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Debmarine Namibia’s new offshore diamond exploration vessel almost complete – report

25 Aug

Debmarine Namibia’s new offshore diamond exploration vessel is now in the final phase of construction after its arrival in Cape Town, South Africa last week from Norway. 
De Beers Marine project head Michael Curtis was quoted by Mining Weekly as saying that the sampling system and treatment plant, built in large modules in the Port of Cape Town, would now be lifted onto the vessel using a 750 t crane. 
The 113-m-long offshore SS Nujoma would be delivered and commissioned in Namibia’s Atlantic 1 diamond mining licence area early next year. 
“Debmarine Namibia is satisfied with the progress of the project to date. It is a good position to be in on this large investment, with the project currently being two months ahead of schedule and cost forecasts looking favourable,” said Debmarine Namibia chief executive Otto Shikongo. 
The new vessel, which is expected to have a 40-year lifespan, would join a fleet of five other diamond mining vessels in the Atlantic 1 mining licence area, according to Mining Weekly. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Boodles is now a Select Atelier for Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamonds

7 Sep

Rio Tinto has welcomed UK luxury jeweller Boodles as a Select Atelier for Argyle Pink Diamonds, as per a press note from the company. 
The company now joins an exclusive group of master craftsman and luxury jewellers entrusted with transforming Argyle pink diamonds into exquisite jewellery. 
Josephine Johnson, manager of Argyle Pink Diamonds said "Boodles are an exciting British fine jeweller with over two centuries of heritage, who continue to deliver contemporary and beautifully crafted designs with the finest of fancy coloured diamonds. We are delighted to welcome them as an Argyle Pink Diamonds Select Atelier.” 
Established in 1798, Boodles is a sixth generation family business with a passion for rare diamonds and heirloom pieces of jewellery. 
Boodles director, Jody Wainwright said “The Argyle Diamond Mine is famous the world over for its signature pink diamonds and we are looking forward to crafting fine jewellery creations with these iconic diamonds.” 
The official launch of Boodles as an Argyle Pink Diamonds Select Atelier will take place in October when the 2016 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is showcased in London for the first time in four years. 
The 2016 Tender, named the “Chroma Collection”, because of its potency of colour, comprises 57 pink diamonds, two violet diamonds and four red diamonds and weighs a total of 58.24 carats. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Крупнейшим покупателем алмазов во Владивостоке стал Лев Леваев

9 Sep

(vedomosti.ru) – Компания LLD Diamonds (входит в Leviev Group of Companies израильского бизнесмена Льва Леваева стала самым крупным покупателем на первом аукционе АЛРОСА во Владивостоке, рассказали «Ведомостям» два человека, близких к структурам компаний, и подтвердил гендиректор ГК «Руиз» (входит в Leviev Group of Companies) Валерий Морозов. Представитель АЛРОСА отказался от комментариев. В начале сентября на алмазных торгах во Владивостоке АЛРОСА продала 19 крупных камней массой 1098 карат за $14,6 млн. LLD Diamonds купила алмазы на $6,4 млн, говорит Морозов. На бриллиантовом тендере АЛРОСА продала 28 бриллиантов, из которых 18 были фантазийными, за $3,6 млн. LLD Diamonds купила бриллианты на $796 000. 
«Участвовать в аукционе нас пригласила АЛРОСА, и нам удалось купить большой, достаточно привлекательный лот», – говорит Морозов. АЛРОСА политически важно было продемонстрировать, что во Владивостоке есть инфраструктура для торгов и они могут проводить там аукционы не хуже, чем в Антверпене, Тель-Авиве или Москве, объясняет он. «Алмазы будут огранены, и часть из них будет продана в одном из магазинов сети Московского ювелирного завода, принадлежащего Леваеву», – рассказывает источник, близкий к структурам бизнесмена. 
Аукционы во Владивостоке АЛРОСА будет проводить регулярно – на площадке Евразийского алмазного центра, где можно будет ускорить сроки сделок за счет облегченного таможенного и визового режимов, сообщала компания. 

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9 Nov
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Trans Hex returns to profitability

9 Nov

Trans Hex, which has diamond operations in South Africa and Angola recorded a group net profit of R32,5 million ($2,405 million) in the six months to September 30, 2016 compared with a loss of R32,5 million, a year earlier. 
It said sales revenue from its South African operations increased by 2,5 percent from R268,7 million ($19,9 million) to R275,3 million ($20,4 million). 
The average dollar diamond price increased by 10,4 percent, mainly as a result of firmer global prices and increased demand. 
Sales, it said, were positively affected by a 15,4 percent weakening of the Rand against the US dollar, partly offset by a 19,6 percent decline in carats sold. 
South African production, however, decreased by 20,6 percent to 18 997 carats compared with 23 940 carats a year earlier, in line with a new operating model which was introduced at the Lower Orange River operations in February 2016 in order to extend the viable life-of-mine of these operations for as long as possible. 
Trans Hex said production for the 2017 financial year was expected to be in the order of 80 000 carats, compared to 2016 actual production of 24 930 carats. 
In Angola, production at Somiluana Mine, in which Trans Hex holds a 33 percent stake, increased to 91 033 carats from 67 981 carats last year. 
The company’s sales in Angola reached $32,5 million at an average price of $477 per carat compared with $20,2 million at an average price of $300 per carat in 2015. 
South Africa’s Competition Commission recently approved unconditionally a cash offer made by Cream Magenta and Metcap to acquire the entire ordinary share capital of Trans Hex, other than the ordinary shares already held by the offerors. 
The consortium had offered the struggling diamond company a consideration of R3.94 a share, amounting to R117-million. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Japan Auction House launches branch at Israel Diamond Exchange

10 Nov

Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash met with Anup Agarwal, President of Japan Auction House (JAH) to mark the opening of a branch of the company in the Israeli bourse, says press release from IDE. 
JAH, part of Indian-based Rich Diamonds, buys pre-owned polished diamonds in Japan from the local market for sale in auctions, currently in Japan and Hong Kong. 

IDE President Yoram Dvash said during a reception in honor of Anup Agarwal that he was happy to welcome JAH to the Israel Diamond Exchange. “I think that this is the perfect place to hold auctions. We look forward to working with you and hope to see you every month. You will see that Israeli diamantaires are very good customers for your auctions,” he said. 
JAH President Agarwal said, “The idea behind the opening of JAH offices in Israel is to build a framework for business cooperation over the long term. We will bring to Israel a new thing from Japan. The prices are definitely cheaper over there. We’re sure that this will be a win-win situation for all of us.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished
 

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De Beers launches third party polished diamond auction pilot programme

10 Nov

De Beers said its auction sales business will offer midstream diamond companies the opportunity to sell certain types of polished diamonds to other trade participants on its auction platform. 
The new limited scope, business-to-business pilot was an extension of the service for rough diamonds that was launched earlier this year, it said. 
“Testing new ideas through pilots such as this is an important part of this process and we look forward to seeing how the trade responds to the extension of the third party selling service – once we have some initial feedback we can decide whether there is sufficient demand to continue with it,” said De Beers auction sales vice president, Neil Ventura. 
“An important consideration was whether we could offer the same industry leading level of assurance regarding provenance – and with our provenance checking process, created in consultation with existing customers, we are confident that we are able to do so.” 
The company said all diamonds offered for sale on the platform must undergo a comprehensive three-level screening process to identify synthetic or treated polished diamonds. 
It said the polished diamond service was available for single stones over five carats in weight or of fancy colour. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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Israel looks forward to a good HKJMA Show this month

11 Nov

The Israeli Diamond Industry is looking forward to a positive outcome at the Hong Kong International Jewelry Manufacturers’ Show, to be held November 24-27 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, says a press note from IDI. 
This year the Israeli Diamond Pavilion, organized by the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI), will host 27 companies, 6 of them participating in the show for the first time. 
IDI Chairman Shmuel Schnitzer said that he was cautiously optimistic about this show. “We saw a certain recovery at the last Hong Kong show in September. I believe that Asian markets are picking up and that the trend is positive. Also, the timing before the holiday season is right, so we’re quite hopeful about the show,” he said. 
IDI will again be a sponsor of the HKJMA 28th Anniversary Dinner on November 24, which attracts local celebrities as well as HKJMA members and exhibitors. IDI Managing Director Eli Avidar also expressed a positive outlook for the show. “Asia is a strategic market for us, and while the markets there have slowed down they are gradually coming back,” - he said. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Petra makes progress on Cullinan C-Cut expansion project

11 Nov

Petra Diamonds is making steady progress on finishing the 5.7 ha C-Cut phase 1 expansion project that will at the outset prolong its Cullinan diamond mine’s life span by 15 years, according to media reports. 
Mining Weekly quoted Petra chief executive Johan Dippenaar as saying that the project would consolidate the areas it was mining from eight to three, a move that would help the company reduce Cullinan’s production costs to R200/t over the next two to three years from between R280/t and R290/t. 
He said Cullinan’s old mining areas had become “contaminated” with waste rock, resulting in the dilution of the ore grade and lowering of the mine’s earnings for each ton of ore treated. 
Dippenaar said that the C-Cut development would result in the mine’s run-of-mine (RoM) grade increasing to between 38 carats per hundred tons (cpht) and 40 cpht in the 2017 financial year. 
The RoM grade was projected to further improve between 49 cpht and 51 cpht by the 2019 financial year, when the C-Cut was set to reach full production. 
The group wants to increase the mine’s production from 729 496 ct to 2.2-million carats by the 2019 financial year. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Demand for blue & pink diamonds drive color diamond price increases in Q3 2016

14 Nov

Fancy color diamond prices continued to climb moderately during Q3 2016, at a rate similar to Q2, says a press note from FCRF, referring to an analysis done by the Foundation. 
According to the analysis report, for over a year data showed two opposite pricing trends in fancy color diamonds. One, demand-driven price increases for pink and blue diamonds, while price decline was noticed in lower-cost, commercial yellow diamonds. Prices of blue and pink diamonds increased 1.2% and 0.5%, respectively in Q3. Prices of yellow diamonds have declined by 0.1%, more than during the Q2 of the year. Overall, prices in the fancy color diamond category increased by 0.4% for the period. 
The report also says that strongest price performers during Q3 2016 were the fancy vivid blue and fancy pink categories across all carat sizes, appreciating by 6.7% and 3.1%, respectively. On the other side, price declines of between 1-3% were reported for all yellow categories, including fancy, intense and vivid. However, certain intense and vivid yellow diamond shapes such as rounds, pears and emeralds, did not experience price declines. For the 12 months ending October 2016, the Fancy Color Diamond Index appreciated by 0.9%, driven by price increases for blue and pink diamonds of 3.2% and 1.7%, respectively, and offset by a 1.6% decline in prices of yellow diamonds. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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ALROSA plans to produce annually 1.7 million carats of diamonds at Verkhne-Munskoye field

14 Nov

(Finmarket.ru) - ALROSA intends to recover 1.7 million carats of diamonds a year at its Verkhne-Munskoye diamond mine, the company said in its published materials.
The operation will reach production capacity of 3 million tons of ore. The project’s IRR is estimated at 22%. It is expected that production will start in 2018. The mine is scheduled to reach its rated output in 2019.
The Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field has 38.3 million carats of booked reserves. The diamond field is to be developed until 2043. It was reported that ALROSA's investment in the development of Verkhne-Munskoye is estimated at about RUB 63 billion. The government extends a subsidy of RUB 8.5 billion to the company for the development of infrastructure at the diamond field.
The development of Verkhne-Munskoye is part of the approved long-term development program for ALROSA and is aimed to increase the company’s diamond production to 41 million carats by 2021.
ALROSA said in its presentation published last Friday that its production outlook for 2016 remains at 37 million carats and at 39.9 million carats for 2017 and 2018 accordingly. However, Andrey Zharkov mentioned a target of about 39 million carats for 2017 in early September. 
ALROSA produced 38.3 million carats of diamonds in 2015.

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Sarine Technologies' ground-breaking clarity and color technology set to revolutionize the global diamond industry

15 Nov

Sarine Technologies Ltd., a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of advanced systems for diamond producers, traders and retailers, has developed new, ground-breaking technologies that will revolutionize the global diamond industry — the first-of-its-kind, automated, objective and consistent Clarity and Color measurement and grading systems, says a press release from the company. 
The innovative Sarine Clarity and Sarine Color technologies, which complete Sarine's scientific solutions focusing on the 4Cs and beyond in diamond quality, will serve to enhance confidence both in the individual diamond’s valuation throughout the entire diamond pipeline, and consumer trust at the point of sale. 
Sarine Clarity initially provides accurate and objective mapping of the polished diamond's inclusions and appropriate Clarity grade assigned. Finally, the diamonds are sorted within the assigned Clarity and sub-categories which enables each individual stone to be optimally valued for its ideal sales market. The Clarity technology can handle polished stones from 2 points to 10 carats - the vast majority of stones manufactured annually. 
Sarine Color is a new advanced automated evaluation technology with lab-grade accuracy that is currently being tested in India, with commercialization scheduled for mid-2017. The initial Color system will be limited to polished stones of 20 points and up, but subsequent models will handle a range of stone sizes similar to the Clarity technology. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished
 

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Indian government cracks whips on black money

15 Nov

After the government imposed a surprise ban from Nov 8th 2016 on 500- and 1,000 denomination rupee notes, forcing the country’s unaccounted money to be channeled into hard assets, there was a boost in the gold and jewellery business in the country.
Official gold price remained relatively stable, while the unofficial rate climbed significantly. 
Indians have until December 30 to deposit the old currency notes in their bank accounts; but if they want cash they can only exchange new notes up to the value of $60. There’s also a limit on the amount of new notes individuals can withdraw, set at $150 per day and $300 per week. 
According to the Indian government, it took the unprecedented step in an attempt to curb financing of terrorism and other subversive activity such as espionage, smuggling of arms, drugs and other contrabands into the country.
As far as diamond industry is concerned, the impact will be more evident in demand trends rather than drying up liquidity. However, local jewelers are enjoying the sudden boost in demand.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Andrey Zharkov is taking part in Exchange Forum

16 Nov

Andrey Zharkov, President of ALROSA, the world's largest diamond producer, is taking part in the Forum of the Moscow Exchange in New York. The event is attended by about 400 representatives of global institutional investors and banks, heads of departments engaged in trading operations in the financial markets, experts in risk management, and portfolio managers.

On the first day of the Forum, the president of ALROSA spoke at the plenary session attended by the management of the Moscow Exchange, representatives of the Russian Ministry of Finance, international funds and the largest Russian companies who discussed the present-day trends in the development of the Russian economy and financial market.
The forum participants discussed trade and investment opportunities in various asset classes and innovations in the infrastructure and legislation at the session devoted to the attractiveness of trading on the Russian exchange.
Today, the president of ALROSA will hold working meetings with investors.
In order to promote the Russian stock market and increase its attractiveness for international investors the Moscow Exchange holds annual conferences in major financial centers (Moscow, New York, London and Shanghai) under the common name of Exchange Forum.

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UAE KP Chair encourages independent funding of NGOs and creation of UN Permanent Secretariat

16 Nov

His Excellency Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade & Industry, UAE Ministry of Economy, and the UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair) Ahmed Bin Sulayem, welcomed over 300 delegates to the Kimberley Process Plenary Meetings, and delivered keynote addresses. 
In his welcome address, H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh said: “During our tenure as Chair of the Kimberley Process we have been focusing our efforts on creating a fairer distribution of wealth for rough diamond producing nations; encouraging a more open and transparent method of valuation; and visiting and establishing dialogue with countries who are looking to either enter or re-enter the Kimberley Process. To that point the KP Chair has visited 14 African countries so far, meeting not just with leaders across the continent, but also with farmers, labourers and miners whose voices in many cases were being heard for the first time.” 
During his opening remarks, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, KP Chair, said: “We have three major initiatives to discuss this week including the steady march towards a common approach to valuation; the move to establishing an efficient Permanent Secretariat, commensurate with the extraordinary tasks and responsibilities that the Kimberley Process family takes upon itself; and the independent funding of Civil Society.” 
Following this the World Diamond Council President, Andrey Polyakov addressed the Meeting. However, Representatives from the Civil Society Coalition did not attend the meeting despite the invitation by Bin Sulayem. 
A key topic throughout the meetings was the subject of rough diamond valuation, an issue deemed complex, but crucial, for the diamond industry as a whole. 
Bin Sulayem concluded, “It has been a great honour to have served my country in the capacity of KP Chair. Moving forward, we will continue to work with the KP community and extend our knowledge and resources to strengthen the mandate, as well as promote best practices in the diamond industry." 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished
 

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WFDB President speaks about synthetic diamonds at KP Plenary

16 Nov

World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) President Ernie Blom has reiterated the organisation's position on the issue of synthetic diamonds during the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) Plenary meeting, which is taking place in Dubai, UAE. 
Blom said the WFDB accepts that synthetic diamonds are a legitimate niche product and there is a place for them. However, he stressed that there would be zero tolerance for people mixing undisclosed synthetics into parcels of natural, mined diamonds. 
"Our biggest concern is that they may not be disclosed as synthetics and we need to work with governments and law enforcement agencies to ensure that transgressors are brought to justice. We will have them expelled from the WFDB if they are found to have contravened our charter on synthetics and they will not be able to work in any of the WFDB's 30 bourses across the world," – he said. 
Blom added that diamantaires are now certifying diamonds of 20 points compared with 0.50 carat stones and larger in the past, but the issue of undisclosed synthetics mixed with smaller stones and melee still persists. 
Meanwhile, according to Blom, "Machines have been developed that can identify melee, so here, too, we are starting to feel more comfortable that smaller synthetics can also be detected." 
During a panel discussion on a Rough Diamond Valuation initiative proposed by the KP Chair, Blom said the main aim should be how to aid artisanal miners working in very difficult conditions and who are usually under intense pressure to sell immediately. 
"We must ensure they receive fair value for the stones they mine. The miner working on the riverbed selling a parcel of stones once a week to feed his family is the one who needs our protection," Blom added. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Analyst Warns of Rough Price Pressure

22 Nov

New diamond mines may force rough prices down next year because of increased supply, according to Panmure Gordon cited by Rapaport. 
Three mines (in Canada and Lesotho) will enter the rough market early next year: Firestone Diamonds’ Liqhobong mine, Stornoway Diamond Corporation’s Renard mine and the Gahcho Kue deposit, owned by De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds. The projects are estimated to produce about 7.1 million carats per year combined. 
Coupled with rough producers’ revised output plans across the industry and other mine expansions, global production in 2017 may jump 2.5 percent to 130 million carats, analyst Kieron Hodgson predicted. 
“The risk for rough prices to be repriced lower because of the increasing supply is higher than at any time in the last 24 months, in the absence of a commensurate decline in supplies from existing producers,” Hodgson wrote in a research note. 

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Botswana Diamonds loss narrows

22 Nov

Botswana Diamonds has recorded an operating loss of about £300 000 compared to £340 000, a year earlier. 
The company, which was currently exploring for diamonds, did not record any revenue for the year to 30 June. 
Botswana Diamonds said its total comprehensive loss narrowed to £200 000 during the period under review from last year’s £372 000 as a result of exchange difference on translation of foreign operations. 
It retained deficit of £3,2 million compared with £2,9 million a year earlier at the balance sheet date. 
“These conditions represent a material uncertainty that may cast doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern,” Botswana Diamonds said. 
“The directors have prepared cashflow projections and forecasts for a period of not less than 12 months from the date of this report which indicate that the group will require additional finance to fund working capital requirements and develop existing projects. 
“Although it is not possible at this stage to predict whether financing efforts will be successful the directors are confident that they will be able to raise additional finance as required to meet the group’s committed obligations as they fall due.” 
Botswana Diamonds holds substantial ground in the country and had an active exploration programme ongoing in two separate joint ventures. 
Sunland Minerals, a 50/50 joint venture with Alrosa, holds 14 exploration licences in Orapa and Gope areas. 
Maibwe, the second joint venture between Botswana Diamonds, a Botswana state owned copper/nickel producer BCL, a local Botswana group Future Minerals and a South African company Siseko Minerals. Botswana Diamonds holds 51% of Siseko. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished
 

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GJEPC of India meets with delegation from Gauteng IDZ in South Africa

22 Nov

A delegation from South Africa representing the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency met with GJEPC committee members on 16 Nov.2016 to discuss plans for their upcoming Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), says a report in gjepc.org. 
The Agency is promoting the Gauteng IDZ located near the O.R.Tambo International Airport in South Africa. The SA delegation outlined the plans for the new IDZ and assured assistance in terms of finance and logistics if required, to potential investors setting up businesses or factories at the IDZ. IDZ will also have a Refinery that is being set up by Metal Concentrators, a renowned refiner and supplier of precious metals in South Africa. 
The GJEPC Chairman, Praveenshankar Pandya suggested that the Zone should also make sure there is an assured supply of rough diamonds from the mining companies to those setting up units, to which delegation agreed to consider the suggestion. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished
 

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ALROSA holds new diamond auction at EDC

24 Nov

ALROSA, the largest diamond producer in the world in terms of volume, announced the next rough diamond auction at the Eurasian Diamond Centre (EDC) in Vladivostok.
The company introduced small, boart and boart&drilling categories of diamonds at the auction, which may be of interest for both jewelry and tool-making industry. The volume of the planned sale exceeds 500 000 carats. ALROSA invited 23 companies to take part in the auction, including Russian and foreign long-term customers.
"Today's trades are conducted in order to better understand the needs of the region and to get an update on customer preferences. This is necessary to make a decision about the range of regular trading", - says Galina Platonova, adviser to the president of ALROSA. 
In future this trading platform, among other things, will conduct quarterly trading of diamonds of special sizes. 
ALROSA held its first diamond auction in Vladivostok on the eve of the 2nd Eastern Economic Forum on September 2-3. During the event, the Eurasian Diamond Centre was officially opened, and has recently become a 100th resident of the Free Port of Vladivostok.
EDC provides infrastructure cluster for diamond industry (mining companies and the sale of rough diamonds, diamond manufacturers and jewelry, gemological laboratories, banks, insurance companies, specialized carriers, customs brokers) and public services (specialized customs and state controllers) in its premises. 
 

