Archive | Diamond Mining

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 →

Court sides with environmental groups in ongoing De Beers lawsuit – by Elena De Luigi (Timmins Press – January 13, 2020)

“There needs to be accountability. We need our regulators to step up and do their job.”

The courts have ruled in favour of an environmental group that accused De Beers Canada of allegedly failing to report mercury monitoring data collected at the Victor Diamond Mine to the provincial regulator. The Victor Diamond Mine is located on wetlands along the Attawapiskat River near Attawapiskat First Nation on the James Bay Coast.

Timmins provincial court Justice David A. Thomas granted the appeal made by Trevor Hesselink, the director of Wildlands League, the non-profit organization that accused De Beers in 2015 of breaching a section of the Ontario Water Resources Act on an ongoing basis between June 2009 and July 2016.

Hesselink alleged DeBeers failed to self-monitor and report on the mine’s “effluent discharge,” specifically the levels of mercury and methyl mercury seeping into the Attawapiskat River. Continue Reading →

Outlook 2020: Diamond crisis averted, bigger crisis looms – by Michael McCrae (Kitco News – December 26, 2019)

(Kitco News) – The closing of the Argyle Mine in Australia should jump-start the suffering diamond market, said Paul Zimnisky, independent diamond analyst and consultant, who talked to Kitco earlier this month.

Last month, Rio Tinto announced November’s tender from its exhausted Argyle Mine, which produces around 90% of the world’s pink diamonds, which are the most expensive gems on the market. Argyle mine is also the world’s biggest diamond producer by volume, largely accounting for low-value diamonds.

“I think that’s probably by far the most anticipated supply catalyst for the industry,” said Zimnisky. Oversupply hit the diamond market hard in 2019. De Beers reported a 26% revenue drop, and Quebec diamond-producer Stornoway was forced to file for creditor protection due to weak revenues. Continue Reading →

Everything You Need To Know About Natural Diamonds – by Eliza Huber ( – December 18, 2019)

From the early ‘90s until 2000, there was a high cost involved with buying a diamond — and we’re not talking about the price tag. If there was ever a purchase that you’d want to be proud of, diamonds would be it. After all, they’re exchanged as a symbol of love and commitment, and passed down through generations.

But conflict diamonds — diamonds mined in a war zone to finance militant activities — cast a shadow on the glamorous world of luxury jewellery. Unfortunately, if your diamond was sourced in a war-torn country like Sierra Leone, Angola, or the Democratic Republic of Congo in the ‘90s, it could be a symbol of something much more dismal.

Amidst the growing consciousness of consumers and brands alike, the industry has changed — a lot. In 2000, the Kimberley Process (KP) was established to act as a global trade authority against conflict diamond mining. Today, it represents 81 countries, with the European Union counting as one unit, and is responsible for nearly eradicating the practice, preventing around 99.8% of the global production of conflict diamonds, according to the organisation’s website. Continue Reading →

Alrosa and Everledger introduce program for blockchain-enabled diamonds – by Elizabeth Cope (Global Mining Review – December 17, 2019)

Alrosa and Everledger are introducing a WeChat Mini Program to Chinese retailers, demonstrating the ability of blockchain technology to enable the purchase of diamonds with transparency of their origin, characteristics and ownership history.

Created by diamond producer Alrosa and technology company Everledger, the program pilot aims to provide transparent and secure diamond information for potentially a billion active WeChat users. It is also the first product to capitalise on the synergy between Everledger and their new investor, Tencent, which operates the WeChat social platform.

The program pilot will showcase diamonds from Alrosa, enabling full traceability from mine to consumer. It will be offered as a white label API for jewellery manufacturers and retailers in China who wish to offer consumers more innovative and insightful stories about their products and their brand. Continue Reading →

Alrosa to mine first diamonds from Angola in mid-2020 as market “improving” – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 11, 2019)

The world’s top diamond producer by output, Alrosa (MCX:ALRS) said on Wednesday it planned to start trial mining at a new section of its Luaxe deposit in Angola by mid-2020.

The Russian miner and its partner Catoca Mining — the country’s state-owned diamond company — found Luaxe’s Luele pipe in 2013. They have since been analyzing the deposit’s potential, which they believe may turn out to be the largest diamond discovery in the last 60 years.

