empires of the southern highlands left behind some of the subcontinent’s most remarkable ruins, temples and palaces.

They say it took months to sack the city. The palaces went up in flames; so did the elephant stables. The raging heat from the conflagration cracked the famous singing columns in the temples and the fearsome stone walls that ringed the city, and evaporated the water from the canals that sluiced water to the orchards and the ornamental pools. It was a spectacular fall, one that matched the dazzling rise of India’s richest city, Vijayanagara, the City of Victory, the hub of a mighty empire.

Never heard of Vijayanagara? You’re not alone. While the former princely strongholds of Rajasthan are among India’s most popular tourist destinations, the royal dynasties that flourished on the Deccan – the highlands that dominate much of India’s southern half – are far less well known. Yet for millenniums, empires rose and fell here.

The Pallava and Satavahana, Kakatiya and Maratha are names that are virtually unknown outside India, yet the dynasties of the Deccan offer some of India’s most remarkable sights to explore. Continue Reading →

Silver screen engagement rings get second life in popular culture – by Madison Darbyshire (Financial Times – January 24, 2020)

Spoiler alert: If a couple gets engaged inside a Tiffany’s store or visits to pick out a ring at the beginning of a film, chances are they will not be together by the end. Yet though these two on-screen romances did not last, the jewellery featured lives on in the real world.

Tiffany’s still sells the diamond flower ring (shown above) used in Meg Ryan’s ill-fated Sleepless in Seattle proposal, as well as the exceedingly large diamond solitaire Patrick Dempsey gave Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama. Tiffany & Co, with its little blue boxes, invented the modern engagement ring and became the jeweller most associated with romantic engagements in the popular culture.

Jewellery selected for film is carefully considered for both its aesthetic as well as narrative value. The use of a traditional diamond ring brand such as Tiffany’s in film is significant. “A diamond solitaire just signifies engagement,” says Laura Lambert, founder of online jewellery start-up, Fenton & Co. Yet, “there’s nothing special about it”. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe: ZCDC Sets Sight On Doubling Diamond Production – by Donald Nyarota (All Africa – February 3, 2020)

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) failed to meet its 2019 target of 3 million carats, but officials are buoyant fortunes will turn around as the firm has consolidated its investments in exploration, mining and processing to improve output this year.

Speaking durng a media tour of Chiadzwa diamond fields on Friday last week, Acting ZCDC Chief Executive Officer Roberto DePreto said they are aiming to double the 1.6 million carats produced last year through joint venture agreements, increased exploration as well as mitigating viability challenges, linked to power shortages and access to foreign currency.

“Since the Diamond Policy was issued we are now looking for joint venture partners, those joint venture partners get allocated a particular concession and we then subdivide the (overall) 626 special grant into specific special grants for those venture companies. Continue Reading →

THE WOMAN SHAKING UP THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY – by Ed Caesar (The New Yorker Magazine – January 27, 2020)

Eira Thomas’s company has used radical new methods to find some of the biggest uncut gems in history.

At the Karowe diamond mine, in Botswana, the most highly secured section of the compound is known as the Red Zone. This is where the gems are sorted. To enter, you must walk, alone, through a sequence of thick doors activated by fingerprint scans. Inside, there are strict rules. You cannot touch another human being. Everyone must wear a blue, pocketless smock. Phones are not allowed.

In September, when I visited Karowe, I was given special dispensation to carry a notebook and a pen into the Red Zone. I was told that if I dropped my things I should bend down slowly to retrieve them, then stand up and show the recovered items to the nearest camera. On leaving the Red Zone, everyone, including chief executives, is strip-searched.

Nobody in the Red Zone ever touches a diamond with a naked hand. There are two sorting rooms, in which workers organize the mine’s produce by size and shape, using gloves affixed to sealed and glass-fronted cabinets.  Continue Reading →

GemFair can positively transform ASM sector, says De Beers – by Simone Liedtke ( – January 21, 2020)

The artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector is in need of formalisation in order to establish itself as a legitimate source of diamond supply; however, faced with complex mining ecosystems and operating conditions that are vastly different from the large-scale diamond mining sector, De Beers says “the approach to supporting formalisation must be tailored, incremental and robust”.

While the ASM sector represents an important source of global diamond production and is a critical livelihood, artisanal miners face many challenges, including a lack of capital, low productivity and informal practices, according to the diamond miner.

Additionally, De Beers says legacy concerns regarding conflict diamonds also mean that ASM diamonds are “often perceived negatively by consumers, when the reality is that the vast majority of ASM production is not from conflict zones”. Continue Reading →

LOUIS VUITTON PURCHASES WORLD’S SECOND-BIGGEST DIAMOND – by Chelsea Ritschel (The Independent – January 16, 2020)

Diamond’s name ‘Sewelo’ translates to ‘rare find’

Louis Vuitton has purchased the world’s second-largest diamond, a 1,758-carat gem known as the Sewelo diamond.

On Wednesday, it was reported that the luxury French fashion house purchased the diamond for “millions” as the brand turns its attention from leather handbags to high jewellery.

The Sewelo diamond was found in Botswana in April 2019 at the Karowe mine by Lucara Diamond Corp. The name of the gem means “rare find” in Tswana – one of the languages spoken in Botswana. Continue Reading →