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London Diamond Bourse Works On Reducing Carbon Footprint

24 Nov

The London Diamond Bourse in Hatton Garden, is measuring the impact its business has on the environment and has enlisted the help of international carbon consultancy Carbon-Expert. It is also working alongside CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, to promote the Jewellery Industry Measurement Initiative which was launched by CIBJO at its congress in Moscow. 
“Companies across all business sectors need to be responsible for building a sustainable supply chain and the diamond and jewellery sector is no different. Becoming carbon neutral meant we assessed our current emissions and are taking steps to reduce them through energy saving and business considerations. We can’t prevent all our emissions but those we do produce can be offset, and this protects the future of our industry,” said London Diamond Bourse Chief Operating Officer Victoria McKay. 
“For most businesses the benefits of developing and maintaining a sustainability program out-weigh the costs both in time and money,” says Carbon-Expert environmental consultant Moya McKeown, adding, “and having a sustainability policy and dealing with greenhouse gas emissions has become an intrinsic part of business management.” 

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Petra bolstered by acquisition of Kimberley diamond mining operations – report

24 Nov

Petra Diamonds said the acquisition of an interest in the Kimberley Mines assets from De Beers in South Africa, along with its partner Ekapa Mining and the subsequent merger of their mining assets into a non-incorporated joint venture, Kimberley Ekapa Mining, has contributed to the sustainability of the group’s business. 
Company chief executive Johan Dippenaar said that the merging of these assets was also expected to lead to a number of operational synergies, particularly further to the use of the high volume central treatment plant. 
“This has allowed us to increase the mine life for Petra’s diamond mining operations in Kimberley by nearly 10 years, thereby contributing to the sustainability of diamond mining operations in Kimberley,” he said in the company’s latest sustainability report. 
“This is to the benefit of all stakeholders, but particularly the local workforce and communities in the Kimberley area, which are still reliant on diamond mining as the most important contributor to the local economy.” 
Petra, which has producing mines in South Africa and Tanzania was planning to steadily increase its annual production from 3.7 million carats in fiscal year 2016 to about 5.3 million carats in fiscal year 2019. 
The group had a major resource base of over 300 million carats. 
It was also exploring for new diamond deposits in Botswana and South Africa. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Delegation of Chinese Jewelers Visits Antwerp Diamond Industry

24 Nov

(The Diamond Loupe) - For the past three days a delegation of 21 leading jewelers from China, who collectively represent more than 8,000 points-of-sale, have been getting acquainted with the Antwerp diamond industry. The visit took place in the framework of a new initiative by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the “Antwerp Diamond Experience”, intended to provide groups of foreign jewelers, wholesalers and manufacturers inside access to the world’s diamond capital. Seeing as how China is currently the second largest jewelry market following the United States, this served as an incredible opportunity.
According to Margaux Donckier, spokeswoman for the AWDC: "This approach, whereby jewelers come to Antwerp instead of the diamantaires having to travel around the world, is much more efficient and cost effective. The diamantaires are also given the opportunity to make one-on-one appointments during the networking sessions, and then meet these jewelers in the confines of their own offices."
On Tuesday the Chinese delegation went on a speed dating spree in the Antwerp Diamond Club, one of the four diamond bourses in Antwerp. The delegates were given six-minute introductory sessions to determine whether or not the Antwerp companies were a match, and when the buzzer chimed, it was on to the next. According to Marianne Georges, top saleswoman at Diarough N.V., “We felt the introductions went very well, and fully expect tangible results to emerge from this initiative. We are all looking to grow in this business.  It’s just a matter of meeting the right clients, and this is a step in the right direction.”
This was not the first international delegation to visit within the framework of the "Antwerp Diamond Experience". Earlier this year the Antwerp diamond industry welcomed groups from Kuwait, Turkey, Iran and most recently the United States. The Chinese group was the final delegation of the year for the AWDC’s new program, with more countries scheduled for the coming year.
 

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ALROSA did not change rough prices at trading sessions in October and November 2016 - sources

30 Nov

(Finmarket.ru) - ALROSA did not change its prices at trading sessions involving long-term customers in October and November 2016, as Interfax was told by the representatives of two companies having contracts with the diamond monopoly.
ALROSA was reported to have sent prices up in September for Russia-based customers (accounting for about 10% of its sales). Per various estimates, the hike was from 6.5% to 8%. It was caused by the cancellation of the country’s 6.5-percent export duty on rough diamonds. Until recently, the duty, for which ALROSA made allowance in diamond prices for overseas buyers, provided privileged conditions for the domestic market. However, starting from September 2016, the conditions turned to be equal for all its customers.
The sources of Interfax also reported about the general rise in prices for all customers in September - by 1.5%. ALROSA has not confirmed this information.
"We did not see particular changes in diamond prices in October and November. Even if they were, they stayed within acceptable tolerance," Interfax was told by one of the sources, who was the head of a company being a major customer of ALROSA in the domestic market. This data was confirmed by his colleague in the industry, who also headed a company, which was a long-term customer of ALROSA.
The goods collecting limit (mandatory purchasing amount under a one-month contract with ALROSA) has not changed either and remains at 50%, according to both sources.
ALROSA held its trading sessions on October 10-14 and November 14-18, 2016.
At the October trading session, ALROSA Group put up for sale diamonds offered by all its mining companies, including ALROSA, ALROSA-Nyurba, Severalmaz, Almazy Anabara and Nizhne-Lenskoye, the latter two operating on diamond placers. In November, the Group offered for sale rough diamonds from all of its companies, but Severalmaz.
Speaking of trends, one of the mentioned sources noted that the market is currently concerned with the situation in India, where the country’s authorities in an effort to fight corruption scrapped the 500- and 1,000-rupee bank notes in early November, which accounted for 86% of the total money circulation. India is the largest consumer of rough diamonds and a major producer of polished diamonds. The situation mainly affects the solvency of small Indian companies, but there is a "domino effect." "Medium-sized companies cannot get money from the small ones, and big companies cannot sell their goods to medium-sized companies. As a result, many large Indian consumers are reducing purchases. We hope that this situation will be resolved within one or two months, but so far the problem persists," said one of the clients of ALROSA.
The diamond market continues to register demand for high-end rough (this was also confirmed by Andrey Zharkov, the head of ALROSA), the prices for which remain at least unchanged. "There is a slump in demand for low-end goods and prices are going down. The situation with polished goods is likewise," one of the sources said.
Despite the recovery in demand in the diamond market this year, ALROSA sees no reason to raise prices right now, the company’s CEO Andrey Zharkov said on November 23, 2016.
This is due to the fact that currently it is particularly important for the market to maintain adequate margins in the midstream, said the top manager. Andrey Zharkov expects the next year to be stable. "After sales went down in 2015 and recovered in 2016, 2017 should be fairly stable in terms of demand. We see no reason for demand to decrease or increase in a considerable way," he said.
In 2015, prices for rough diamonds produced by ALROSA decreased on average by 15%, reflecting the low demand caused by insufficient margins in the midstream.
ALROSA's sales in the first 9 months of this year were at least $3.5 billion (30% more than in 2015). The miner’s sales in October reached $430.8 million.

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Two diamond cutting, polishing factories re-open as rough supply improves in Namibia

30 Nov

Two Namibian diamond cutting and polishing factories, Julius Klein Diamonds and Laurelton Diamonds, have resumed their operations following an improved supply of rough diamonds in Namibia. 
The new diamond sorting, valuing and marketing agreement inked between De Beers and Windhoek last May had increased the value of the local diamond supply from $230 million to $430 million per year, according to New Era. 
The deal also made it possible for local cutting and polishing industry to receive all special stones from Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC). 
“NDTC remains the supplying agent for supplying local cutting and polishing factories. In the previous dispensation, only 10 percent of the so called ‘cuttables’ (defined as diamonds that can be economically cut and polished in Namibia) [were] made available for local beneficiation during the infant stages of the sector when skills were scarce and proficiency in diamond cutting low,” mines minister Obeth Kandjoze was quoted as saying. 
“That amount is now increased by some 87 percent from the baseline.” 
Concerns had been raised over the manner in which Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia), a wholly-owned by the Namibian government, had been auctioning the country’s diamonds. 
Namdia distributes up to 15 percent of Namdeb Holdings total production under the sales and marketing agreement with De Beers.   
The Namibian newspaper recently cited unnamed sources as saying that the decision by Namdia to sell diamonds to Dubai had riled local diamond manufacturing companies who are now being forced to buy Namdia diamonds from Dubai. 
However, company board chairperson Shakespeare Masiza said they sold the diamonds to Dubai companies because most major diamond industry leaders or companies were based in Dubai. 
“Dubai has emerged as one of the most prominent global diamond trading hubs. As such, the focus of the rough diamond industry has moved from Belgium to Dubai,” he was quoted as saying. 
“In fact, Dubai is the chair of the Kimberly Process certification this year and has the best infrastructure for the diamond industry to work from.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auction Fetches $3.5M

30 Nov

Sotheby’s sold $3.5 million (HKD 26.8 million) worth of jewelry at its Important Jewels and Jadeite auction in Hong Kong on Tuesday. 
The auction was sold 56 percent by lot and 37 percent by value, Sotheby’s said. It was led by an early 20th-century gem-set and diamond dragon bracelet, which fetched $266,000 (HKD 2.1 million), beating its pre-sale estimate of $82,528 to $103,160. The piece contained about 5 carats of rubies and 1.40 carats of diamonds. 
A brilliant-cut round, 6.01-carat, D-color, internally flawless diamond did not sell, after having been estimated at $515,800 to $567,380, or up to $94,406 per carat. 

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Lucara in no rush to sell 1,109 ct diamond after London setback – Lamb

30 Nov

   

Lucara Diamond said it is not in a hurry to sell the 1, 109 carat Lesedi La Rona recovered in Botswana after bidders failed to reach the reserve price at a public auction in London mid this year.

The company said at the time that the failure of the diamond to sell in London was not influenced by the economic uncertainty caused by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union or the state of the global economy.

Lucara also said at the time that the size of the diamond meant it could not be properly analysed by equipment the industry uses to establish the optimal cut and the polished diamonds that could be extracted.

However, company chief executive William Lamb told Rough & Polished’s Mathew Nyaungwa that the tennis ball-sized gem was sent for advanced analysis to fully understand the potential yield for the stone. 
He said Lucara would only assess the market and potentially put the stone on the market again once the advanced analysis was complete in the first quarter of 2017.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

What are your options for the sale of the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona?

With the financial strength of the company, there is no rush to sell the diamond. At this time, we have sent the stone for advanced analysis to fully understand the potential yield for the stone. Once this is complete, which is expected to be done in Q1, 2017, we will assess the market and potentially put the stone on the market again.

So do you have any plans of conducting another public auction for Lesedi La Rona?

The company learnt many things during the auction process. There are a number of changes we would make to better demonstrate to the private collector what the intrinsic value of the stone is prior to going back to the auction platform.

Lucara was awarded two prospecting licenses in 2014 that are known to host kimberlites, BK02, AK11 and AK12, AK13 and AK14. Can you provide an update on work that you have done on these licenses to date?

The first bulk sample from BK02 was completed earlier this year. A total of 274.33 carats were recovered from the processing of 5,916 tonnes of BK02 for a sample grade of 4.6 cpht (carats per hundred tonne). The largest diamond recovered was a 5.48 carat brownish octahedron. In addition, a total of 24 stones were recovered greater than 1 carat in weight including 3 diamonds in excess of 2 carats.

Based on the above results, a second bulk sample is currently being processed to obtain a sample of diamonds large enough for basic valuation purposes.

The bulk sample from AK12 was stopped after the processing of half of the planned volume due to very low recovered diamond grade. Delineation drilling of AK11 and BK02 is ongoing.

Your company recently started a drilling programme designed to test the AK06 kimberlite at depths below 400m. What is the purpose of this programme and when do you intend to get results?

The purpose of the deep drilling process is to extend the Indicated resource to 600m depth. This will provide sufficient resource for the Company to complete a pre-feasibility level underground study. The resource update is expected to be complete in Q2, 2017 with the PFS underground study following this.

How far have you gone with your capital projects for large diamond recovery?

The engineering design for the Mega diamond recovery circuit is well advanced. The project is expected to be complete in Q3, 2017

Lucara recorded a net loss of $3.8 million in the third quarter of the year compared to a net income of $44.2 million in the prior year, due to reduced sales. What prompted the cut in number of sales? 

The variance is purely due to the timing of the Exceptional Stone Tender. This tender [closed] on November 16.

You have lined up a few sales before the end of the year. How confident are you of recording better prices?

The market remains strong, especially in the larger size fractions. We are confident that the company will exceed its revenue guidance target for 2016 [of between $200 million and $220 million].
 
What is your prognosis of the state of the diamond industry as the year draws to an end?

A lot of rough production has been sold during 2016. This rough being sold at prices higher than the trade recommended to enable them to maintain their margins. The company’s outlook for 2017 is extremely cautious, primarily because polished sales do not match the volume of rough sold, resulting in an increase in polished inventory.

What is your projection of the diamond industry in 2017?

Cautious! The diamond market for 2017 will be determined by the sales and marketing efforts for polished goods through the holiday season, which in turn will either open liquidity early in 2017 or have a negative impact on rough diamond prices.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Blue Diamond Tops Billing at Christie’s Hong Kong

6 Dec

Christie’s sales totaled $79 million (HKD 611 million) at its Hong Kong jewelry auction last Tuesday, with a colored diamond leading the event yet again. 
A marquise-cut, 4.29-carat, fancy vivid blue, internally flawless diamond ring fetched $11.8 million at the Magnificent Jewels sale. That translates into a price of $2.7 million per carat. 
Christie’s also sold the oval-shaped, 10.05-carat ‘Ratnaraj’ ruby and diamond ring for $10.2 million, achieving the third-highest per-carat price for a ruby at just over $1 million per carat. 
“Once again at Christie’s Hong Kong, Asian collectors and members of the trade showed great confidence for rare and important gemstones,” said Vickie Sek, deputy chairman for Asia and director of Christie’s Asia jewelry department. “The sale room was packed all day long with spirited bidding for colorless diamonds, colored gemstones and important jadeite jewelry.” 
In May, Chow Tai Fook bought the world’s largest natural fancy vivid green diamond for a record $16.8 million, or $3.3 million per carat, at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong. Separately, another tender, also in Hong Kong, in December last year saw a Burmese ruby garner $18 million, or an unprecedented $1.2 million per carat. 
The latest auction was 80 percent sold by lot and 84 percent sold by value, attracting 149 buyers from 23 countries. 

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KP Chair meets government and diamond industry in South Korea

6 Dec

As part of the ongoing efforts of the UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair) Ahmed Bin Sulayem to engage countries across the diamond supply chain, he has held meetings with senior government and industry representatives in South Korea. The aim of these discussions was to deliberate ways to bolster the diamond industry in the East Asian nation and determine the role Dubai can play in supporting Seoul becoming a diamond trading center, says a Press release from the organisation. 
The KP Chair met with Hong Dawoon, Assistant Director of the Export Control Policy Division at the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy; as well as Chang Soo Nam, President of the Korea Diamond Exchange (KDE) and its Board of Directors. 
“There is little doubt of the potential for Korea to become a more prominent player in the diamond industry – both as a consumer market and as a trade hub,” said Bin Sulayem. 
“Through meetings with the government and the KDE, it is evident that the full potential of the consumer market remains untapped. We need to discuss ways in which the industry can work collectively with retailers to raise awareness and consumer confidence in the natural diamond sector, both as a sentimental and long-term investment, over imitation jewellery,” added Bin Sulayem. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished
 

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Grib Diamonds' sales rose sharply in Q3

6 Dec

Lukoil’s diamond revenue from the Grib mine in Russia developed by its subsidiary Grib Diamonds rose 33 percent to $61.9 million (RUB 4 billion) in the third quarter, the country’s largest oil producer reported.   
The deposit is Lukoil’s only diamond asset. Earlier Lukoil concluded an agreement to sell its 100% stake in the Grib diamond mine to Otkritie Holding Group for $1.45 billion in cash. 
Production of rough diamonds started in September 2014 with sales amounting to $162 million in 2015, its first full year of operations. Lukoil Group's revenue slid 11 percent to $20.3 billion (RUB 1.31 trillion) in the third quarter because of lower oil prices. 
Diamond sales more than doubled to $232.3 million (RUB 15 billion) from $108.4 million (RUB 7 billion) in the first nine months of the year. 

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Cameroon accused of trading in CAR 'conflict diamonds'

6 Dec

Partnership Africa Canada has accused Cameroon of trading in “conflict diamonds” from the troubled Central African Republic (CAR). 
The non-governmental organisation claimed in a report that proceeds from the illicit diamond trade was being used to partially finance an almost three-year conflict. 
Cameroon, which had porous borders, was said to be allowing conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic to cross over its borders and into the legal supply chain. 
An internecine conflict broke out in CAR in 2013 when Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, causing retaliations by "anti-balaka" Christian militias. 
Diamonds were used to fund opertions of the waring groups, a move that forced the Kimberley Process to ban the export of diamonds from the landlocked country. 
However, the diamond watchdog partially lifted the ban this year. 
Partnership Africa Canada urged the Kimberley Process to place Cameroon under special measures, which would require a tightening of internal controls within a three-month period. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Former JBT Chief Chosen as GIA Chair

6 Dec

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) elected industry veteran Dione Kenyon as chair of its board of governors. 
Kenyon, who recently retired as president and chief executive officer of the Jewelers Board of Trade, will take over the role from John Green, president and CEO of jewelry chain Lux Bond & Green, who remains on the board. 
Barbara Dutrow, a geology professor at Louisiana State University, and Stephen Kahler, senior vice president of global sales for Swarovski Gemstones, were inducted as new members of the board. 
Meanwhile, Glenn Nord, a former president of the GIA and a board member since 1983, was named governor emeritus. 
The appointments were confirmed at the GIA’s November board meeting at its headquarters in Carlsbad, California. 

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IDE: Registration now open for Israel’s International Diamond Week

7 Dec

Registration has officially begun for the sixth International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI), to be held from February 13 to 16, 2017, on the trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), says a release from IDE. 
According to IDE President Yoram Dvash, the upcoming IDWI will attract many more international diamantaires than in the past. Dvash says that he is calling on members of all diamond bourses affiliated to the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) to attend the event. “This year we are working in cooperation with the WFDB to bring members of all the bourses, making this a truly “interbourse” event,” Dvash said.
The incoming chairman of IDWI Haim Volner said that he was confident that the next International Diamond Week would be bigger and better than previous ones. “IDWI has established a reputation as a prime trading opportunity for diamond dealers. We have upgraded the event with a new format and other new features, which we’ll announce later on,” he added. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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The KP Chair recognises PAC report on conflict diamonds

7 Dec

The report from Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) detailing the entry of conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic (CAR) via international markets into Cameroon, has been acknowledged by the UAE KP Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, who while recognising the findings has reiterated calls for more dedicated resources to look into and address these types of issues, according to a statement released by the organisation. 
“We endorse the need for an ‘on-the-ground’ approach in countries which have been subject to sanctions,” said Bin Sulayem. “As a result, this should not be limited to the area of generic policy-setting, but rather, there needs to be concrete push towards establishing workable structures through which issues can be managed in a sustainable way, such that it allows people in sanctioned countries to continue to make a living without not having to engage in illicit trade to survive.” ‎ 
“As the PAC study correctly notes, the actual rough diamond production of Cameroon is extremely small. The larger picture is, of course, the illicit trade coming from CAR. In particular, when we consider that 1 out of 4 people in CAR live directly or indirectly from mining diamonds, we must ensure that we are not inhibiting or starving a population by making rules, procedures and guidelines that will prevent them entirely from being economically active,“ he added. 
The KP Chair confirmed full agreement with the PAC study recommendation to the Governments of CAR and Cameroon to revoke the trading licenses of individuals and companies that engage in any illicit trade; to make sure that the channels of authorised exports from compliant Zones are used to bring the CAR back to normalization; and to hold to account those who, until now, have been able to operate without impunity. 
Bin Sulayem concluded: “As KP Chair, we hope that the first steps towards the implementation of this KP Permanent Secretariat can be carried out under our successor, Australia, and we continue to look forward to being actively engaged in this process and pledge to support in any way we can within our mandate.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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ALROSA announces sales results for November 2016

7 Dec

ALROSA, the world leader in diamond mining, has announced rough and polished diamond sale results for November 2016. 
Rough diamond sales by ALROSA Group in November 2016 amounted to USD 245.6 million. Polished diamond sales for the same period amounted to USD 9.6 million. 
Total diamond sales in November 2016 amounted to USD 255.2 million, 63% higher compared to the same period last year. 
“The market activity at year-end was affected by India’s currency reform in November. One of its effects was a temporary decline in the activity of India’s small and middle-size diamond cutting companies, which also affected the low-end small-size rough diamond segment. Activity in other market segments remains high,” says Yury Okoemov, ALROSA Vice President.