Luaxe is located 25 km from the giant Catoca operation — Angola’s largest diamond mine — and is estimated to have the potential to yield up to 350 million carats of diamonds during its productive life. Next year alone, the mine is expected to produce 1 million carats of diamonds worth $90 million, Alrosa said in a workshop hosted by the company. Continue Reading →

I’m a Jewelry Nerd, So I Went to Africa to Learn Firsthand About Diamond Mines – by Lauren Eggertsen (Who What – December 5, 2019)

Unless you work in the jewelry industry, chances are everything you know about diamond mines is based on hearsay, stereotypes, or, if you’re really out of the loop, the movie Blood Diamond. The misconceptions surrounding this industry are monstrous, and up until recently, I knew little to nothing about what really goes into mining diamonds.

Am I a jewelry nerd? Yes. But no article found on the internet could have educated me as well as my recent trip to Africa where I got to see a diamond mine firsthand and ask all the questions I had been dying for someone to explain to me.

Forevermark, a subsidiary diamond company within De Beers Group, took me to its Orapa Mine in Botswana, and all I can say is, everything I thought I knew about diamond mines was completely wrong. Continue Reading →

First Nations near proposed Sask. diamond mine cautiously optimistic about future (CBC News Saskatoon – November 18, 2019)

Mining giant Rio Tinto announced plans to exercise options in Star-Orion South Project, buy majority stake

Three First Nations in central Saskatchewan say they’ve begun informal talks with a large multinational mining company planning a large diamond mine project in the area.

On Friday, Rio Tinto Exploration Canada (RTEC) gave notice it would be exercising its options to enter into a joint venture agreement with the project’s current owner on the Star Orion South diamond project. If successful, the move would eventually leave Rio Tinto with a majority stake.

The potential change in ownership would be welcome, according to the James Smith Cree Nation. For years, the First Nation has been battling with the mine’s current owner, Star Diamond Corporation (formerly Shore Gold). Continue Reading →

Sunday Strategist: Diamond Merchants’ Headaches Are Forever – by Peter Coy (Bloomberg News – November 17, 2019)

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — You know you have a marketing problem when you find yourself arguing that the competitor’s product is “simply too perfect looking.” Or when you fall back on warning people that if they buy the competitor’s product they may not be able to resell it—when reselling it was never their intention anyway.

That’s the diamond business for you. It gets harder every year for diamond merchants to fetch a good price for their product because the competition is insane. First there’s mounting production of natural diamonds. And now synthetic diamonds have gotten so good that for average customers they’re indistinguishable from the kind that come out of the ground.

On top of all that, some customers are turned off by the violence endemic in parts of diamond mining, featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film Blood Diamond. What’s a strategist to do? For De Beers, the diamond-mining unit of Anglo American Plc, conflict diamonds may be the smallest of its problem. Continue Reading →

In Kimberley, the world’s diamond capital, illicit mining fight flounders – by Tanisha Heiberg and Helen Reid (Reuters U.S. – November 11, 2019)

KIMBERLEY, South Africa (Reuters) – The first South African project to bring illegal miners into the formal fold has been plagued by violence in diamond capital Kimberley, dealing a major blow to national efforts to stem a booming illicit trade.

The project was launched 18 months ago in Kimberley, the site of a 19th-century diamond rush that lured fortune-seekers from the world over. Mine owners granted more than 800 unlicensed, or informal, small-scale miners the right to legally mine around 1,500 acres of diamond-rich waste fields.

The aim of the government-backed scheme was to curb illegal mining and black-market trade of diamonds, and serve as a blueprint for future attempts elsewhere in the country, not only in the diamond sector, but also potentially manganese, gold and chrome. Continue Reading →

What the new diamond industry will look like (Mining Review Africa – November 5, 2019)

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Speaking at the Diamond Conference in Gaborone, Botswana, De Beers Group CEO, Bruce Cleaver, answered a range of questions that are vital to the fast-changing diamond industry.

Here is what he had to say: How has the diamond industry has managed to sustain its success over the years? Why has Botswana managed to generate so much diamond success when many other countries have struggled to maximise the benefits of their diamonds? What will be important in future if we are to maintain success?

The answer, as is so often the case with simple-looking questions, is in fact complex. Success requires a combination of many different things, all of which depend on the efforts of a great many people and organisations. Continue Reading →