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Global rough-diamond production increased by 2% in 2015 to 127 million carats - Bain & Company

7 Dec

Continuing the trend from the past eight years, global rough-diamond production volume remained relatively stable, increasing by 2% in 2015 to 127 million carats, according to the sixth annual report on the global diamond jewelry prepared by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Bain & Company. 
The largest production increases occurred in Australia and Russia as Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine increased output, ALROSA moderately increased production, in line with previously announced plans, and the Grib mine accounted for new supply. The largest drop occurred in Africa, as De Beers cut mining output in Botswana several times throughout the year in response to changing market dynamics. 
Rough-diamond sales declined 24% in 2015 as midstream players reacted to sluggish demand for polished stones and high prices for rough diamonds by cutting orders and selling down their inventories in the second half of 2015. The combined market share of ALROSA and De Beers fell from about 70% in 2014 to about 60% in 2015 due to considered efforts to decrease supply. Smaller players held production steady and increased their shares. 
After a decline of about 15% in late 2015, rough prices remained at the same lower level throughout most of 2016. Although both ALROSA and De Beers have reduced production, global year-over-year sales for rough diamonds have grown more than 20% in 2016 because of increased sales volumes—including accumulated inventories. The revenue outlook for full-year 2016 is very positive, based on strong sales by major producers at recent Sights in preparation for the holiday season. 
In 2015, retail sales of diamond jewelry grew 3% at constant exchange rates but declined about 2% in US dollar terms. The US remained the sales growth engine of the global diamond jewelry market, as the same-store revenues of mainstream US jewelry retailers improved, reflecting strong middle-class consumption. Greater China is still rebalancing as slowing tourist flows to Hong Kong and Macao offset otherwise positive dynamics in mainland China. Europe and Japan in 2015 benefited from the shift of spending by Chinese consumers from Hong Kong and Macao. This shift was reflected in positive consumption growth in euro and yen terms. Strong macro-demographic trends powered positive consumption dynamics in India. The strong US dollar nonetheless pushed growth in those markets into negative territory in dollar terms, report says. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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Debswana to extend mine life of Letlhakane

9 Dec

Debswana, a joint venture company between De Beers and the Botswana government, has made “significant progress” in the implementation of the Letlhakane mine tailings resource treatment project (LMTRTP). 
The project, which was expected to be commissioned during the third quarter of 2017, would extend the lifespan of the mine by 25 years. 
“The LMTRTP is currently at 80 percent of overall completion, while structural and electrical installations remain on course,” African News Agency quoted Debswana corporate affairs manager Matshidiso Kamona as saying. 
Debswana stopped all opencast mining operations at Letlhakane mid-November saying the mine had reached the end of its economic lifespan. 
Debswana has also engaged experts to examine the possibility of extending the lifespans of its Damtshaa and Orapa mines beyond their projected exhaustion date of 2050, African News Centre reports. 
Damtshaa was placed on care and maintenance last January. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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ALROSA will invest RUB 16 billion into environmental protection

9 Dec

ALROSA, having embarked on an environmental protection program for 2011-2018, will invest more than RUB 16 billion in environmental safety. Andrey Zharkov, President of ALROSA speaking about the implementation of this program in an interview with the Yakutia Daily, said that ALROSA had already spent more than RUB 12.4 billion for the environmental safety during the first five years of this program, thus having used up 75% of the allotted amount.
"Most of the funds were invested in the construction and reconstruction of environmental protection facilities. The program also provides scientific and technical support for environmental activities - this includes design and development, as well as research works, pilot testing and introducing new technologies," Andrey Zharkov said, adding that on top of this the company had performed a large amount of work to restore damaged land and replenish flora and fauna resources.
According to him, ALROSA put into operation highly ecological mining machinery and increased the number of dust and gas catching plants, which helped to reduce emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere, while the company’s transition to underground mining reduced areas of disturbed land.
The company intends to transfer all its vehicles from liquid fuel to gas and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2023 to 0.50 million tons, which is one half of the current rates.
Andrey Zharkov also said that ALROSA is proactively investing in safety, reducing the risk of accidents. "The statistics is as follows: in the past five years, the number of accidents at our operations has decreased by half,” he said. “The company is employing 250 people who have a rescuer status with the right to conduct rescue works."
"In 2015-2016, the company successfully passed inspections for compliance with the requirements of the ISO 14001:2004 international standard and those of the GOST R ISO 14001-2007 national standard," the president of ALROSA said in conclusion.

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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GIA introduces synthetic melee diamonds testing service

9 Dec

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has started accepting stones for its automated melee testing service, which identifies potential synthetics in batches of small diamonds. 
Following a five-month pilot, the GIA Melee Analysis Service is now open at most GIA laboratories for customers to submit round, 0.005 to 0.25-carat, D-Z color diamonds, the institute said. 
The rapid service processes 1,800 to 2,000 stones per hour, separating natural, untreated diamonds from simulants and potentially synthetic or treated diamonds. It then sorts the screened diamonds by color and returns them to the customer in a sealed package. 
GIA will charge $0.08 per stone for smaller diamonds, starting at the 0.90-1.49 millimeter range, and increase its prices gradually all the way up to $0.40 per stone for the 3.50-4.00 millimeter highest tier. 

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Angola literally littered with diamonds, says Lucapa CEO

9 Dec

Lucapa Diamond chief executive Stephen Wetherall said Angola is “literally littered with diamonds”. 
The company had been operating in the country for eight years on the Lulo project, which it owns together with Endiama and Rosas & Petalas. 
“Before you all rush off to Angola, bear in mind Lucapa uses some clever technology and processes to find its stones, specifically x-ray transmissive (XRT) technology,” he was quoted as saying by Proactive Investors. 
He claimed that Lulo was now delivering the “highest” dollars per carat prices in the world. 
“Over the last eight years we have evolved the resource on alluvial diamonds to such an extent that we have been able to deliver an alluvial diamond mine, which is now delivering the highest dollars per carat prices in the world in 2016,” Wetherall said. 
He also said that the company had advanced its kimberlite exploration programme, identifying significant targets that would help it in its primary goal, which was “searching for the kimberlite source”. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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ALROSA meets long-term clients

9 Dec

Andrey Zharkov, the President of PJSC ALROSA, the world leader in diamond mining, participated in the Annual business meeting with the Company’s long-term clients. 
Participants of the meeting from more than 70 companies from around the world had a chance to discuss with ALROSA’s management diamond market trends, the Company’s sales structure, and assess ALROSA’s steps on developing its sales methods and geography. 
The Company reported preparing to a new contract period that is to start in 2018. The participants studied the trading sessions schedule for 2017. 
ALROSA announced that in 2017 all competitive bidding will be held online on a platform for electronic tenders developed by the Company. Test sales on the new platform were held in 2016 and received a positive feedback from the participants. 
Since 2017, ALROSA will start regular special-size diamond auctions in Vladivostok and is planning to resume special-size diamond auctions in New York, USA. The Company also reported its plans to open a representative office in Mumbai, India. 
To maintain the demand in the domestic market against the background of the abolition of export duty on export of rough diamonds, ALROSA decided to grant a payment grace period up to 180 days to buyers in the domestic market for up to 50% of the contract value (including VAT) secured with a bank guarantee. 
The annual business meeting with the Company’s long-term clients was held in the scope of the ALROSA ALLIANCE program development. 
ALROSA ALLIANCE unites ALROSA’s loyal clients who meet high standards of business conduct and possess a keen insight in the diamond market. All ALROSA’s clients who signed long-term agreements for the supply of gem-quality rough diamonds are granted the right to use the ALROSA ALLIANCE logo. The logo was designed to identify a customer who makes part of the range of loyal buyers of rough diamonds.

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De Beers cut rough diamond prices 5pc – report

13 Dec

De Beers slashed rough diamond prices by 5 percent this year despite a marked improvement of the diamond market, according to reports. 
Rapaport quoted Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani as saying that diamond prices dropped from January to November, while prices of other commodities in the conglomerate’s portfolio “rose significantly”. 
He said unlike diamonds, platinum prices rose 17 percent, copper 21 percent and iron ore 73 percent during the period. 
Anglo was the parent company of De Beers. 
De Beers rough price index eased 6 percent in the first half, with most of the decline seen in January, according to De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver. 
However, Rapaport reports that despite lower prices, De Beers was expected to drive growth at Anglo American this year as diamond sales grew in the first half whereas revenue fell from each of its other core commodities – coal, platinum and iron ore. 
Meanwhile, an analyst at Panmure Gordon & Co. Kieron Hodgson was quoted as saying that the diamond sector, on average, saw a strong recovery of value in the first quarter, recovering much of the lost ground from 2015, alongside the wider mining sector. 
“While the absolute performance of diamonds has lagged peer commodities, we believe the longer term fundamentals remain robust for price appreciation, albeit with lower volatility,” he said. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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ALROSA President Andrey Zharkov to be guest of honour at IDWI

13 Dec

ALROSA President Andrey Zharkov will be the guest of honor at the International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI) being held February 13 – 16, 2017 at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), says a Press note from IDE. 
Zharkov's visit is timed to coincide with the opening of the IDE International Tender Center, which will hold tenders of rough and polished diamonds by major rough producers and diamond traders. 
While in Israel, Zharkov will meet with the leaders of IDE to discuss the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding which was signed last year, and also address a group of leading IDE firms where he will present ALROSA's vision for the next several years and the challenges facing the global diamond industry. 
IDE President Yoram Dvash said that he welcomes the visit of ALROSA President Zharkov at the International Diamond Week. “ALROSA is a very significant player in the type of diamonds that the Israeli industry focuses on. Over the past several years ALROSA has supplied a growing quantity of such stones to the Israeli market, and we aim to expand this trade.” 
Andrey Zharkov said: “I am happy to attend the International Diamond Week in Israel. This will be an excellent opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest with the bourse leaders and with potential and existing clients, as well as to present ALROSA's plans in response to the current and future challenges we face.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Kimberley projects higher output at Lerala in December

13 Dec

Kimberley Diamonds said it is set to process 62,500 tonnes of ore this month and recover about 12,500 carats at Lerala Diamond Mine in Botswana. 
The company processed 46,085 tonnes of ore in November yielding a total of 9,338 carats at a recovered grade of 20.26 cpht. 
It also processed 52,408 tonnes of ore in October and realised 10,156 carats. 
“The lower processed ore tonnes in November compared to that achieved in October was the result of significant maintenance being performed on the existing secondary scrubber early in the month,” it said. 
“Increased throughput over the remainder of the month partially offset this stoppage.” 
Kimberley applied to the ASX for removal from the official list as its shares were trading at a price that it believed was materially lower than the underlying value of its assets. 
Meanwhile, the company said that it had since October raised additional debt of A$ 2.9 million and repaid A$ 1.0 million. 
It had a total debt of A$ 22.6 million. 
The company said it required further funding to complete its performance improvement plan and for additional working capital. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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ABN AMRO forecasts recovery of polished diamond prices

13 Dec

According to an ABN AMRO forecast, polished diamond prices will rise next year thanks to improved economic conditions that boost U.S. and Chinese demand. 
U.S. jewelry consumption will grow amid a stronger labor market and rising housing prices, the bank said. Anticipated tax cuts together with higher infrastructure and defense spending will play a central role in boosting economic growth in the U.S. 
“The overall diamond price index is in the process of bottoming out,” the report said, pointing out that the pace of retreat in polished prices has slowed. “We expect demand for polished diamonds to pick up in 2017, driven by an improvement in U.S. and Chinese jewelry demand.” 
ABN AMRO raised its forecast for China’s economic growth to 6.5 percent from 6 percent. “Against this more constructive outlook, we expect the Chinese middle class to grow and diamond jewelry demand to rise over time,” the bank projected. 
Stronger jewelry demand will go hand in hand with an improvement in the internal structure of the diamond industry, which has suffered from an imbalance between rough and polished prices in recent years, the report noted. Price fluctuations will better reflect end consumer demand as the midstream has been forced to be more conservative in its rough buying due to lower availability of credit, ABN AMRO added. 
Meanwhile, the bank predicted that global rough production will be stable at about 126 million carats next year. In the long term, output is expected to decline by an average of 1 percent per year because of lower ore grade, the depletion of existing deposits and the absence of new discoveries. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow
 

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SMEs in Indian diamond cutting centres adversely affected

14 Dec

The aftermath of 'Demonetization' has spawned many reports but a recent one reveals the scenario in the diamond cutting centres in India. Till date, small unit owners and traders in Surat were losing 2.5% of profit to over 1,000 chopdawalas who operate in the diamond markets of Varachha and Mahidharpura in Surat, as per a report in Times of India. 
According to the report, Chopdawalas are the messiahs of small and medium diamond units, who are not registered under the Factories Act as they help them evade income tax and municipal tax. These diamantaires take their services in importing roughs from Antwerp and to sell polished diamonds. If a diamantaire wants to purchase rough diamonds from Antwerp, he has to deposit cash with a chopdawala. In turn, the chopdawala issues a cheque to the diamond trader in Antwerp. For this, the chopdawala charges anything between 4% and 5% on the total value of goods. 
Advocating legitimate business practices, the GJEPC regional Chairman & Surat Diamond Association (SDA) President, Dinesh Navadiya says, "We have been telling the small unit owners to maintain books of accounts, but in vain. Now, after demonetization, they themselves will understand the importance of accounting." 
A news item in bloomberg.com suggests that recent growth has been slower than estimated and that inflation slumped below RBI's target as Modi’s move dents demand. 
The report also says that Consumer prices rose 3.9 % in November which would be the slowest pace in 15 months and below the 4 percent mid-point of the Reserve Bank of India’s inflation target; RBI's interest rates being unchanged at a six-year-low on Dec. 7 has lowered the full-year growth forecast. The Asian Development Bank on Tuesday cut its forecast for India’s 2016 gross domestic product expansion to 7 percent from 7.4 percent citing weak investment, a slowdown in agriculture and the cash shortage; and sales of two-wheeler vehicles fell 5.9 percent in November, the first decline since December 2015. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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De Beers reports lowest diamond sales for 2016 – but sees ‘good demand’ compared to 2015

14 Dec

Anglo American said De Beers earned $418 million from its tenth rough diamond sales cycle compared with the revised $476 million value of the ninth sales cycle of 2016. 
The latest rough diamond sales were the lowest this year with the April sales of $666 million being the highest. 
De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver said the company “continued to see good demand” for its rough diamonds. 
The latest sales cycle were higher compared to $248 million raked in, a year earlier. 
“While the trade in lower value rough diamonds is experiencing a temporary slowdown as a result of the demonetisation programme in India, demand across the rest of the product mix continued to be healthy and overall sales remained in line with seasonal expectations,” said Cleaver. 
De Beers’ competitor, Alrosa of Russia, recently reported rough diamond sales of $245.6 million for November compared to $430.8 million in October. 
"The market activity at year-end was affected by India's currency reform in November," said ALROSA vice president Yury Okoemov. 
"One of its effects was a temporary decline in the activity of India's small and middle-size diamond cutting companies, which also affected the low-end small-size rough diamond segment. Activity in other market segments remains high." 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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KP Chair meets Istanbul Chamber of Jewelry to discuss growth of diamond industry in Turkey

14 Dec

The UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair) Ahmed Bin Sulayem, held a series of meetings with industry stakeholders in Turkey, focusing on raising consumer confidence in the diamond industry and supporting the country’s development as a trading hub for the sector, says a Press note from the organisation. 
Bin Sulayem met with leading representatives of the Istanbul Chamber of Jewelry including Norayr İşler, Chairman of the Board of Directors and a host of other industry leaders. Additionally, on the sidelines of these meetings, Bin Sulayem also met with senior officials from Borsa Istanbul to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the body and DMCC thus building a strategic partnership between the UAE and Turkey in the jewelry and diamond industry. 
“While Turkey is still a developing market in the diamond trade, its demographics and affluent populace make it a consumer market with significant potential. On behalf of the KP, we commend the progress made by the Turkish authorities with the progress and look forward to working more closely with industry stakeholders in the years ahead to ensure Turkey continues to grow as a consumer and trade hub,” said Bin Sulayem. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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BIS makes hallmarking of gold jewellery mandatory from Jan 1st

15 Dec

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MCA), Government of India, has made hallmarking of gold ornaments mandatory for three categories beginning 2017. 
Effective January 1, jewellers in India will need to hallmark the 22, 18 and 14 carat jewellery they sell to consumers. At present, gold ornaments with all purity levels between 9 and 24 carat are available for consumers but hallmarking is not compulsory, though organised sector jewellers offer hallmarked gold jewellery in 22 carat and diamond studded jewellery in 18 carat. 
"Gold and gold alloys shall be classified in accordance with their fineness in grades of 22, 18 and 14 carat. These classifications are applicable for gold jewellery/artefacts also. The maximum permissible limits of cadmium and each of platinum group metals in gold alloys for manufacturing jewellery/artefacts and gold solders are 0.02% and 0.05%, respectively," said the revised BIS guidelines dispatched to its jeweller members and associations last week. 
In addition, the BIS has introduced a re-testing clause allowing negative tolerance of 2 parts per thousand, which would take care of marginal failures in market samples. Also, jewellery below 2 gm would need to be hallmarked under the new guidelines, which had been kept out in the earlier rules. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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DiamondCorp rakes in over $590 000 from Lace diamonds sale

15 Dec

DiamondCorp said it sold 5,116.6 carats recovered at its Lace mine in South Africa for $590,745, representing $115.46 per carat. 
The diamonds were recovered before it was placed into business administration last month. 
It said the parcel sold comprised run of mine production with five stones larger than 10 carats and the largest stone being a 19.43 carat non-gem diamond. 
However, all the larger goods were either non-gem or contained carbon inclusions or cracks that resulted in reduced valuations. 
DiamondCorp said a lack of high-quality gems among the larger stones sold in its last two sales led to the average carat value for the year to date falling to $146.0 per carat, 11 percent lower than its forecast average of $164.0 per carat. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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ALROSA repaid $370 mln bank loan

15 Dec

On 14 December, 2016 ALROSA repaid a $370 mln bank loan to JSC UniCredit Bank received in April 2014. 
The bank loan was repaid with cash from operations, thus reducing debt down to $2.3 bn. 
"As part of the consistent implementation of the balanced strategy of liquidity management and deleveraging, we repaid bank loan from JSC UniCredit Bank ahead of schedule. Early debt repayment became possible due to increased FCF, which is related to main products sales recovery in 2016", - commented Igor Kulichik, CFO and Vice President of ALROSA.
 

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Biggest gem quality diamonds born from metallic liquid deep inside Earth’s mantle - study

16 Dec

According to a recently conducted study, the world’s biggest and most-valuable diamonds are formed from metallic liquid deep inside Earth’s mantle, Science magazine reported. 
The research team, led by Evan Smith of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), studied large gem diamonds like the world-famous Cullinan or Lesotho Promise by examining their so-called “offcuts,” which are the pieces left over after the gem’s facets are cut for maximum sparkle. They determined that these diamonds sometimes have tiny metallic grains trapped inside them that are made up of a mixture of metallic iron and nickel, along with carbon, sulfur, methane, and hydrogen. 
These inclusions indicate that the diamonds formed, like all diamonds, in the Earth’s mantle, but they did so under conditions in which they were saturated by liquid metal. The research shows that pure carbon crystalized from this pool of liquid metal in order to form the large gem diamonds. 
Most diamonds form at depths around 90-150 miles under the continents. But so-called “superdeep” diamonds form much deeper—at depths below 240 miles. 
"We verify previous predictions that Earth has highly reducing deep mantle regions capable of precipitating a metallic iron phase that contains dissolved carbon and hydrogen…The existence of this metal mixture has broad implications for our understanding of deep Earth processes," Smith said. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

 

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Belgian Parliament approved Carat Tax

16 Dec

The Parliament of Belgium legislated the Carat Tax on Thursday. It took almost five months for the lawmakers to come to this decision after the European Commission approved the said tax at the end of July this year, noting that diamond companies in the country will continue to pay a fair share of taxes on their business, but at the same time they will cease to face difficulties in assessing their inventories.
Per local media, the tax will be levied annually and is to provide EUR 50 million of revenues to the country’s budget. Even though the vast majority of diamantaires will pay higher taxes than before under this legislation, the new tax regime will greatly improve the predictability and stability in the diamond business, as traders will have a clear idea of tax deductions they are to pay.
"At long last, predictability and stability have arrived in the Antwerp diamond industry in the form of the new tax regime for all registered diamond companies. Today, the Belgian Parliament adopted the new regime, enshrined in law by the Belgian Federal Government, which will be applicable to all registered diamond traders as from tax year 2017 (income year 2016)," writes the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).
The AWDC believes this will make the diamond business more attractive for banks in terms of financing. In addition, companies will be interested to conduct an independent assessment of their inventories, which in turn will increase the transparency of their transactions, as well as the confidence towards them on the part of banks.
It is expected that the tax law will be mandatory for wholesale companies based in Belgium in terms of their income derived from diamond trade, but excluding their other business activities. Diamond mining companies, which have offices in Belgium, as well as brokerage firms, diamond labs and other service providers do not fall under the Carat Tax.
Some industry observers believe that the Carat Tax enacted by the Belgian Parliament will increase the competitiveness of Antwerp’s diamond hub, enhancing its appeal to diamantaires and attracting additional business.

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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ALROSA names a diamond after 70-year anniversary of Russian ice hockey

19 Dec

ALROSA announced it named a newly unearthed diamond after the 70-year anniversary of Russian national ice hockey. The diamond was produced from the Mir Pipe at Mirny processing plant №3 in November 2016. It weighs 50.44 carats and will bear the name of "70 Years of Russian Ice Hockey."   

Seventy years ago, in December 1946, the first Soviet Hockey Championship was launched. Since then hockey was the national pride and tradition in Russia. 
The current season is marked by the anniversary of national hockey. In this regard, the Russian Hockey Federation (RHF) held a series of events, including the exhibition at the Museum of Hockey, a series of retro style games, holiday events, large-scale charity event and much more. All this is aimed at the development and promotion of hockey in Russia and abroad.
ALROSA is the title sponsor of the Russian Hockey Federation in the current season and supports the Russian national team in international competitions. 

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ALROSA shares jumped above psychological level of RUB 100, VTB raises target price

19 Dec

ALROSA's shares jumped above the psychological level of 100 rubles per share on Wednesday, but they fell a bit below this mark on Thursday, according to the Moscow Exchange. Meanwhile, analysts of VTB Capital increased the target price of the company's stock from 105 rubles to 140 rubles. 
As reported by "Prime", a historical maximum price for ALROSA's shares of 107.016 rubles was established in December 2011. According to some analysts, ALROSA shares have risen on the news of a possible privatization of the company in 2017.
"We believe that the dynamics of ALROSA securities will be worse next year compared to a strong 2016 by fundamentals, but our model of the company after the update presupposes that ALROSA is in an excellent shape," VTB analysts said. "We believe that now is a good time to buy shares of ALROSA and we expect that a strong Christmas season will lead to a chain of revision of recommendations, pushing up the company's stock price." 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Koin International to hold first Polished Diamond Tender in Israel at IDWI

19 Dec

During the International Diamond Week (from February 13 – 16, 2017 in Israel) Koin International Diamond Tenders will hold its first tender in the country in cooperation with the new International Tender Center at the Israeli bourse. Koin specializes in tenders of rough and polished diamonds. 
Adam Schulman, Koin International CEO, said, “We are delighted to expand our rough and polished diamond operations to Israel, and look forward to a successful week for buyers and sellers.” 
Yoram Dvash, Israel Diamond Exchange President, said, “I am pleased that Koin will be holding a tender in Israel for the first time, and that they have taken a strategic decision to cooperate with our International Tender Center. I believe that we will see many more tenders by Koin here in the future.” 
Schulman said that the company will be bringing an exciting assortment of polished diamonds, with lots covering the spectrum of sizes, colors and qualities, including parcels and single stones (certified and uncertified). 
This year’s International Diamond Week will focus on tenders of rough and polished diamonds by major producers and independent suppliers. In keeping with Israel’s rising status as a diamond tender hub, the Israel Diamond Exchange will officially inaugurate its new International Tender Center during the week. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Request for Proposal for a Forensic Audit of Central African Republic Rough Diamond Stockpile

19 Dec

1. The Administrative Decision on the Central African Republic [Temporary Suspension] of May 23, 2013 was modified by the 2015 Administrative Decision of July 17, 2015 for Central African Republic’s (CAR) defining conditions for the resumption of trade in rough diamonds from “compliant zones”.

2. Under the supervision of a Monitoring Team, a forensic audit needs to be conducted of the rough diamond stockpiles held in the Central African Republic (CAR) per the criteria set forth in the Kimberley Process’ Operational Framework Agreement.

3. The audit will focus on assessing, to the extent possible, the place and date of the sourcing of the rough diamonds in the stockpiles.

4. The auditor is expected to report to the Kimberley Process’ Monitoring Team on results in a written report and to make itself available by conference call.

5. The auditor will be selected taking into consideration the following criteria:

1.) A broad a level of knowledge and experience in the rough diamond industry; previous experience with certification scheme, protocols and guidelines;

2.) Proficiency in rough diamond valuations; experience and up‐to‐date technical knowledge of rough diamond pricing.

3.) Knowledge and experience of audit processes in the rough diamond industry under certification guidelines; the ability to assess the effectiveness of available methodologies for controlling the chain of provenance (from extraction to point of sale) of rough diamonds.

4.) Experience in audit processes involving the production of a detailed stockpile inventory; the ability to extract and catalogue relevant information/data on stockpiles related to set “Terms of References”.

5.) Thorough knowledge and experience of working on the ground in Africa in artisanal and alluvial diamond mining; in-depth knowledge of issues related to the alluvial and artisanal mining sector. 

6. Proposals are to be sent to the Administrative Support Mechanism of the Kimberley Process at focalpointASM@kimberleyprocess.com before 15.01.2017.

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Merlin Finds First Blue Diamond at Australia Mine

20 Dec

Merlin Diamonds recovered a 0.124-carat blue diamond at its mine in Australia, which it claims is the first stone of that color to be excavated at the site. 
The recovery occurred during the ramp-up phase of the Merlin Diamond Project in the country’s northern territory. Albeit relatively small-sized, the discovery still shows the potential for discovering valuable colored diamonds from the mine, the company said. 
Merlin Diamonds, formerly North Australian Diamonds, acquired the project from Rio Tinto in 2004. 
Australia is a major source of colored diamonds, with Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia accounting for more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of pink diamonds. 

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Armenian Jewelers Association delegation to attend IDWI 2017

26 Dec

A high-level delegation of the Armenian Jewelers Association (AJA) headed by its President Sarkis Nourian will attend the 6th International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI) from February 13-16, 2017 as guests of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE). A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed with the Israeli exchange at the IDWI, under the auspices of the Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri, President of the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), says a press statement from IDE. 
IDE President Yoram Dvash said, “I am pleased that the AJA will be sending an official delegation to Israel’s Diamond Week. Armenian jewelers have a unique and longstanding heritage as jewelry makers, and they have made an important contribution to the jewelry industry around the world. We are very happy that AJA has agreed to cooperate with the Israeli diamond industry to advance the diamond jewelry sector, especially in light of the investments we have made to strengthen this area.” 
AJA President Sarkis Nourian said, “We are very pleased to have been invited by the Israeli Diamond Exchange to attend the International Diamond Week in Israel. We are bringing a delegation in order to explore channels of cooperation and to create a formal framework for collaboration. We know that this exhibition is of great importance to the bourse, and it offers us an excellent opportunity to learn about the industry and to meet its members,” he said. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Rockwell’s Remhoogte and Saxendrift sold to Nelesco Proprietary 318 for R45 million

26 Dec

Rockwell sealed a deal to sell its Remhoogte and Saxendrift diamond mines to Nelesco Proprietary 318 as part of its recently announced strategic repositioning and business turnaround plans. The diamond miner is expected to receive a cash payment of R45 million. The sale will involve the transfer of 98 employees.
In a statement released last week Rockwell said the payment will be made in three tranches, the first being R20 million upon the completion of certain suspensive conditions, expected by January 31, 2017, the second  being R15 million due on  completion of the registration of the Saxendrift farm in the name of Nelesco, and the balance of R10 million upon the completion of and consents to assign certain contracts, the Section 11 transfer approval of the mineral properties to the name of Nelesco as well as the consent of the Takeover Regulation Panel of South Africa.
During the period up to completion of all conditions, Nelesco will operate on a contract mining basis with a royalty payable to the Company of 2.5% of revenue from diamonds recovered from properties covered by the transaction and be responsible for any related rehabilitation liabilities.
In addition, the transaction provides for the lease of the Saxendrift office and accommodation complex back to the Company for a period of twenty years as well as access to water. The Company will provide electricity to Nelesco at cost.
“This transaction represents a significant milestone in our repositioning plans for the ‘new Rockwell,’ explains the CEO Tjaart Willemse. “It not only brings in cash in addition to the recently announced funding by two of the key shareholders and a third party, but also disposes of non-core assets and associated liabilities, leaving the new Rockwell to focus on completing the next phase and ramp up of the Wouterspan mine and processing plant and advance its portfolio of development and exploration properties. The transfer of 98 employees also assists with our employee right sizing initiative and reduces the number of retrenchees.”
“I am very appreciative of the support we are getting from our investors and commercial suppliers and particularly our employees during this challenging time, and with this transaction now well advanced to completion stage, and our plant expansion and commissioning in progress, we are excited by what the new Rockwell will deliver,” he added.

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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ALROSA may increase its Catoca stake

26 Dec

(vedomosti.ru) – ALROSA may increase its stake in the Catoca project in Angola. The diamond company is interested in the share, which subsequently will consolidate revenues and reserves, ALROSA's president Andrei Zharkov told Forbes.
The joint venture Catoca in Angola was established in 2014. ALROSA and Angola's Endiama own 32.8% of the company each. Another 18% are owned by the China Sonagol International, and 16,4% belong to Brazil's Odebrecht. Representatives of ALROSA and other shareholders of Catoca did not comment on the issue. 
ALROSA plans to boost its Catoca share at the expense of Brazilian company, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said. ALROSA has to buy 17.2% to gain controlling stake, which will add about 15% of the diamond production and 15-20% of net profit to the company, analysts at BCS wrote in a review. The company may also buy more shares from the Chinese company, they add. 

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Gemfields finds U.S. consumers buying habits for rubies, sapphires and emeralds

26 Dec

According to the recent study conducted by Gemfields, U.S. consumers care more about the color of rubies, sapphires and emeralds more than carat weight. Also, they generally spend about $1,400 on pieces set with these stones. 
Conducted by a third party company, the study was designed to gauge the overall size and potential of the market and to better understand consumers’ beliefs and perceptions about the value, price and use of “precious” gemstone jewelry. 
The study surveyed a nationally representative sample of about 12,900 consumers between the ages of 21 and 64. 
Of those, the survey found that about 31 percent had acquired jewelry featuring a ruby, emerald or sapphire within the past 24 months. That figure jumps to 41 percent for millennials, who also are almost twice as likely to use social media and mobile devices to research jewelry as non-millennials. 
When it came to the most important attributes of a stone leading to purchase, color and clarity were tops--even more important than carat weight--while the stone’s country of origin was a significantly less influential factor. 
The average price paid for a piece of jewelry with precious colored stones is $1,386, the study found. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Lucara to sell 1100-carat diamond in H1 2017

30 Dec

Lucara Diamond Corp. plans to sell the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond during the first half of 2017. In June, the famous rough diamond failed to find a buyer at an auction. 
The diamond missed its reserve price of $70 million at a Sotheby's as the highest bid came in at $61 million. 
The stone, which is the second largest rough diamond ever recovered, is currently undergoing analysis to determine the most valuable way it can be polished. Lucara expects the analysis will be completed midway through the first quarter before it initiates another sales process. 
The stone will not be placed on auction again, William Lamb, Lucara's president and CEO said to Rapaport News. 
“We have not yet determined the best mechanism for the sales event. It will not be an auction,” Lamb said. The most likely format will be a single bid offer, which may or may not be sealed, Lamb added. He also ruled out partnering with another company as Lucara did when it sold the 813-carat Constellation diamond by retaining a 10 percent interest in the stone. 
“We have had a significant number of people continue to show interest in the stone,” Lamb reported. Only those diamantaires who have directly requested it will be given the data ahead of an “exclusive sales event. We do not have a time for when this will occur but the hope is that we will be able to finalize its sale within the first half of 2017,” Lamb said. 

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De Beers expects more future volatility in global diamond markets

30 Dec

After the publication of De Beers’ 2014 Diamond Insight Report the diamond company identified new global and regional trends which involve changes in macro-economic trends in emerging economies, as well as volatility in world economic growth forecasts. 
De Beers also stressed the need for diamond industry participants to strengthen their competitive capabilities through better planning and more investment in innovation and marketing. 
The new 2016 Diamond Insight Report focuses on a range of new market developments to come, namely new consumer preferences, with millennials becoming the increasingly more important age group, and economic empowerment driving purchases among women. Also, the rising competition from other luxury categories is set to increase product customization and retail innovation, argues De Beers. 
Meanwhile, financing challenges for midstream are expected to persist, and polishers will have to adapt by adhering to tighter lending and professional standards, leading to more transparency of the supply chain. 
As for diamond producers, larger share of rough diamonds is expected to come from ever deeper mines, which are complex and costly to operate. Additional investment is required by producers to drive productivity, says De Beers, though production is expected to remain predictable and relatively stable over the next 10 years. 
According to De Beers analysts, while consumer demand for synthetic diamonds is currently negligible, the capacity to produce synthetics for gem applications is likely to continue to expand. Over time, the production cost and value of synthetics are expected to reduce. 
Independent analysts from major banks expect diamond jewellery sales to grow driven by the U.S., while pressure on midstream margins are seen to persist. Their findings are for major part consistent with those of De Beers' Report. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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ALROSA to auction 10+ct polished and rough diamonds during IDWI

30 Dec

ALROSA will hold a tender of both polished and rough diamonds during Israel’s sixth International Diamond Week (IDWI), February 13-16, 2017 at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE).
The auction will offer 108 boxes of rough diamonds of 11 to 199 carats, and several unique white and fancy color polished diamonds, weighing from 10 to 80 ct, including five that were cut from one huge rough stone, says a 'Release' from IDE. 
The centerpiece of the ALROSA auction is the 80.59 ct round “Star of Viluysk”, which will be exhibited on the IDE trading floor during IDWI along with the company’s other special stones. 
ALROSA's President Andrey Zharkov will be guest of honor at IDWI. His visit is timed to coincide with the opening of IDE International Tender Center, which will house tenders of rough and polished diamonds by major rough producers and diamond traders. 
ALROSA, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds in terms of carats, has held regular tenders of polished and rough diamonds at the Israeli bourse for several years. 
Recently ALROSA and IDE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at increasing cooperation between the two organizations in a variety of areas. During Zharkov’s stay he and his team will meet with the leaders of IDE to discuss specific terms of the MOU, including increased rough supply. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Trade Deciplinary Committee set up at GJEPC-AGM

30 Dec

Significant decisions were taken at the Annual General Body Meeting of The Gem & Jewellery Export Council (GJEPC) of India held on December 20, 2016, says a report in gjepc.org. 
Besides approving the changes in its code of ethics necessary to complete the process of the GJEPC induction as a member into the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), the AGM also approved the formation of the Trade Disciplinary Committee (TDC) by the GJEPC, together with the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) and the Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association (MDMA). 
The 21-member TDC will take up matters of misconduct related to the gems and jewellery trade like fraud; cheating; dealing in CVD, man-made, synthetic, lab grown, and unnatural diamonds without making disclosures; making false and incorrect inscription on gem and jewellery; non-compliance and/or breach of business practices (including financial disputes), customs and ethics; issues relating to bankruptcy of persons in trade more particularly as per trade customs and practices; any other or further matter that the TDC deems fit, in relation to the Industry. 
Praveenshakar Pandya, Chairman, GJEPC also decided to use demonetisation as an opportunity to ensure that the gems and jewellery industry works in an organised manner and to introduce a cashless system in its functioning. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Mir underground mine achieves nameplate capacity

30 Dec

ALROSA announced that Mir underground mine achieved its full projected capacity. In late December it produced 1 million tons of diamond ore. When such amounts the mine life can be extended by almost 50 years. 
Mir kimberlite pipe is a landmark diamond field for Russia. Here in the middle of the last century it began commercial production of diamonds. Since 2001, the open pit mining was discontinued, but the work continued with the construction of the underground mine. The "dry conservation" was implemented at the project, which entered the world history of the mining industry. The conservation was meant to prevent the ingress of water in underground workings, which is about 1200 cubic meters of highly mineralized brines an hour. ALROSA achieved this by laying a waterproof film at the bottom of the inactive quarry in 2004, and on top it dumped a drainage bag and put powerful pumps nearby.
The first diamonds from the underground mine were produced in 2009. Today, the Mir mine has five underground aquifers, and 800 people work here. Diamonds at the Mir are mined between -210 to -615 meter layers, which is the border of the first starting complex. The achievement of the full projected capacity at Mir has become the premier event for ALROSA in 2016. Now the mine will annually produce diamonds worth $400 million. 

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GJF elects new chairman and vice chairman for next 2 years

10 Jan

The All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), a national trade federation for the promotion and growth of trade in gems and jewellery across India, has appointed Nitin Khandelwal as Chairman and Pramod Agarwal as Vice Chairman for next two years. 
Nitin Khandelwal, Khandelwal Jewellers (Akola) Pvt. Ltd, who has been closely associated with GJF since its inception said, “I am indeed honoured by the opportunity given to me to lead the industry’s apex body. I believe that the industry must remain united and together to achieve greater prominence and growth for the Gems & Jewellery sector”. 
Pramod Agrawal of Derewala Jewellery Industries Ltd , who is focused on innovations and visualizing future trends, for the benefit of the industry said,“It is my proud privilege to work for the growth of this pivotal trade organization and contribute my vision for the development of its member jewellers across region”. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 
 

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U.S. Diamond Trade Slows in November

10 Jan

U.S. polished diamond imports slipped 2 percent to $1.59 billion in November, according to government data. By volume, imports rose 6 percent to 779,732 carats, with the average price declining 7 percent to $2,042 per carat. 
Polished exports grew 25 percent to $1.7 billion, driving net polished imports to negative $108.8 million versus positive $260.7 million a year ago. 
Rough imports more than doubled to $72.3 million versus $31.6 million a year ago, while rough exports jumped to $73.2 million from $19.8 million last year. Consequently, net rough imports slipped to negative $899,000 versus positive $11.8 million a year back. 
The U.S. net diamond account, reflecting the difference between net imports and exports, stood at negative $107.9 million compared with positive $248.9 million a year ago. 

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India to trade diamonds on commodity exchange by March 2017

10 Jan

After the Indian government allowed diamonds and a few more products for trading on exchange platform the country about three months ago, the Indian Commodity Exchange Ltd (ICEX) is in the final stages of launching diamond contracts that will allow even individuals to trade in diamonds. The final approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is expected soon and a formal launch is likely by March. 
Investors will be able to choose from three different monthly contracts for diamonds weighing 0.30-0.49 carats, 0.50-0.69 carats and 1-1.09 carats. 
ICEX, the Reliance Capital-promoted exchange, which has MMTC, Indiabulls Housing Finance and IDFC as major shareholders, has also tied up with International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR), a 100 per cent subsidiary of De Beers, for grading and packing of the diamonds. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Dunnedin Ventures raises $0.8M to finance diamond exploration in Canada

12 Jan

Canadian diamond exploration company Dunnedin Ventures based near Vancouver announced it has received gross proceeds of $835,000 from a combination of warrant exercise and flow through financing. 
The company's main focus is the advanced stage Kahuna Project in Nunavut, Canada. 
In November 2016 Dunnedin received $547,500 after it has issued 7,343,307 common shares. It has also closed a $287,000 flow-through financing on December 30, 2016. 
Proceeds from the flow-through offering will be used to finance qualified Canadian exploration expenditures (CEE) work primarily related to the Company’s Kahuna project in Nunavut. 
“Dunnedin is entering 2017 strongly positioned to benefit shareholders through ongoing exploration at the Kahuna project,” said Chris Taylor, Dunnedin’s CEO. “Review of our recently purchased Kahuna project data set is also underway and results will be released as analyses are completed.” 

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India demonetisation policy hits smaller, lower value rough diamonds trade – De Beers

12 Jan

De Beers said trade in smaller, lower value rough diamonds are currently experiencing a slowdown as a result of the demonetisation policy in India. 
However, group head of media relations Lynette Gould said in an exclusive interview with Rough & Polished that demand for their rough diamonds in the fourth quarter of 2016, the rest of the product mix, continued to be healthy. 
She said sales also remained in line with seasonal expectations. 
“Over the medium and long term, the supply-demand fundamentals of the diamond industry are positive and continue to point to future growth,” said Gould. 
“India’s diamond consumer market has achieved almost uninterrupted growth over the last two decades, with demand for diamond jewellery expanding in 19 of the last 20 years, in rupee terms. 
“In the last decade alone, the market has nearly trebled in size to about INR220 billion. And, the future is just as promising.” 
She said India was home to a highly dynamic, growing consumer market; fuelled by a fast expanding economy, a widening consumer base and a culture where precious jewellery plays an intrinsic role in social occasions and family traditions. 
“In particular, India’s middle classes are growing rapidly, with the purchasing power of the highest income households expected to rise at the fastest pace,” Gould said. 
“So in the long run, we believe there is as much untapped opportunity for the diamond industry in India as anywhere else in the world.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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ALROSA Group’s sales come near $4.5 billion in 2016

12 Jan

ALROSA, the world’s major diamond producer, posted rough and polished diamond sales for December 2016 and interim results for 2016.
Rough diamond sales by ALROSA Group amounted to $ 173 million in December 2016, while polished sales reached $ 3.3 million. Total diamond sales for the month were $ 176.3 million.
“Sales results in December in the small-size segment still reflect weakening of small and middle-size Indian diamond-cutting companies due to the monetary reform underway in this country. Activity in other market segments corresponded to the seasonality of demand and our expectations,” says Yury Okoemov, Vice President of ALROSA.
Preliminary data indicate that ALROSA Group raked in $ 4.486 billion from the sale of rough and polished diamonds in 2016, 26% up versus 2015.

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The London Diamond Bourse is to hold its open day on January 23

13 Jan

The London Diamond Bourse (LDB) will host its second Open Day on January 23 with hope to reveal new aspects of the bourse to the industry. The event is planned to provide an opportunity for visitors to discover new suppliers, network with each other or simply to see what the bourse has to offer. 
The LDB's Chief Operating Officer, Victoria McKay, said, “Members of the London Diamond Bourse are able to service the day-to-day sourcing requirements of the jewelry industry. We’re really pleased to host another Open Day as events like this enable trade professionals to network with our members and provide them with an opportunity to discover new suppliers, who have stock readily available in the UK."
According to the bourse, visitors will be able to view diamonds from melee to sizes, colored gemstones, fancy natural colored diamonds, watches, bespoke pieces, fine jewelry, ethical stones, restoration of antique jewelry, courier services, trade insurers all under one roof. 
Tickets are free but subject to security clearance. 
The LDB’s stock and services are available in the UK from members who subscribe to a code of conduct and all are regarded as of high standing, collectively comprising over 1,000 years of diamond knowledge. 
The London Diamond Bourse was formed in 1945. It is a prominent member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and is one of only 30 active diamond trading floors in the world. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Luxury jeweller Dhamani becomes a Select Atelier for Argyle Pink Diamonds

13 Jan

Mining major Rio Tinto Diamonds has welcomed Middle East luxury jeweller, Dhamani as a Select Atelier for Argyle Pink Diamonds, says a press note from the company. 
Dhamani now joins an exclusive group of master craftsman and luxury jewellers with access to a direct supply of Australia’s rare Argyle pink diamonds and entrusted with transforming Argyle pink diamonds into exquisite jewellery. 
Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said “Dhamani are an exciting Middle East luxury jeweller with over four decades of heritage and superb craftsmanship. The DPINK Collection is a glittering tribute to the beauty of Argyle’s pink diamonds and a powerful statement of Dhamani’s world-class luxury. We are delighted to welcome them as an Argyle Pink Diamonds Select Atelier.” 
Established in 1969, Dhamani is a second generation family business with a passion for rare diamonds and heirloom pieces of jewellery. Dhamani chief executive officer and managing director Amit Dhamani said “Since 1969 our family has been tirelessly devoted to working with the world’s rarest diamonds. Our new relationship with Argyle Pink Diamonds is a wonderful honour and showcases our commitment to working with the finest partners to support our prized client base of international jewellery connoisseurs.” 
The official launch of Dhamani as an Argyle Pink Diamonds Select Atelier occurred against the backdrop of Dubai Shopping Festival with the DPINK collection showcasing more than US$25 million of Argyle pink diamond jewellery. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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De Beers' Cleaver says millennials still buy diamond jewelry, albeit smaller pieces

13 Jan

In an interview with The Associated Press De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said that millennials are still purchasing diamonds, even though they are typically less affluent than their parents were at the same age. 
According to Cleaver, millennials are not as traditional as their parents. Representatives of this age group self-purchase more than their parents did, while they are prone to make joint purchase decisions when they're a couple, he adds. 
Asked if the company was changing its advertising strategy to reach them, Cleaver replied that while in the past diamond advertising showed a man buying for a woman, some of its adverts are being tailored to show a more modern couple where the purchasing decision is a joint decision. "It's actually a two-stone ring and the two stones are exactly the same size. That is very important because it symbolizes equality in the relationship." 
De Beers CEO says: "China in general consumes better-quality diamonds and is brand conscious. The U.S., being the enormous market that it is, just about consumes anything that gets offered for sale across the whole value chain. India is generally very small diamonds, lots and lots of very small diamonds." 
He said the U.S. market currently accounts for about 45 percent of global diamond jewelry demand. China, including Hong Kong, is about 16 percent. India is about 8 percent and Japan is about 5 percent, he added. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Sotheby’s Combines Luxury Categories

18 Jan

Sotheby’s launched a luxury and lifestyle division tapping seasoned auctioneer Marteen ten Holder as managing director of the business. 
The restructuring unites jewelry, watches, wine, cars and ‘experiences’ under one senior executive. 
Holder began his career at Sotheby’s in Amsterdam, playing a role in large country-house sales across Europe. Ten Holder was involved in jewelry sales including a record-breaking auction in Geneva in May 2016 that fetched $175 million. 
He has also been involved with car auctions since 2005. In November, he was an auctioneer for the RM Sotheby’s Duemila Ruote car sale in Milan, Europe’s “largest” automobile-collection sale, Sotheby’s said. The auction attracted more than 3,000 bidders and doubled pre-sale expectations with combined sales of $54.9 million. 
To fill the position, ten Holder will move to New York from London, where he was most recently managing director of Sotheby’s operations in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. 
 

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MIBA denies recovering large diamond in DRC – report

18 Jan

Societe Miniere de Bakwanga (MIBA), a joint Belgo-Congolese company in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has allayed reports that it recovered a white diamond weighing more than 87 carats worth over $6,000,000. 
The Congolese News Agency (ACP) had claimed that the stone was found from a kimberlite sieving at MIBA's new kimberlite cleansing facility (NLK). 
Diamond Loupe, citing Radio Okapi of DRC, quoted MIBA as saying that the cleaning facility was mothballed a decade ago. 
"MIBA nevertheless wishes to reaffirm that it holds in its safes a 146.24 carat stone produced on 21 December 2016, which will be sold in accordance with legal procedures when market conditions permit," it said. 
Diamond Loupe alleged that MIBA had been in “crisis for many years”. 
It was said to be “collapsing” under a social debt estimated at more than $150 million, although leaders of the mining company were promising an increase in mining production. 
About 80 percent of MIBA's stock was owned by the Congolese government with the remaining stake owned by former Umicore subsidiary Sibeka, which in turn was owned by Mwana Africa. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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ALROSA holds first series of diamond deposits space photographs

19 Jan

ALROSA held a space radar monitoring of earth's surface displacements near its diamond deposits. 
According to the new data, the company facilities are located in seismically stable condition. The movements of the earth's surface, though present, are minimal within acceptable norms and errors. 
The first series of radar satellite imagery took place from June to October last year at the Udachny deposit. In early January 2017, ALROSA received first data that formed the basis of a dynamic model of vertical displacements of the earth's surface that occurred at the Udachny deposit over the study period. The following series of photographs will be taken from June to September 2017.
Space studies are needed for the timely identification of possible displacements of the earth's surface areas of underground mining, deformation of boards and quarries' ledges, as well as natural and man-caused displacement structures located near of the deposit. 
The monitoring method using satellite radar interferometry has the advantage over ground-based geodetic observations and satellite geodesy. It enables the important coverage of large areas, taking into account the large area of ​​activity of mining and processing enterprises. This set of measures intended to improve industrial safety at subsoil mining sites. 
In2017-2018, the company will carry out regular independent assessment of displacements with millimeter precision at its diamond deposits with area totaling about 5,000 hectares. 

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Italian Exhibition Group received formal accreditation from ECOSOC

19 Jan

The Italian Exhibition Group Spa (IEG), the new trade show company created through the merger between Rimini Fiera and Fiera di Vicenza, received prestigious international recognition in New York on Thursday (January 12), when it was awarded formal accreditation through CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, from ECOSOC, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, for promoting and implementing activities relating to Corporate Social Responsibility along the jewellery and precious metal and gemstone supply chain. 
IEG informed that this year VICENZAORO edition will take place in Vicenza, Italy, from January 20 to 25. and is about to embark on its own mission to contribute directly to ethical, environmental and corporate social responsibility policies, under the ECOSOC umbrella. 
Matteo Marzotto, Vice Executive President of IEG, said: "We feel highly honoured by this recognition, which represents further confirmation of the status that our group and VICENZAORO has achieved, thanks in particular to the fruitful collaboration with CIBJO, in spreading the culture of CSR, with its social and economic implications, along the entire supply chain." 
This edition of VICENZAORO January will see the presentation of the Jewellery Corporate Social Responsibility Award, which is given to the company or person that is best judged to have made Corporate Social Responsibility, respect for human rights and ethical, social and environmental aspects within the gold and jewellery world the hallmark of their success. 

Алекс Шишло, шеф-редактор Европейского бюро Rough&Polished

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ALROSA President to take part in Davos Forum

20 Jan

ALROSA President Andrew Zharkov takes part in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The working agenda of the president of ALROSA aimed to exchange views during working meetings at the industrial community forum Mining & Metals and the WEF System Initiative on Future of Consumption. Zharkov plans to take part in the plenary session of the Forum, as well as a number of bilateral contacts with prominent representatives of the world mining industry and potential partners of ALROSA. On the final day of the forum, Zharkov is scheduled to participate in the session on the Business Cooperation with Russia.
This year, the World Economic Forum is held in Davos, Switzerland, from January 17 to 20. The main topic of the 47th Forum is the flexible and responsible leadership. The Forum expects around 3,000 participants from 70 countries. 

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North Arrow acquires Qilalugaq and Pikoo diamond projects from Stornoway

20 Jan

North Arrow Minerals Inc. has announced that it has acquired Stornoway Diamond Corporation's remaining interests in the Qilalugaq and Pikoo Diamond Projects. Upon closing the transaction, North Arrow will hold 100% interests in both projects. 
Ken Armstrong, President and CEO of North Arrow, stated, "The agreement announced today allows North Arrow to consolidate our ownership of the Qilalugaq and Pikoo Projects without up-front cash payments and provides the company with greater flexibility to manage continued evaluation of two of the most compelling exploration stage diamond projects in Canada." 
Under terms of the property purchase agreement, North Arrow will acquire Stornoway's approximate 18% interest in the Qilalugaq Project and approximate 15% interest in the Pikoo Project in exchange for 2,000,000 common shares of North Arrow. As additional consideration, Stornoway will retain 0.5% and 1.0% gross overriding royalties on diamonds and 0.5% and 1.0% net smelter returns royalties on base and precious metals mined from the Qilalugaq and Pikoo Projects. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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De Beers to pilot fixed-price forward contracts

20 Jan

De Beers said that its auction sales business will start piloting fixed-price forward contracts, which will provide a “highly effective” supply sourcing option for small and medium sized enterprises seeking access to regular rough diamond supply at a predictable price. 
The pilot for fixed-price contracts follows other Auction Sales pilots, including those enabling third parties to use its auction platform for rough and polished diamond sales. 
De Beers said in a statement that the first event for the grainers, smalls and near gem categories of rough diamonds would take place on 16 February. 
“Extensive customer dialogue has highlighted potential to further develop the forward market for our rough diamonds,” said group executive vice president of auction sales Neil Ventura. 
“Our customers have told us they see value in securing short-term supply contracts but would prefer to do so on a fixed price basis, avoiding potential challenges when securing contracts on a floating price basis that references the underlying spot price at contract maturity. 
“We are therefore piloting three-month forward contracts on a fixed price basis to complement our spot sales channel and the term supply contracts offered by global sightholder sales, while further testing stated customer demand for regular, guaranteed short-term supply at a fixed price.” 
Since launching forward contract sales on a floating price basis back in December 2013, Auction Sales had steadily developed its forward sales channel, selling more than 350 bespoke supply contracts in total over the period, it said. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Severalmaz recovers first 10 million carats of diamonds at Lomonosov deposit

20 Jan

A diamond weighing 30 carats which was found in early 2017 at the Arkhangelskaya kimberlite pipe was the last piece to bring Severalmaz diamond production to ten million carats from its Lomonosov deposit. 

"Industrial development of the Lomonosov deposit began in 2005. Before that we carried out geological surveys, and best practices were studied for diamond mining. So the first production of 10 million carats is the result of the tremendous work of all employees and a perfect gift to celebrate our 25th anniversary with our parent company ALROSA,"- said General Director of Severalmaz Andrei Pismenny. 
He also noted that Severalmaz has recently reached projected parameters for the industrial production of 4 million tons of ore per year. This means that 2.4 million carats will be produced in 2017. In future, the company plans to increase production to 5 million carats per year and to start the development of Pionerskaya and Lomonosov diamond pipes. 
PJSC Severalmaz is the subsidiary of the ALROSA Group in the Arkhangelsk region. It is developing a Lomonosov deposit, consisting of 6 kimberlite pipes with inferred resource over 115 million carats. 

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Petra boosts H1 FY’17 output, revenue

25 Jan

Petra Diamonds said its production leaped 24 percent to 2,015,087 carats in the first half of the fiscal year 2017 compared to 1,629,403 carats, a year earlier due to increased contribution from undiluted run of mine (ROM) ore leading to improved ROM grades and additional tailings production from Kimberley Ekapa Mining in South Africa. 
Kimberley Ekapa Mining’s attributable production delivered 432,174 carats during the period under review compared with 84,358 carats produced during the same period in fiscal year 2016. 
Cullinan’s diamond production also rose 30 percent to 419,754 carats from 322,366 carats, a year earlier. 
However, Finsch’s production dropped 6 percent to 1,031,560 carats during the period from 1,095,078 carats, a year earlier due to the planned reduction in tailings production. 
Petra said it was still on track to deliver full year production of between 4.4 million carats and 4.6 million carats. 
“Due to the increased contribution in H1 FY 2017 from undiluted ore, we have delivered strong operational results, reporting significant increases in production and revenue,” said company chief executive Johan Dippenaar. 
“We continue to advance our expansion programmes and, from this point onwards, will see a meaningful reduction in Capex as the capital projects, which were first set out in 2009, come to fruition.” 
Meanwhile, the group’s revenue jumped 48 percent to $228.5 million during the period under consideration from $154.0 million, a year earlier, due to increased sales volumes. 
Diamonds sold leaped 47 percent for the period to 1,910,113 carats from 1,303,051 carats recorded during the first half of the fiscal year 2016. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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ALROSA to showcase unique rough and polished diamonds at IDWI

25 Jan

Huge and unusual stones by ALROSA promises to be key attractions at the sixth International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI), February 13 – 16, 2017. The special stones will be prominently displayed on the trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), says a Press note from IDE. 
ALROSA will display three massive rough diamonds of 83.59, 90.52 and 207.28 ct, which will not be offered for sale. In addition, ALROSA will exhibit and offer for sale polished diamonds, including an 80.59ct round, twin 10ct fancy intense yellow radiants and a 22.45ct round stone.The ALROSA auction, which will take place during the week, will offer 108 boxes of rough diamonds of 11 to 199 ct and unique white and fancy color polished diamonds of 10 to over 80 ct. 
ALROSA President Andrey Zharkov, who will be guest of honor at the IDWI, will attend the opening of the IDE International Tender Center, and also meet leaders of IDE to discuss specific terms of the MOU, including increased rough supply. 
ALROSA, the largest producer of rough diamonds by carats, produced 38.3 mn carats of rough diamonds, with the proceeds in 2015 amounting to RUB 224.5 bn. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Nine new diamond deposits to be commissioned in Yakutia by 2025

25 Jan

(TASS) - Nine new diamond deposits in two Arctic regions of Yakutia will be commissioned by 2025 by ALROSA subsidiaries, according to Vasily Zakharov, the first deputy minister of Industry and Geology of the Republic of Yakutia. 
"In 2016-2025, the two companies – Nizhne-Lenskoye and Diamonds Anabara (ALROSA subsidiaries) will commission nine new locations in two Arctic regions," - he said. 
By 2025, companies plan to invest 2.8 billion rubles in the construction of industrial facilities. Capital investments in modernization and replacement of worn-out equipment is planned in the amount of 19.3 billion rubles. Also, exploration costs may amount to 7.5 billion rubles. 
Currently, the companies are the owners of the licensed subsoil areas. They conduct the search, exploration and development of alluvial and kimberlite diamond deposits. 

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Diamcor to boost output at SA project

25 Jan

Diamcor Mining said it will more than double diamond output at its Krone-Endora at Venetia project, in South Africa following the installation and commissioning of new equipment. 
Diamcor was yet to commence commercial production at the project and recoveries were incidental to the ongoing commissioning and testing exercises. 
Initial testing of the new facilities demonstrated their ability to process all material from 1.0mm to 45.0mm, and the potential for yet additional capacity and operational efficiencies in the long-term. 
The company also completed the installation of a significantly larger dense media separation (DMS) plant at the project’s main treatment facilities. 
This, it said, was aimed at supporting initial processing volume increases, with the potential for additional increases over the long-term. 
“The upgrading of various screening components, material handling systems, and water recovery systems was also completed, along with the establishment of a dedicated larger material circuit for the treatment of material up to 45.0mm in size,” said Diamcor. 
“Collectively, all elements are designed to enhance automation and operational efficiencies for the long-term.” 
Meanwhile, Diamcor said it sold 9 435.41 carats of diamonds for $1.18-million in the third quarter, resulting in an average price of $125.45/ct. 
Rough diamonds tendered were the result of processing material in the +1 mm to -15 mm size fractions, along with limited processing of material from larger size fractions during the period. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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De Beers starts 2017 rough diamond sales on a high note

25 Jan

Anglo American said De Beers started its rough diamond sales for the year on a high note as it raked in $720 million compared with $545 million, a year earlier. 
The value of the rough diamond sales for first cycle of 2017 was also firm when juxtaposed with $422 million realised during the last cycle of 2016. 
De Beers’ latest rough diamond sales was also the highest since $666 million registered in April 2016. 
"We saw good demand across the majority of our assortment during the first sales cycle of the year, as the industry entered the period when rough diamond demand is traditionally strongest,” said De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver. 
“The longer period between the final Sight of 2016 and the first Sight of 2017 also contributed to heightened demand during the cycle. 
"While the reopening of some diamond polishing operations in India saw something of an increase in demand for smaller, lower quality rough diamonds, we maintain a cautious outlook for these categories as the Indian industry continues to adjust to the post-demonetisation environment." 
Cleaver had last month noted that the trade in lower value rough diamonds was experiencing a temporary slowdown as a result of the demonetisation programme in India, demand across the rest of the product mix continued to be healthy and overall sales remained in line with seasonal expectations. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished
 

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ALROSA's Scientific Research Exploration Company rolls out innovative method to forecast diamond deposits

25 Jan

The Scientific Research Exploration Company, an ALROSA's subsidiary, developed an innovative methodology to predict the local kimberlite bodies on the basis of a comprehensive study of secondary post-magmatic kimberlite mineralization and host rocks, as well as kimberlitic degradation products, according to a press release by ALROSA. 
"Our project is based on the hypothesis that each diamond deposit is accompanied by an areola of ancient gases formed during the eruption of an ancient volcano - kimberlite pipe" - says Oleg Kovalchuk, chief engineer of the Scientific Research Exploration Company. "Some of these gases penetrate into the host rocks, thus increasing our object of a search". 
The results of the study will allow to increase the search area of ​​the diamondiferous zones due to the fact that zoning exceeds the diameter of the kimberlite body by 2-3 times. Because of this, the amount of drilling and investments needed to discover the diamond field are reduced. 
The Scientific Research Exploration Company has been exploring near-kimberlite areolas since 2009. They are characterized by elevated concentrations and specific features of the spectrum of the adsorbed hydrocarbon gases and carbon dioxide. 
The scientific subsidiary of ALROSA gives the predictive assessment of diamond areas in Yakutia and other regions of the Russian Federation to select proper areas and methods of exploration and prospecting. 
 

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Estet Jewelry House to showcase new collections at Junwex Petersburg exhibition

30 Jan

Estet Jewelry House will present favorite and novelty collections and products of its leading brands at the Junwex Petersburg show on 1-5 February 2016. 
GEVORKYAN, the flagship brand by Estet, will introduce more than 40 new products with colorful jewelry stones such as lapis lazuli, amazonite, agate and carnelian, from collections Symphony of Colors, Fairy Tale, Aphrodita, Garden.
The Estet Moscow brand will for the first time present a live selection of new collections Amoris, Virtus Lady, Totem GOLD, as well as a new line of jewelry Ariadne in 585 gold. In addition, it will introduce such collections as Wish, Art of Seduction (Thorns and Roses) and the Silver Totem.
The Estet Jewelry House will also present new products of advanced Enigma collection at the February exhibition. Now capsules with special oil solution and floating, transparent crystals are made in the form of drops, mushrooms and bullets. Perfect quality frame made of gold or silver emphasizes the splendor and magnificence of these pieces. 
 

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Lucara engages new mining contractor at Karowe

30 Jan

Lucara Diamond has appointed Moolman Mining Botswana (Aveng Moolmans) as its new mining contractor at Karowe diamond mine in Botswana. 
Aveng Moolmans was contracted for a six year-period to provide the full suite of mining services at the mine, including all drill, blast, load and haul functions for both ore and waste. 
"We are very pleased to have engaged Aveng Moolmans as our new mining partner at the Karowe mine,” said company chief executive William Lamb. 
“Their extensive expertise in working in Botswana and other African countries together with their proven track record and their ability to achieve production volumes over the contract period, makes them a valuable partner as we work to maximize the future value of this incredible resource, at Karowe, for our shareholders and all our stakeholders in Botswana.” Aveng Moolmans was expected to commence mobilisation of equipment to site this month and February. 
It was also expected to commence mining activities early March. 
Lamb said the company had since December continued to process ore from the south and centre lobe stockpiles. 
This, he said, would see the company achieve its production and operating guidance for the year. 
Lucara terminated its mining services contract with South African company Eqstra late last year. 
The contract was due to end in December 2020, but Lucara allegedly told Eqstra that it would be terminated prematurely. 
The termination was prompted by differences over volumes of ore mined by the contractor, according to local media reports. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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ALROSA recovers 200 tons of ore at Jubilee pipe

30 Jan

In January 2017, ALROSA reached a historic milestone, having produced 200 million tons of ore over 27 years of mining at the Jubilee kimberlite pipe. The factory no.14 of the Aikhal Mining and Processing Plant produced over 100 million carats of diamonds during that time worth more than $7.5 billion. 
The Jubilee pipe has been developed as an open pit since 1989, and accounts for the bulk of ore that Aikhal plant processes. In accordance with JORC, Jubilee reserves are estimated at 97 million carats of rough diamonds. Based on this assessment, mining at the pipe can be provided until 2030. The volume of diamond production for the first 9 months of 2016 was 8.3 million carats.
Aikhal Mining and Processing Plant is a producer of diamonds from the Jubilee, Komsomolsky and Aikhal deposits. The share of the plant in the total production of the ALROSA Group was 32% in 2015. 
 

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ALROSA produces 3 large special diamonds at the Aikhal Processing Plant

30 Jan

Russian diamond producer ALROSA said it has recovered three large special diamonds from two deposits at its Aikhal Mining and Processing Plant. 
Two diamonds from the Jubilee pipe weigh 60.22 and 73.50 carats respectively, and were recovered at the factory no.14 of the Aikhal plant. Another stone weighing 66.24 carats was produced from the Komsomolskaya pipe at the factory no.8. These crystals have octahedral shape and are transparent with a yellowish tinge.
In 2016, ALROSA recovered 22 large rough diamonds at the Jubilee pipe weighing 50 to 122 carats. Among them are the diamond weighing 121.96 carats, and the stone weighing 79.35 carats.
The Komsomolskaya deposit is also famous for its large diamonds. Among them are stones weighing 55.70 carats and 70.20 carats. 

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ALROSA Group posted 37.4 million carats in diamond output and not less than USD 4.3 billion in sales

30 Jan

ALROSA Group published production results for 2016 and preliminary sales data for its fourth quarter. The Group’s diamond production totaled 37.4 million carats, down by 2% year-on-year as a result of a downward revision in production plans for the alluvial deposits in Q2 and Q3 2016, which is in line with the diamond market environment after 2015.
The 10% year-on-year growth in production in Q4 2016 is driven by ramping up diamond mining at ALROSA’s underground mines and by the fact that the Mir underground mine had reached its project capacity.
Indicatively, ALROSA sold 40.1 million carats of diamonds in 2016. Revenue from rough diamond sales is set to reach at least USD 4.3 billion.
In Q4 2016, ALROSA sold 10.1 million carats of diamonds, including 6.6 million carats of gem-quality diamonds at an average price of USD 127 per carat and 3.5 million carats of industrial diamonds at an average price of USD 6 per carat. Revenue from rough diamond sales amounted to at least USD 849 million in Q4 2016.

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8th Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair launched

31 Jan

Following tradition, during the last three days of January, Antwerp's diamond quarter became an international exhibition venue that hosts the annual BrilliAnt - the Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair. 
By noon time of Sunday, January 29th, hundreds of retail jewelers, jewellery manufacturers, and other diamond buying visitors were making their way into the halls of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse and Diamond Club of Antwerp to participate in the eighth edition of the fair. 
Among the buyers attending the fair are delegations from Japan, China, and the Middle East. No less than 95 exhibitors offer diamonds in all possible sizes, qualities and shapes, as well as coloured gemstones and a wide array of industry services.
One of the highlights of the fair's special exhibits is the “Eden of Coronet” guitar. Its design was inspired by nature and was created with the efforts of a partnership between Aaron Shum, Coronet, Chow Fai Took, Gibson Guitar as well as songwriter and designer Mark Lui. The masterpiece adorned with over 400 carats of Coronet® diamonds, set in approximately 1.6 kg of 18K white gold, was awarded a Guinness World Records™ title for the Most Valuable Guitar in 2015 and has been valued at US$2 million.

The BrilliAnt seminar programme began with a well-attended presentation by the World Diamond Mark entitled 'Driving traffic to retailers - the World Diamond Mark® Model.' The WDM offered a preview of the WDM's new consumer oriented website and programmes and demonstrated how it uses digital marketing channels as the most effective and affordable marketing tools to reach consumers and drive traffic to retail jewellers. 
BrilliAnt - the Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair is a joint initiative of the Bourse, Club and the Antwerp Diamond Kring, and is powered by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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F. Hinds of Britain awarded WDM Authorised Diamond Dealer status

31 Jan

F. Hinds, established in 1856 and the leading British, family-owned retail jewellery chain, has joined the World Diamond Mark (WDM) Authorised Diamond Dealer programme this month. With 118 stores in the United Kingdom, F. Hinds is the first British retailer to join the WDM and carry the WDM Authorised Diamond Dealer Seal in all its stores, says a Press note from WDM. 
"Taking on the WDM Authorised Diamond Dealer is a logical step for our firm," said Andrew Hinds, Director. "We are continuously looking to improve our reach, services and sales to the consumer public and the WDM's mission to rekindle consumer desire for diamonds, and the consumer campaign and service programmes it is developing are completely in sync with our company's objectives. 
WDM Chairman Alex Popov said, "the WDM could not have found a better retailer to become the first accredited WDM Authorised Diamond Dealer in the UK. F. Hinds' reputation is immaculate, and we are honoured to have the firm, with all of its 118 branches, on board with us. This milestone comes just before we launch the WDM's first consumer oriented campaign 'Part of You' that will be launched on www.passion.diamonds." 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Drones to monitor Marange diamond mining activities, says ZCDC official

31 Jan

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is considering the use of drones to “effectively” monitor diamond mining activities in Marange, local media reports. 
NewsDay quoted acing ZCDC chief executive Ridge Nyashanu as saying the monitoring would help avoid leakages. 
“Plans are also underway to introduce the use of drones to monitor all mining zones because they are big,” he said. 
“We are also going to integrate First Element and Kenako surveillance systems to ZCDC systems to allow remote access monitoring.” 
ZCDC was currently mining on two concessions formerly worked by Diamond Mining Company and Marange Resources, according to NewsDay. 
Sites formerly owned by Mbada, Anjin and Jinan were yet to be occupied due to a pending lawsuit. 
ZCDC produced 953 818 carats last year compared with 2,3 million carats, a year earlier. 
The projection for diamond production in Chiadzwa was then reviewed in June 2016 to 1,3 million carats. 
When ZCDC was formed, the initial projection was that it would produce 6,9 million carats annually. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Brussels court began trial of alleged members of a diamond robbery at the airport Brussels Zaventem

31 Jan

The trial of alleged members of a diamond robbery at the Brussels airport - Zaventem is taking place in the Belgian capital, local media reported. 
On February 18, 2013, eight criminals appeared in the loading area of the Brussels Airport in police uniform driving two vans with flashing lights. They drove up to the aircraft, where Brink's employees were loading a large shipment of rough diamonds for Zurich; then the criminals stole about 10 kilograms of precious stones for a total amount of 37.5 million euros. Part of the stolen diamonds was discovered in Switzerland, the rest of the kidnappers, probably managed to sell. 
Before the Brussels court have appeared 19 people, including three women. Nine of the defendants are suspected of directly committing the robbery, the rest in the sales of diamonds and money laundering. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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Blue Nile Launches Used-Diamond Business

31 Jan

Blue Nile introduced a service that allows consumers to sell diamonds for cash, claiming to offer better prices and more transparency than the traditional buyback sector. 
The service, developed in partnership with ecommerce specialist Mondiamo, is only available in the U.S. and Canada, but plans are afoot to expand the facility globally. “Thousands” of customers have already used the product, which has been in pilot since June, Blue Nile claimed. 
The process behind the service involves Mondiamo deploying Blue Nile’s live pricing data for GIA-graded diamonds to create a guaranteed cash-price range. Then, customers are given a free, insured shipping kit to submit their diamond jewelry for inspection and evaluation. That’s followed by a final cash offer. The second-hand diamond industry deals in jewelry worth billions of dollars annually, Blue Nile claimed. In fact, the total estimated value of diamond jewelry owned by consumers globally exceeds $1 trillion, the retailer added. But, it pointed out, the pre-used market “has traditionally fostered a stressful and an opaque selling experience, with little to no transparency around the true value of the product.” 
“One of Blue Nile's guiding principles is to provide transparency to consumers so they can make a diamond purchase that’s right for them,” said Blue Nile chairman and chief executive officer Harvey Kanter. “This partnership provides that transparency to those who wish to sell their diamond jewelry.”

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India's CBDT bars 'angadias' from delivering cash

1 Feb

The 'angadias' or diamond couriers in India will not deliver cash from one destination to other destination starting from February 15, 2017 following the order of the country's Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to the angadias to stop accepting the delivery of cash, says a report in TOI. 
The angadias will only deliver valuable jewellery, diamonds and gem stones from one destination to other destination. No cash will be delivered after February 15 to avoid unnecessary action by the CBDT. 
Angadias are known as the informal banking system for the Indian diamond industry as they also provide cash on interest to the small and medium diamantiares, which may now be affected adversely. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Poished 

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Tychean Resources of Australia to take over Blom Diamonds for $4mn

1 Feb

Blom Diamonds, a cutting and polishing firm owned by senior industry figure Ernie Blom, has agreed to be acquired by Australia’s Tychean Resources for up to $4.1 mn. Under the deal, Tychean will issue shares worth about $206,352 based on AUD 0.004 per share at the time of the deal, to acquire a 74 percent interest in Blom Diamonds Cutting Works and Ernest Blom Diamonds. The price will increase by approximately $1.3 mn as additional Tychean shares will be granted in each of the next three years if the diamond company meets a set of pre-determined profit conditions, says a report in Rapaport. 
Ernie Blom, who is the current president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) founded the South Africa-based Blom Diamonds, which is involved in trading, beneficiation, cutting and polishing of diamonds. Blom will become managing director of Tychean when the deal closes but will still be based in South Africa. 
Tychean, which is a precious-metal explorer in Australia, sees the move as a first step into the diamond industry, according to Duncan Gordon, founder and co-principal of Adelaide Equity Partners, which advised the resources group on the acquisition. Tychean is also in the early stages of talks to acquire diamond-exploration projects. 
According to Tychean, the longer-term outlook for the diamond trade is positive, with rising consumer demand and constrained supply. 
The deal is expected to close in 90 days once it receives approval from the Australian Securities Exchange and Tychean’s shareholders. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Lucapa acquires stake in Lesotho’s Mothae Diamonds

1 Feb

Lucapa Diamond has acquired a 70-percent stake in Mothae Diamonds, which holds the mining lease and other assets related to the advanced Mothae kimberlite diamond project in Lesotho. 
The kimberlite project had an indicated and inferred resource of 1 million carats and an inferred resource valuation of $1 billion. 
“This acquisition is in keeping with Lucapa’s stated strategy of continued growth as a diamond producer and explorer,” said company chief executive Stephen Wetherall. 
“Mothae compliments the producing high-value Lulo diamond mine and our highly prospective exploration assets in the advanced Lulo kimberlite project and the earlier stage Broking and Orapa Area F projects.” 
Trial mining had identified that Mothae hosts large Type IIa diamonds, including individual stones up to 254 carats, as well as gem quality diamonds that have sold for up to $41,500 a carat. 
Paragon Diamonds had initially finalised an agreement with Mothae’s previous majority owner, Lucara Diamond, to purchase its 75 percent stake in the project for $8.5-million, but failed to raise the funds. 
Lucara, however, completed the transfer of its shares of Mothae and the Mothae site bulk sample plant last March to the Government of Lesotho, which saw it being released from all liabilities relating to the rehabilitation of the project. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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Blue and Pink Diamonds Hit Peak Prices

2 Feb

Fancy-color diamond prices grew in 2016, supported by mounting demand for rare blues and pinks, according to the Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF). 
The Fancy Color Diamond Index climbed 0.4 percent last year as prices of blue diamonds jumped 5.5 percent, while prices of their pink counterparts increased 1.4 percent. However, yellow-diamond prices fell 4 percent. 
“Blue fancy-color diamond prices are at their all-time peak due to a combination of very thin supply and healthy demand,” said Jim Pounds, executive vice-president for diamonds at miner Dominion Diamond Corporation and chairman of the FCRF’s advisory board. “Overall, high-quality and well-cut vivid blues and pinks do not exist in sufficient volume to create price stability.” 
In the fourth quarter, the overall index declined slightly relative to the previous three months, the FCRF said. Yellow-diamond prices slipped 1.4 percent and pink prices were flat, outweighing a 1.5 percent increase in blue-diamond prices. 
Looking ahead, prospects for yellow diamonds are relatively positive, Pounds pointed out. 
“Highly saturated yellow rough diamonds, especially vivids, have recently achieved high prices in tenders, likely representing improved demand that will impact [polished] prices,” he said. 

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Firestone to conduct first Liqhobong diamond sale next week

2 Feb

Firestone Diamonds is set to sell its first batch of rough diamonds from the Lesotho-located Liqhobong mine, in Antwerp, next week. 
Construction and commissioning of the mine was completed early in the fourth quarter, with production beginning last October. 
The auction was set for February 6 to 10, while a second sale was penciled for end of next month March. 
Firestone had recovered more than 20 special stones above 10.8 carats from Liqhobong, according to Rapaport. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Polished Prices Slide Despite Buoyant Rough Market

2 Feb

Diamond manufacturing profits were squeezed in January amid strong rough demand while polished prices softened. Polished trading was cautious after disappointing U.S. holiday jewelry sales, while the rough market was driven by expectations jewelers will replenish inventory sold during the season. 
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1-carat diamonds fell 0.9% in January and was down 6.8% from a year ago. 
According to the Rapaport Monthly Report – February 2017, polished supply is projected to rise in the first quarter following a spike in rough demand. Manufacturers ended last year with low inventory, having reduced production since Diwali, and are ramping up operations to satisfy an expected rise in polished trading. 
De Beers sold $720 million worth of rough in January, its largest sight since July 2014, according to Rapaport records, with average prices rising 2% to 3%. 
Mining companies are preparing for higher rough demand this year and are raising rough production. Global output was flat in 2016 as declines at De Beers and ALROSA were offset by increases at Rio Tinto, Dominion Diamond Corporation and Petra Diamonds. Rapaport expects global production to rise 5% to 10% this year considering the new mines and expansion programs in place. 
Polished suppliers are expected to resist buyers pushing for deeper discounts following the increase in rough prices. That may be challenging as additional supply becomes available. The industry should tread cautiously in the rough market, as it did last year, if polished demand and price stability is to be sustained throughout 2017, Rapaport says. 

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Pandora to enter India's jewellery market

3 Feb

In an ambitious expansion plan, Denmark's jewelry maker Pandora has announced that it would enter India, one of the world's largest jewelry markets, and open 50 shops in the next three years. 
The Indian jewelry market is worth more than $40 bn a year and is expected to grow seven percent per year through 2021. However, the market has traditionally been focused on gold and diamonds rather than silver, Pandora's favorite material, which only makes up 5 percent of the market. 
Pandora's Chief Executive Anders Colding Friis said: "Jewelry as a fashion statement is increasingly popular among consumers and with India already being one of the largest jewelry markets in the world, the country holds a great potential for Pandora." 
Analyst Michael Friis Jorgensen of Alm. Brand Bank said: "The expansion into India will greatly support Pandora in achieving the target it has set up for new shops." He said it was too early to assess how much India would contribute to Pandora's future earnings as it depends on the company's ability to spearhead a shift in consumer preferences toward silver. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Kimberley raises A$4m to fund Botswana operations

3 Feb

Kimberley Diamonds is raising more than A$4-million through a non-renounceable pro-rata rights issue to fund operations at its Lerala diamond mine, in Botswana and repay some existing loans. 
The rights issue will close on February 15. 
Eligible shareholders would be allowed to purchase one new share for every existing Kimberley share held, with the shares to be priced at 2c each. 
Kimberley Diamonds had raised additional debt of A$ 2.9 million since 1 October 2016, and repaid A$ 1.0 million debt. 
It also had a total debt of A$ 22.6 million as at 1 December 2016. 
The Lerala Mine comprises five diamond bearing kimberlite pipes and an existing diamond processing plant that had been recommissioned, with Lerala restarting diamond processing operations in April 2016. 
Lerala produced 9,338 carats last November. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Russian government’s privatization plan provides for reducing state-owned stake in ALROSA to 29% plus 1 share - source

3 Feb

(TASS) – Under the privatization plan developed by the Russian government for 2017-2019, the state-owned interest in ALROSA is to be reduced to 29% plus one share. TASS was told this by a source familiar with the approved privatization plan.
"The plan (of privatization for 2017-2019 - editor) makes provision for reducing the stake of the Russian Federation in the authorized capital of ALROSA down to 29% plus 1 share, coordinating the sale of shares held by the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and its municipalities," the source said.
ALROSA is the world’s largest diamond producer in terms of volume in carats.
As a result of the 2016 privatization, the shareholding in the company of the Russian Federation represented by the Federal Property Management Agency declined to 33.02%; the stake held by the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) remained unchanged at 25%, while Yakutia’s uluses (municipalities) preserved 8%. The diamond miner’s free float stands currently almost at 34%.
The government intends also to cease participation in the authorized capital of Smolensk-based Kristall, the source said.
Kristall is Russia's largest diamond manufacturer and one of the world's largest companies cutting and polishing natural diamonds.

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ALROSA converts company vehicles and equipment to natural gas

3 Feb

The Mirny and Aikhal mining divisions of ALROSA received another seven natural gas vehicles made in Russia - three KAMAZ trucks and four NefAZ passenger buses. The motor column trip along the winter road from Ust-Kut to Mirny proceeded in normal mode. The new vehicles will start operating in the coming days.
The conversion of motor vehicles employed by ALROSA to natural gas is one of the main stages in the miner’s Program for Innovative Development and Technological Modernization, the purpose of which is to reduce operating costs and environmental burden, as well improve safety.
The study of toxicity produced by gas-engine powered vehicles showed that emissions of toxic substances by such vehicles into the environment is significantly lower compared with diesel and gasoline engines. It is expected that the conversion of the company’s vehicles and equipment to natural gas will permit to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2023. Natural gas is the safest motor fuel. It is attributed to the fourth fuel grade, which is the safest.
"The safety of vehicles using natural gas is complete. All the vehicles have special equipment detecting leaking gas, if there is any. Methane is lighter than air and in open space it immediately rises into the air without forming dangerous concentrations. All the company’s motor vehicle storage buildings are well ventilated and equipped with appropriate alarm and ventilation systems," said Sergey Patsiansky, the chief of the Mirny Mining Division motor pool.

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UAE KP Chair 2016 concludes KP Chairmanship at UN General Assembly

7 Feb

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, KP Chair 2016, delivered a speech on the draft resolution “The Role of Diamonds in Fueling Conflict” at the UN General Assembly 69th plenary meeting, 71st session, on February 2nd, 2017, says a Press statement from the organisation. 
The UAE led resolution on “The Role of Diamonds in Fueling Conflict”. It includes important decisions of the Kimberley Process, which were made by consensus during UAE KP’s tenure as the KP Chair in 2016. 
Adopted by the UN and co-sponsored by 41 countries, the resolution notes that the KP plenary took note of the UAE's proposal to develop a methodology on the valuation of rough diamonds, welcomed the proposal to establish a Permanent Secretariat for the Kimberley Process, and welcomes ‎that the plenary acknowledged the proposal of the KP Chair 2016 to set up a multi-donor trust fund for the civil society. This work will now continue under the leadership of Australia, which takes over as KP Chair in 2017. 
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, KP Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said: “During my chairmanship, I have been proud to represent the officials who regulate the diamond trade in the producing countries. My trip to the Central African Republic, a country that had been excluded from the Kimberley Process, was particularly important in providing assistance to the country in meeting its Kimberley Process requirements, and enabling the resumption of the country’s export of rough diamonds from newly compliant zones.” 
Ahmed Bin Sulayem highlighted three specific proposals that were made by the UAE as Chair in 2016 that were also reflected in the resolution. 
"I am pleased that the UAE proposal to establish a Permanent Secretariat has been welcomed and is included in the draft resolution. Second, the draft resolution welcomes the willingness of the Kimberley Process to further discuss the UAE proposal to establish a multi-donor trust fund or similar mechanisms that would financially support the participation of a wide range of Civil Society in the Process. Third, during our chairmanship, we initiated a series of workshops to develop a uniform methodology on the valuation of rough diamonds," he added. 
It was also announced at the Plenary that the United Arab Emirates will continue to play an active role in the Kimberley Process and will also chair the Committee on Participation and Chairmanship (CPC) in 2017. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished

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A diamond discovered in one of seven samples from Eastern Finland

7 Feb

Karelian Diamond Resources plc (“Karelian”) announced that it has received results from sampling undertaken by the Geological Survey of Finland on behalf of the company. A diamond was discovered in one of seven samples from the Kuhmo region of Eastern Finland. 
The diamond is a clear, pale green dodecahedron and measures 0.7 x 0.75 x 0.7 mm. This is significant because the diamond discovery allied with high concentrations of Kimberlitic Indicator Minerals discovered in the area strongly suggest that a diamondiferous kimberlite is present. 
The samples will go for further analysis. 
Professor Richard Conroy, Chairman, Karelian Diamond Resources plc commented: “This is very exciting news to find such a diamond in till which is a very rare event and makes me very excited about the potential of the area and the discovery of the source of this diamond.” 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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ALROSA recovers another special diamond at Jubilee pipe

7 Feb

ALROSA reported it has produced a 110.84-carat diamond at its Jubilee kimberlite pipe and Aikhal Mining and Processing Plant. 
The diamond crystal has an octahedral shape with a sheaf-like-splintery hatching. Its dimensions are 25.5 х 16.0 х 22.0 mm. the stone has patterns of trigonal depressions on its sides. There have been internal intersecting cracks spotted on the surface and intermediate zones of the diamond. The color of the stone is transparent with a yellow tint. 

The Jubilee pipe has been developed as an open pit since 1989, and accounts for the bulk of ore that Aikhal plant processes. In accordance with JORC, Jubilee reserves are estimated at 97 million carats of rough diamonds. Based on this assessment, mining at the pipe can be provided until 2030. The volume of diamond production for the first 9 months of 2016 was 8.3 million carats.
Aikhal Mining and Processing Plant is a producer of diamonds from the Jubilee, Komsomolsky and Aikhal deposits. 
In 2016, the Aikhal plant produced 12.2 million carats of diamonds. 

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ALROSA announces sales results for January 2017

7 Feb

ALROSA, the world's leader in diamond mining, has announced diamond sales for January 2017.
Rough diamond sales by ALROSA Group in January 2017 amounted to USD 358.2 million. Polished diamond sales for the same period amounted to USD 7.28 million.
Total diamond sales in January 2017 amounted to USD 365.4 million, 60% higher compared to the same period last year.
“The first month of the year has expectedly demonstrated effective demand for rough diamonds in almost all market segments. The diamond cutting sector in India obviously copes with the problems caused by the currency reform in this country somewhat faster than expected. We still remain cautiously optimistic about the activity in the small-size, low-cost rough diamond segment,” says Yury Okoyomov, ALROSA Vice President.

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Industry challenges, alternative financing discussed at WFDB Presidents Meeting Finance Seminar

7 Feb

At a Finance Seminar held yesterday on the sidelines of the 2017 Presidents Meeting in Mumbai, which began on Sunday, discussions were held on topics related to financing challenges facing the global diamond trade and possible solutions, including alternative forms of credit, according to a press note from WFDB. 

Addressing the seminar, WFDB President Ernie Blom said the meeting aimed to lay out the reasons that the diamond trade finds it increasingly difficult to secure credit and possible solutions that had not been discussed by diamantaires in the past. Blom spoke about the withdrawal of some banks from the diamond industry in recent years and the difficulty that diamond companies face in securing credit due to some financial institutions believing that it is a high-risk sector. It was against this background that the diamond financing seminar and roundtable discussion had been organised, he commented. "We simply cannot afford any longer for the current situation to continue. Our members want action and we are committed as their representatives to work to provide answers to their demands. Our industry depends on it. This seminar will investigate the reasons for the lack of financing available. It will search for the answers as to why current solutions have not been fully successful. "We would like to find out which additional financing institutions are available to us. And, related to that, alternative financing techniques and how these could bring extra liquidity to the diamond trade which is so badly needed. This means bringing new financing organisations into the dialogue which have not been involved with diamond financing in the past. Beyond this, we would like to establish a regular and ongoing dialogue with banks and other credit providers to develop financial solutions for the diamond industry." 
Blom added that a programme to take the issue forward following the meeting was needed, including finance seminars in Antwerp, Tel Aviv and New York, online information and courses to reach out to all members of individual diamond bourses and the development of financing and risk management tools to help the diamantaires to improve their own risk profile and access to financing. Blom said that the diamond industry was working to ensure that it was in full compliance with regulatory requirements, and that he was optimistic that diamantaires would realise the importance of doing so and move ahead to bring this about.
Bharat Diamond Bourse President Anoop Mehta said that the diamond industry is one of the safest in the world. "The small and medium-size firms, which have been hit by demonetisation, may not be up to date with the measures needed, but we are holding seminars for them to provide the information needed by the banks to ensure they will be in line with requirements."
GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said the diamond industry has to commit to new levels of transparency and to be more forthcoming. "The banks have been supportive, but they must show us the next level needed because the industry has grown in India and we would like to create a committee with the banks to enable a dialogue with them to allow them to have full confidence in the industry. We also believe there should be a uniform rate of interest for diamond firms because now there is a range of 6-7%, and there needs to be a level playing field."
Among the other speakers were former Diamond Trading Company CEO Varda Shine and ABN Amro's Head of Diamond & Jewellery Clients, Erik Jens, who spoke about the nature of the financing challenges facing the diamond trade. 
 
Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished
 

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Gem Diamonds lifts Q4 output at Letšeng, Ghaghoo

8 Feb

Gem Diamonds said its Letšeng mine in Lesotho recovered 26 438 carats during the fourth quarter of 2016, an 8 percent increase from 24 388 carats in the third quarter of the year, taking full year production to 108 206 carats. 
The company, however, said Letšeng recovered fewer large special diamonds than expected during the period under review, resulting in an average price of $1,444 per carat, bringing the average for the year to $1,695.7. Diamonds sold for the period generated revenues of $12.3 million. 
"The market for large special diamonds for which Letšeng is renowned has remained firm to date, but the relative paucity of these diamonds recovered during 2016 has had an adverse impact upon the company's revenues and cash flows during the year,” said Gem Diamonds chief executive Clifford Elphick. 
“Operationally, all other production metrics were achieved and within guidance issued.” 
Meanwhile, Gem Diamonds said its Ghaghoo mine in Botswana produced 12 380 carats during the same period, an increase of 60 percent from 7 720 carats recovered the previous quarter. 
The mine also sold 16 989 carats for a total value of $2.4 million during the period under review, achieving an average price of $142 per carat. 
Elphick said the fall in prices of at Ghaghoo diamonds in Botswana from $210 per carat in early 2015 to $142 per carat at its most recent sale in December 2016, emphasised the weak state of the diamond market for this category of diamonds. 
“With the company's focus on profitable production, and as indicated previously, the future of the operation remains under review with a decision scheduled to be made during Q1 2017 with regards to its current financial viability,” said Elphick. 
Meanwhile, the company said that the overall mood of the diamond market continued to remain cautious. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, from Cape Town, South Africa, Rough&Polished

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SA State Diamond Trader limits rough purchases

8 Feb

South Africa’s State Diamond Trader, which is permitted to purchase up to 10 percent of the country’s diamond production by volume and value, only managed to acquire 2 percent by volume and 3 percent by value of rough diamonds it inspected from nine producers during the course of 2015-2016. 
The diamond trader said in its trading report obtained by Rough & Polished at the ongoing Mining Indaba in Cape Town that it purchased 451 000 carats during the period under review against a target of 552 000 carats. 
It also sold 460 000 carats against a target of 574 000 carats during the period under review. 
The diamond trader attributed its failure to achieve the budgeted purchases and sales to a lack of demand from beneficiators for rough diamonds from representative samples selected deemed not suitable for local beneficiation. 
“Larger clients were unwilling to commit capital to purchasing rough diamonds when the demand for polished diamonds was weak and prices continued to decline,” it said. 
Meanwhile, South Africa’s State Diamond Trader said the average price of diamonds it purchased was $194.71 per carat compared with $423 per carat, a year earlier. 
“This reflects the execution of the sales strategy in which [we were] able to market those diamonds not preferred by clients to beneficiate. This enables [us] to supply suitable rough diamonds for local beneficiation,” it said. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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De Beers May Move Bond Street Store Due To Higher Rents, Taxes

8 Feb

The diamond jewellery retail arm of the De Beers group, is considering giving up its flagship London store after nearly 15 years due to substantially higher rents and property taxes. 
The company said that the prospectively significantly higher costs of its lease had led it to exploring alternative options on Old Bond Street. 
The UK government plans to overhaul the business rates system from April and central London retailers are faced with average increased costs of 50 percent. 
Simultaneously, rents in Old Bond Street have seen a tremendous surge. De Beers moved into its Bond Street premises when the rates were around £400 per square foot. At the end of last year, however, Polo Ralph Lauren, with a store at the end of the street, signed a rental agreement at £2,225 per square foot when it chose to remain in its store. 
De Beers said it continuously reviews its store locations around the world and notes that it relocated its New York store to Madison Avenue. The company said it planned to bring its New York store concept to what may be a smaller London store. 
 

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Zim seeks to produce 500 000 ct per month by end of year

10 Feb

Zimbabwe is planning to produce 500 000 carats per month in Marange by end of this year, a government official has said. 
Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa told Rough & Polished on the sidelines of the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town that the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) was working flat out to boost equipment availability from the current 35 percent to about 85 percent. 
This, he said, would help boost output. 
“We have been having discussions since the beginning of January and the desire is to achieve 500 000 carats per month,” he said. 
“…if we can increase equipment availability to [85 percent] and then we upgrade the resource into a reserve to what we think we can upgrade it then by the middle of the year we should get to about at least 300 000 to 400 000 carats per month and I think 500 000 carts will come at the end of the year.” 
Diamond output in Marange had been on a downward trajectory since the forced consolidation of mining early last year. 
ZCDC produced about 900,000 carats last year from peak figures of 12 million carats annually. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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Petra to maintain flat tonnage profile

10 Feb

Petra Diamonds said it is set to maintain a fairly flat tonnage profile from fiscal year 2017 onwards. 
It, however, said that the replacement of poor quality tonnes with better quality tonnes would significantly grow production and increase the average value per carat. 
Increase in run off mine grades and increase in tonnage throughput (mainly due to Kimberley Mines transaction) was expected to lead to about 43 percent growth in production, Petra said. 
The company with four producing mines in South Africa and one in Tanzania, produced 3,7 million carats in the fiscal year 2016 and recorded revenue of $431 million during the same period. 
Its output also grew 24 percent in the first half of the fiscal year 2017 to 2,01 million carats compared with 1,62 million carats, a year earlier. 
It raked in $228.5 million during the first half of the fiscal year 2017 from 1,91 million carats sold. 
Petra said its adjusted Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margin was expected to rise from about 38 percent in fiscal year 2016 to more than 50 percent by fiscal year 2019. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Luaxe kimberlite to help Angola double output by 2022

10 Feb

Angolan diamond company, Endiama said the recent discovery of Luaxe, which is regarded as the country’s largest kimberlite mine, will double the country’s output by 2022. 
The country currently produces 8 million carats per annum. 
Luaxe was projected to record an annual output of between 8 million carats and 10 million carats. 
“We are currently producing 8 million carats per year and with Luaxe kimberlite we are going to double the output in five years,” Company chief executive Carlos Sumbula told an Angola Business Forum held on the sidelines of the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town. 
Luaxe was found by Endiama and Russia’s Alrosa in 2015. 
It was bigger than the Catoca, which currently produces about 80 percent of the country’s total diamond output. 
Catoca was also the fourth largest kimberlite in the world. 
Alrosa president Andrei Zharkov said last September that they were expecting to begin diamond production at the Luaxe diamond project within three to four years. 
He said capital investments in Luaxe project during its mine life was estimated at $1 billion. 
The kimberlite mine was expected to have a 30 year-lifespan and its reserves stood at about 350 million carats. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Brilliant Earth provides funding in favour of artisanal miners

10 Feb

The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) is pleased announced a grant from jewelry retailer Brilliant Earth in response to two particular needs of artisanal diamond miners in Sierra Leone. The contribution will support diamond valuation training for miners involved in the Maendeleo Diamond Standards program, as well as provide support for miners who wish to enhance their livelihood options through vocational training. 
Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of DDI, says, "We want to develop the miners' understanding beyond just carat size. With this project, and thanks to Brilliant Earth's support, we will create a body of knowledge relating to diamond values that will be available to assist miners with the sale of their diamonds." 
Appropriate skilled trades can also stimulate local economic growth and slow urban migration. Through this grant, a scholarship program will be introduced in two mining communities to support vocational training for 10 miners at a local facility that offers courses in metalwork, carpentry, agricultural technology, tailoring and hairdressing. 
Beth Gerstein, co-founder and CEO of Brilliant Earth says, "Our mission is to improve the livelihoods of miners and cultivate a more ethical, transparent, and compassionate jewelry industry. It is our responsibility to ensure that the people who produce diamonds have the opportunity to improve their own social and economic conditions. We are proud to support the work of DDI." 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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Rockwell finalises sale of Saxendrift alluvial diamond assets

27 Feb

Rockwell Diamonds has concluded the sale of its noncore Saxendrift alluvial diamond assets in South Africa to private firm Nelesco 318 for C$4.5 million. 
Nelesco had already completed site establishment at Saxendrift and commenced mining operations, which were suspended in September 2016, after settling a CAD2.0-million payment – the first of three payments. 
“Not only have we reduced our liabilities and earned some much-needed cash, but we have recovered our operations and regained focus,” said company chief executive Tjaart Willemse. “We have a clear strategy, which is to get our Wouterspan mine up to full production and to see first production from our new Stofdraai mine by July,” he said in an update to shareholders. 
“We are also in discussion with an interested party to conduct bulk sampling at the Daniels Alluvials project with a view on developing the site as a Joint Venture,” said Willemse. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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IDWI ends on a positive and optimistic note

27 Feb

The International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI) which was held from Feb.13 to 16 ended on a positive note, with participants showing immense optimism in the future of the diamond industry. 
Beginning with the praise by the Tourism Minister Yariv Levin followed by IDE President Yoram Dvash who expressed confidence in the industry, the events of the next three days predicted that good times were evident for the diamond sector. IDI Chairman Shmuel Schnitzer too called the IDWI “a welcome initiative” and added: “This year looks promising and I wish us all great success”. 
ALROSA's promise to partner the industry with its consistent supply of rough was a boost for the industry; and the opening of the International Tender Center to consolidate under one roof as many polished and rough tenders as possible was a shot in the arm for the Israeli diamond industry as well. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed between the young generation forums of the Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers’ Association (HKJMA) and the IDE for cooperation and business promotion could not have been on a better occasion and gave much impetus to the industry. 
After his presentation on generic diamond marketing program, Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers’ Association (DPA), invited members of the Israeli diamond industry to make use of the marketing materials as well as to partner with the DPA on joint programs. 
The IDWI wound up with an optimistically, looking forward to a flourishing future for the country's as well as the global diamond industry. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 
 

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Stellar halts plans to acquire Tonguma diamond project

27 Feb

Stellar said discussions with Octea Mining over the acquisition of Tonguma, which owns a mining license over the Tonguma kimberlite diamond project in eastern Sierra Leone were terminated and is no longer acquiring the company or its mining license from Octea. 
It said its proposed acquisition was deemed to be a reverse takeover under the AIM Rules for companies. 
“Although Stellar no longer intends to acquire the Tonguma license, both Stellar and Octea continue to work towards finalisation of an agreement that will bring together, for commercial production, their combined diamond properties that cover the whole of the high value Tongo diamond fields,” said Stellar chief executive Karl Smithson. 
“The structure of the agreement would allow Stellar to be operator and marketer of diamonds produced, with a simplified revenue share arrangement payable to Octea in return.” 
He said there was a considerable potential upside beyond the 4.5 million carats resource (across Tongo and Tonguma) through bringing into resource and the future mine plan additional high grade kimberlites on both properties. 
“We hope to be able to bring the formal agreement and due diligence process to a conclusion in the near future and will continue to engage with potential strategic investors,” said Smithson. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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India's fourth series of Sovereign Bonds begins today

27 Feb

The Government of India will come out with the fourth series of Sovereign Gold Bonds 2016-17, which the Reserve Bank of India will issue on its behalf. Applications will be accepted from today through March 3 and the bonds will be issued on March 17. 
The bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges — National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange. 
The bonds will be denominated in gramme(s) of gold with a basic unit of one gramme. The tenor will be for a period of eight years with exit option from the fifth year to be exercised on the interest payment dates. Investors will be compensated at a fixed rate of 2.50 per cent per annum payable semi-annually on the nominal value. 
Launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2015, the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) and the Sovereign Gold Bond schemes aim at cutting down the huge demand for the precious metal in the country. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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MID Tops Ranking of Israel Diamond Exporters

1 Mar

MID House of Diamonds was the leading Israeli polished-diamond exporter in 2016 for the second year running, according to a recent list published by the nation’s diamond controller. 
The company’s exports declined 3.7 percent to $184 million in a difficult year for the country’s diamond trade. Each of the top five exporters experienced a drop in shipments in 2016, while overall polished exports fell 6 percent to $4.68 billion, government data showed. 
Niru Diamonds Israel rose from third to second place despite its exports sliding 15 percent to $131 million. D.N. Diamonds ranked in third place, up from fifth last year, even as its exports fell 20 percent to $102 million. Ofer Mizrahi Diamonds’ shipments were flat at $101 million, putting the company in fourth place, while Leo Schachter Diamonds moved down one position into fifth after a 34-percent slump to $99 million. 
Total polished exports by the top 20 companies amounted to $1.21 billion in 2016, representing 24 percent of the market, diamond controller Shmuel Mordechai said. 
The list excludes about 15 companies that chose to keep their data confidential. Including these firms, total exports for the top 35 came to $2.27 billion. 

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De Beers rakes in $545m from second sales cycle

1 Mar

De Beers said it realised $545 million from the second rough diamonds sales cycle compared with $617 million accrued, a year earlier. 
Although the figure was provisional, the latest sales cycle was lower compared to $729 million recorded during the first sales cycle for the year. 
“We continued to see good demand across our product range in the second sales cycle, which was in line with expectations at this time of year,” said De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver. 
“Sentiment remains positive heading into the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show this week – an important barometer of trade confidence.” 
De Beers’ first rough diamond sales cycle for the year was the highest since $666 million registered in April 2016. 
Cleaver said last month that the group had recorded “good” demand across the majority of their assortment during the first sales cycle, as the industry entered the period when rough diamond demand was traditionally strongest. 
He also said while the reopening of some diamond polishing operations in India saw something of an increase in demand for smaller, lower quality rough diamonds, the group maintained a cautious outlook for these categories as the Indian industry continues to adjust to the post-demonetisation environment. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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World Diamond Council appoints new Executive Director

1 Mar

   The World Diamond Council (WDC) announced that the Board of Directors has named Ms. Marie-Chantal Kaninda as Executive Director effective March 1, 2017. Ms. Kaninda has replaced Patricia Syvrud, who stepped down on February 28th.
Ms. Kaninda brings to the organization over 20 years of industry marketing and stakeholder engagement experience, having worked for companies such as Anglo Gold Ashanti, De Beers and Rio Tinto, mostly in Africa. A resident of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ms. Kaninda is fluent in French and English, and since 2012 is the Chair of the Anti-Corruption Initiative for the Private Sector for the DRC. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Diamond Development Initiative and Procredit Equity Bank.
“We are thrilled to have someone with Ms. Kaninda’s background and experience take on the role of Executive Director of the WDC,” stated Andrey Polyakov, WDC President. “Her perspective will be invaluable to the industry work within the Kimberley Process reform initiative, which will take place this year and next.” He continued by saying, “We thank Ms. Syvrud for her professionalism and assistance in building the WDC into the organization it is today, and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.” Ms. Kaninda will be providing overall leadership to the organization, liaising and developing relationships with key stakeholders, and coordinating the representation of the WDC within the Kimberley Process, in addition to general organizational management.

Alex Shishlo, Editor in Chief of the European Bureau, Rough&Polished

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ALROSA tallies up the results of International Diamond Week in Israel

1 Mar

ALROSA, the world’s largest diamond producer by volume, reported the results of the international diamond auction, which took place within the Sixth International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI) offering for sale special-size natural rough diamonds, as well as polished goods. 
The company sold 105 lots of rough and polished diamonds worth $ 21.8 million during the trading session held on 13-16 February, 2017 in the City of Ramat Gan, Israel. The auction was attended by 119 buyers from 30 countries.

This time, ALROSA put on the block diamonds from the collection of Cities of Yakutia produced by Diamonds ALROSA, the miner’s subsidiary. The lots included a unique round diamond, the Star of Vilyuysk, weighing 80.59 carats. Currently, it is the largest diamond of a round cut with 57 facets manufactured by Diamonds ALROSA and one of the largest in the world in this segment.
Star of Vilyuysk is one of the ten polished diamonds produced from the 235-carat rough diamond, City of Vilyuysk recovered at the Yubileynaya Mine in 2013. It took more than nine months of hard work for Diamonds ALROSA’s craftsmen to cut and polish the giant diamond.
Diamonds ALROSA is a diamond cutting operation owned by the parent company and one of the biggest diamond manufacturers in Russia. Diamonds ALROSA sells diamonds of round and fancy cuts in the domestic and overseas markets offering goods of a complete product mix in terms of size, weight, color and quality.

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Renowned Italian jewellery brand Roberto Coin to exhibit at premiere edition of CARAT+ in May

2 Mar

Roberto Coin, one of the world's most sought-after Italian jewelry brands, confirmed that it will exhibit at the premiere edition of CARAT+ in Antwerp, May 7 to 9, 2017. With more than 600 new models of fine jewellery created every year, the Roberto Coin brand is today distributed via more than 1,000 points of sales in some 63 countries. Favoured by celebrities, the distinctive jewellery is a frequent and prominent feature at international red carpet events for the film and music industries. 
The presence of Roberto Coin at the new jewellery show, which when it kicks off in three months will become the largest international event worldwide dedicated exclusively to diamonds and diamond jewellery, was announced by the Event Director, Filip Van Laere. 
Roberto Coin also has been deeply involved in advancing the jewellery industry's ethical and social role, and was recognized for this activity respect when he was named a winner of an International Palladio Award as the best brand for corporate social responsibility in the jewelry industry. 
Covering the full spectrum of the diamond and diamond jewellery trades, CARAT+ will feature four sectors, namely loose diamonds, branded diamond jewellery, non-branded diamond jewellery, and services for the diamond and diamond jewellery industry. Taking place in Hall 1 and Hall 4 of the Antwerp Expo, entry to the show be restricted exclusively to industry professionals, including diamond and jewellery wholesalers and manufacturers from around the world, and jewellery retailers predominantly from Europe. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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De Beers Unveils Cutting-Edge Synthetics Detector

2 Mar

De Beers showcased an updated version of its automated melee screening machine, the AMS2, in Hong Kong on Wednesday, claiming it could check a wider range of diamonds for undisclosed synthetics, and at a faster rate. 
The new version was brought to market in response to customer requests, particularly since there has been an increase in cases of undisclosed synthetic diamonds mixed in parcels of natural diamonds, explained Jamie Clark, commercial director of the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR) – the De Beers subsidiary that developed the machine. 
“Confidence is everything in the diamond sector, and the AMS2 will play a big part in maintaining trust in trade transactions,” added IIDGR president Jonathan Kendall during the unveiling at the Hong Kong Diamond, Gem & Pearl show. 
The AMS2 allows screening of stones as small as 0.003 carats, whereas the first-generation machine started with 0.10-carat diamonds. That’s crucial to the watch industry in particular, which works with diamonds smaller than 0.10 carats, Kendall explained. 
AMS2 also checks all shapes and cuts, starting from 0.10 carats for fancy shapes. 
 

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GST to be implemented in India from July 1, 2017

2 Mar

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented from July 1, 2017 in India. The GST, which will replace a myriad of consumption taxes, could be a “game changer” over the medium term as it would reduce tax cascading and boost India’s competitiveness, investment and job creation. 
The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “Despite teething problems, hopefully GST will come up for implementation by July 1. The entire process has to be completed by September 15. At the moment, it is the biggest tax reform since Independence. Once implemented, it will be far more efficient tax system. The quantum of taxation will go up. GST will make generation of cash more difficult.” 
The GST is expected to bring about reduced tax exemption, which could have a bearing on prices of goods and capital requirement for managing cross-border supply chains. It will also mean reduced duty benefit claimed on imports and reduced export incentives and drawback on exports, experts said. 
The gem and jewellery industry has sought GST of 1.25 per cent from the government for the sector. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough &Polished 
 

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Polished diamond prices decline in February amid hopes for rebound

2 Mar

In February, diamond trading slowed despite expectations that U.S. and Chinese jewelers will start replacing inventory sold during the holiday seasons, according to Rapaport Monthly Report. 
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1-carat polished diamonds declined 0.3% in February and was down 1.2% from the beginning of the year. 
The report notes that polished inventories are rising as major manufacturers return to full polished production following strong rough buying in January and February. Rough demand was steady, with De Beers February sight valued at $545 million, following a large $720 million January sale. Profit margins tightened in 2017 as rough prices firmed and polished prices softened. 
The effect of India’s demonetization policy has stabilized. Smaller diamond and jewelry companies must improve transparency and shift to electronic payments. Higher governance and compliance standards in all industry centers will enable greater bank financing and improve profitability. 
Greater investment in marketing will raise consumer demand and ensure long-term profitability. Larger marketing budgets are required to strengthen the status of natural diamonds as an emotional store of value, following disappointing sales during the Christmas and Chinese New Year seasons. 
Hopes are high for the Hong Kong show, as jewelers are expected to return to the market. Rough sales are projected to slow as a large volume of new polished supply hits the market in the second quarter. Suppliers hope polished prices will increase, enabling a return to profits. Excess supply may put a strain on midstream inventory if the expected rise in polished demand doesn’t materialize. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow
 

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Gemfields H1 revenue drops sharply amid Indian demonetization

6 Mar

Coloured gemstone producer Gemfields reported its revenue fell nearly 46 percent to $51 million for the six months ended December 30, 2016 from the $94 million for the same period the previous year. 
The company also slumped to a loss of $13.6 million for the period, as against a profit of $8.2 million the previous year. 
The company said the main reason for the decline was the deferral of the higher quality rough emerald auction originally scheduled to take place in December 2016 to February 2017 and a moderated product mix placed on offer at the last ruby auction. 
Only two auctions were held during the period, consisting of one commercial quality rough emerald and beryl auction and one mixed quality rough ruby and corundum auction, the company said. The previous period saw three auctions. 
The auctions were impacted by Gemfields' decision to allow some of its customers to adjust to the Indian demonetisation programme which was put in place in November 2016. 
Gemfields plans to hold a further auction of commercial quality rough emerald and beryl as well as another mixed quality rough ruby and corundum auction during the second half of fiscal 2017.

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Hong Kong Jewelry Sales Down for January

6 Mar

Sales of jewelry and other luxury products in Hong Kong fell in January despite the Chinese New Year occurring during the month. 
Spending on jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts declined 3.9 percent year on year to $944 million (HKD 7.33 billion), according to Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department. 
The New Year fell on January 28, as opposed to February 8 last year, but this potential boost to January sales failed to translate into higher consumer spending, the data showed. The drop came even as tourist numbers in Hong Kong grew 4.8 percent for the month. 
The short-term outlook for Hong Kong retail will depend on inbound tourism levels and whether local consumer sentiment stands up to the various uncertainties in the global environment, the spokesperson added. 
The decline in jewelry and luxury sales follows a 2.3-percent rise in December – the first monthly increase in more than two years. 
Total retail sales in Hong Kong across all products slipped by 0.9% in January. 

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ALROSA to showcase synthetic and treated diamonds detector at Mediterranean conference

6 Mar

During the Mediterranean Gemmological and Jewellery Conference in May, ALROSA will introduce its new synthetic and treated diamonds detecting device. 
The new Diamond Inspector by ALROSA can identify polished natural diamonds from polished synthetic diamonds, polished treated diamonds and diamond simulants, according to a statement by ALROSA. 
At the Mediterranean conference, ALROSA representative Dr. Sergei Terentev will introduce the Diamond Inspector. 

ALROSA’s president Andrey Zharkov said: “As the world’s leading producer of natural diamonds ALROSA cares greatly about its customers and places strong emphasis on protecting the natural diamond market from the inflow of treated and synthetic diamonds and diamond imitations. I suggest that we think about the necessity to create unified industry-wide standards for the detection of synthetic and treated diamonds. It will boost consumer confidence in detection results and different devices manufactured by diamond market participants: mining and diamond manufacturing companies, international gemological laboratories.” 
ALROSA is a major partner of the Mediterranean Gemmological and Jewellery Conference. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed directive to appoint Sergey Ivanov as head of ALROSA

7 Mar

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he had signed a directive to appoint Sergey Ivanov to be the head of diamond mining company ALROSA.
At his meeting with Sergey Ivanov on Monday Dmitry Medvedev said: “I would like to inform you that I have signed a government directive to appoint you to the position of President of joint-stock company ALROSA (also known as public joint-stock company ALROSA). I want to wish you success in this difficult work.”
Noting that ALROSA is the world’s largest diamond producer, which is systemically important for Russia and in particular for the development of the Far East, Dmitry Medvedev asked Sergey Ivanov to have this aspect in mind.
“We need to work pro-actively within all industrial and economic programs of the government and with the Ministry of Finance building full-fledged relations with regional authorities, because the company has an unconditional value also for the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) itself. All these factors need to be put on your list of priorities as head of the company,” the prime minister stressed.
As reported, Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District has already approved the directive obliging the members of the Supervisory Board of ALROSA representing the interests of the Russian Federation, the company’s key shareholder, to vote for the election of Sergey Ivanov, who is currently a Senior Vice President of Sberbank, to be the president of ALROSA. The announcement was published on the website of the Russian government. Simultaneously, a directive was signed on the early termination of powers of Andrey Zharkov, the current president of ALROSA who held this position since April 2015.
Sergei Ivanov, Jr. was born in Moscow in 1980. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 2002 with a specialty in Finance and Credit and then worked with Gazprom in 2003-2004 and Gazprombank in 2004-2011. In 2011, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of OAO SOGAZ and then, in April 2016, as a Senior Vice President at Sberbank.
Being a Deputy Chairman of Gazprombank, Sergey Ivanov oversaw corporate clients and private banking and was responsible for interaction with state authorities, as well as coordinated special projects on behalf of the board and head of the bank. While at Sberbank, he was responsible for the wealth management unit, combining insurance and pension business, clients’ asset management and a number of other areas.

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Kristall Smolensk privatization prospect remains unclear

7 Mar

The final decision on Kristall Smolensk privatization remains unclear despite the fact that the company is in the list for 2017-2019 state enterprises privatization plan. 
Maxim Shkadov, CEO of Kristall Smolensk, said: "Russian government approves a forecast plan for the privatization of enterprises for a certain period. In February this year, shares of our enterprise were included in this forecast plan…[Meanwhile], during the 2014-2016 privatization period our shares have also been included in the plan, but no further action was taken." 
According to Shkadov, the Ministry of Economic Development and Federal Property Management Agency which own the Kristall Smolensk said there are no plans and specific options for its privatization. 
Shkadov believes that the best option for Kristall is to be purchased by the diamond producer ALROSA since there are few investors who wish to finance the diamond cutting company. 
"In our opinion, the purchase of the company's shares can only be carried out by a strategic investor [ALROSA]," Shkadov notes. "And that would be a logical step, since the rough diamond producer must work closely with the manufacturer to monitor all the processes that are taking place on the market." 
Shkadov added: "Recently, a new president of ALROSA was named, and we hope to find a common ground with its new management." 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Productivity in the industry has dropped by 30% over the last decade - Mark Cutifani

7 Mar

Productivity remains number one operational challenge for the industry as it has dropped by 30% over the last decade, said Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American, in his speech at the Prospectors and Developers association of Canada convention. 
Cutifani reported that since 2012 Anglo American has increased its productivity by 41%, delivering 8% more product, from a 1/3 fewer assets. The number of environmental incidents has decreased by 87%. 
Anglo American has also reduced its net debt by 34% in a year, said Cutifani. He outlined the importance to show resilience “through our balance sheets, acting responsibly and understanding that increased macro, geopolitical and other uncertainties require greater operational discipline, and a different approach to the way we develop and finance our businesses”. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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Lesotho issues new 10-year mining license for Lucapa’s Mothae kimberlite project

7 Mar

Lucapa Diamond said Lesotho has issued a new 10-year mining license to Mothae Diamonds for the Mothae kimberlite project. 
The issuance of the mining license was one of the conditions precedent for Lucapa to acquire its 70 percent interest in Mothae Diamonds, it said in a statement. 
The advanced Mothae kimberlite project had an indicated and inferred resource of 1 million carats and an inferred resource valuation of $1 billion. 
Trial mining had identified that Mothae hosts large Type IIa diamonds, including individual stones up to 254 carats, as well as gem quality diamonds that have sold for up to $41,500 a carat. 
Paragon Diamonds had initially finalised an agreement with Mothae’s previous majority owner, Lucara Diamond, to purchase its 75 percent stake in the project for $8.5-million, but failed to raise the funds. 
Lucara, however, completed the transfer of its shares of Mothae and the Mothae site bulk sample plant last March to the Government of Lesotho, which saw it being released from all liabilities relating to the rehabilitation of the project. 
Meanwhile, Lucapa said Lesotho’s mines ministry recently received a legal challenge against the award of the tender for Mothae Diamonds. 
However, the company was advised by the mines ministry that the challenge was “unfounded, without merit and is being vigorously defended”. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Quick Response Team to guard diamond market in Surat

9 Mar

With the arrest of ISIS terror suspects from Saurashtra, a Quick Response Team (QRT) of the city police has been placed at the Mahidharpura diamond market in Surat, where transactions of precious stones worth crores of rupees take place daily. A number of angadias dealing in high value transactions also operate from the area.
In a meeting held with city police commissioner Satish Sharma, representatives of diamond industry demanded security."As the demand for security to the diamond market at Mahidharpura was an important, we took the decision to post a QRT there. The QRT will be deployed at the Mahidharpura police station in the diamond market," said Sharma.
The QRT will have five policemen armed with carbines and machine guns to combat armed attacks. They will be wearing bullet proof jackets and remain present at the police station along with the regular staff.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Namibia’s state-owned diamond company board ‘split’ over CEO – report

9 Mar

The board of Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia), which was set up last May following a new sales and marketing agreement with De Beers, is allegedly divided on who to appoint as its chief executive officer.
The state-owned firm was responsible for selling Namibian diamonds worth N$2 billion ($154 million) per year.
The Namibian newspaper reports that “two camps” had emerged with one supporting the director of business improvement at Swakop Uranium Alex Gawanab, while the other group wanted Namdia's acting chief executive and the country’s diamond commissioner Kennedy Hamutenya. 
Namdia's chairperson Shakespeare Masiza declined to name the candidate recommended to energy minister Obeth Kandjoze.
However, unnamed sources cited by the daily claimed that Gawanab had been chosen to lead Namdia.
The Namibian also reported that Deloitte Management interviewed candidates last November and told the board that Hamutenya had come first; followed by former Namdeb engineer Wicus Burger, while Gawanab came third. 
Namdia was last year accused of undervaluing the country’s diamonds.
However, mines minister Kandjoze dismissed the allegations as baseless.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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IDE International Tender Center to host three I. Hennig rough tenders in March

9 Mar

Three rough diamond tenders will be held at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) International Tender Center from March 13-16, 2017 by I. Hennig Tenders and viewings will be held by appointment only, announces IDE.
The first tender will offer two special fancy color rough diamonds of yellow color weighing 77.54 and 38.88 carats respectively, from the Superkolong diamond tailings operation in Kimberley, South Africa. The second tender will be of a single rough commercial stone weighing 10.80 cts of Russian origin, sourced in Gokhranco; and the third will be of a wide selection of single rough stones from 5 to 15 carats.
Yoram Dvash,IDE President said, “We are happy to once again host I.Henning at the International Tender Center. Our purpose in opening the center was to bring more rough and polished tenders to Israel. It is clear that this is a win-win situation for the tender companies and for the bourse.”
I. Hennig Tenders CEO David Kuchler said, “The upcoming tenders present Israeli rough buyers the opportunity to view and offer on rough diamonds in their local market. The International Tender Center has made it convenient for us.”

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Lucara says BK02 mini bulk sample results ‘encouraging’

9 Mar

Lucara Diamond said it recovered 309.79 carats from 5,021 tonnes of kimberlite for a sample grade of 6.2 carats per hundred tonne (cpht) during the second BK02 mini-bulk sample programme in Botswana.
It said the largest diamond recovered was a 4.56 white/grey octahedron. 
A total of 22 stones were recovered greater than 1 carat in weight, including five diamonds in excess of 2 carats in weight (inclusive of the 4.56 carat diamond), Lucara said.
It also said that the second phase sample results confirmed the coarse size distribution of the BK02-1 sample.
Three largest diamonds were recovered and these were 4.56, 2.71 and 2.26 carats
The combined BK02-1 and BK02-2 samples saw 584.12 carats being recovered from 10,937 tonnes of kimberlite for a sample grade of 5.3 cpht.
 A total of 46 diamonds were recovered greater than 1 carat in weight, including 8 diamonds greater than 2 carats in weight, it said.  
Three largest diamonds were also recovered and these are 5.48, 4.56 and 2.71 carats.
"Results of the second BK02 mini bulk sample are very encouraging with the improvement in the grade and confirmation of the coarse nature of the BK02 diamond size distribution,” said Lucara chief executive William Lamb.
“The combined parcel of diamonds is suitable for a preliminary diamond valuation which we expect to provide to the market in the second quarter of 2017. The next stage of exploration at BK02 will be to develop an understanding of the diamond content and size distribution continuity at depth."
The diamonds recovered would be independently valued early in the second quarter of the year while a large diameter drill (LDD) programme at BK02 was in the advanced planning stage, with the tendering process underway.
The first material from the pilot drilling programme was expected in the second quarter of the year.
Meanwhile, Lucara said a deep drilling programme at the Karowe Mine AK06 kimberlite was completed in the first quarter of the year. 
The programme was designed to increase confidence in the geological model for the South Lobe of the AK06 kimberlite and provide sufficient data and material for an updated resource to be utilised in an underground option study for the Karowe mine.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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DiamondCorp loss narrows after adjustments for stronger Rand exchange rate

9 Mar

DiamondCorp said its net loss for the six-month period ended 30 June 2016 was £247 221 compared with £3.159 million in the same period in 2015 after adjustments for a stronger Rand exchange rate.
The troubled diamond junior said its administrative expenditure for the period increased to £0.893 million from £0.672 million, a year earlier.
“The increase is primarily due to a timing change on audit remuneration, as well as additional administrative expenses as the company is moving from development into production,” it said.
Cash at 30 June was £0.108 million. 
However, after the period end, a further £2.0 million was raised through a share issue.
DiamondCorp’s Lace diamond mine in South Africa was placed into business administration following the impact of adverse weather last year. 
However, the diamond junior had been trying to refinance the mine through a placing and debt restructuring.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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China set to close 150 gold mines by the end of 2020

10 Mar

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) aims to consolidate and upgrade the gold mining industry by reducing the number of gold miners to around 450 from more than 600 and shutting down 40 tonnes of outdated production capacity by the end of 2020. 
China is set to increase annual gold output to 500 tonnes by the end of the decade from around 450 tonnes currently, according to a report by the official news agency Xinhua. 
China overtook South Africa as the number one miner of gold in 2007. China's MIIT expects gold output to grow by an average 3% annually through 2020. Last year output rose less than 1% to 453.5 tonnes according to the ministry. 
Meanwhile, global gold demand increased 2% to 4,309 tonnes in 2016, the World Gold Council reported. 
China is both the leader in extracting gold and a host of other minerals, and the number one consumer of metals and minerals. 
According to some research organizations, domestic mineral capacity and demand is what is driving the China's push to acquire overseas mines. Notably, China's production-to-reserves ratios for gold is 23.5%. In 2013, China became the world's top gold market at 1,132 tonnes and although consumption has shrunk since then it's holding is around the 1,000-tonne level annually. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough &Polished 

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U.S. Jewelry Store Sales Rise in 2016

10 Mar

Sales at specialty jewelry stores in the U.S. grew 3.8 percent to $31.43 billion in 2016 following a sharp rise at the end of the year, according to data from the country’s Census Bureau. 
December sales jumped 7 percent to $6.21 billion, the provisional figures showed. 
The increase compared with a 4.8-percent rise in jewelry sales across all outlets last year, according to separate data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 
This data contrasts with more cautious figures quoted by De Beers chief executive officer Bruce Cleaver, who said in January that U.S. jewelry retail sales had crept up only 0.4 percent for the year. In December, independent jewelers’ revenues grew 1.4 percent, while overall sales increased 0.7 percent, Cleaver said, citing data from the Mastercard Spending Pulse. 
Meanwhile, the consumer price index for jewelry rose 5 percent in January from the previous month and increased 3.7 percent year on year, the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed. January watch prices gained 5 percent from December and 5.4 percent from a year earlier, while prices of jewelry and watches combined increased 5 percent over the previous month and grew 4 percent year on year. Price changes were not adjusted for seasonal fluctuation. 

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ALROSA postpones investment diamonds trading start until summer

10 Mar

(TASS) - Russian diamond miner ALROSA has postponed initiation of investment diamonds trading on the Moscow Exchange until summer 2017, the company told TASS. 
"The Investment Diamonds project launch deadline is postponed in connection with the need to work out its implementation mechanisms in greater detail. We are working to address interests of all market participants and offer a liquid investment and saving mechanism to investors. The project will start in summer 2017," the official spokesperson of ALROSA said. 
ALROSA plans to launch trading in supply futures contracts for diamonds in sizes of 0.3 and 0.5 carat at the initial stage. The company plans to start trading in 1 carat diamonds at a later stage, the spokesperson added. 
ALROSA estimates the market for the new investment instrument as 3 bln rubles ($51.6 bln) at the initial stage. Such trading in diamonds futures contracts has not been organized elsewhere across the globe to date, ALROSA’s spokesperson said. 
 

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ALROSA announces sales results for February 2017

10 Mar

ALROSA, the world's leader in diamond mining, has announced rough and polished diamond sale results for February 2017.
Rough diamond sales by ALROSA Group in February 2017 amounted to USD 389.8 million. Polished diamond sales for the same period amounted to USD 12.1 million.
Total diamond sales in February 2017 amounted to USD 401.9 million, 7% higher compared with January.
“The results in February reflect stable demand in almost all rough diamond categories. Alongside with positive outcomes of the Hong Kong jewelry show in March, it gives us reasons to remain optimistic about demand behavior in all market segments,” says Yury Okoemov, ALROSA Vice President.

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Christie’s to Offer 'Jonker No. 5 Diamond' at Hong Kong Spring Auction

13 Mar

The Jonker No. 5 diamond will be among the exceptional items that auctioneer Christie’s in Hong Kong will be offering at its Spring auction on May 30. 
The Jonker No. 5 diamond forms a key part of a legendary collection of diamonds from the world famous 726-carat Jonker rough stone discovered by Jacob Jonker, Christie’s said in a statement. 
When found in January 1934, it was the fourth-largest gem quality diamond ever uncovered. The stone was subsequently purchased by the Diamond Corporation Ltd., a company owned by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. In 1935, it was purchased by Harry Winston and was displayed during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. 
"Before the Jonker rough was cut, it was painstakingly examined for months before taking its final form of 13 exquisite polished pieces, of which the Jonker Diamond No. 5 was born as a rectangular-cut diamond of 25.27 carats." 

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Firestone Diamonds –Liqhobong Tender in Antwerp from 20 to 24 March 2017

13 Mar

First Element has informed about the holding of the Firestone Diamonds - Liqhobong Tender. 
The tender will run from Monday the 20th of March 2017 to Friday the 24th of March 2017 and will close at 12:00 noon on Friday the 24th, with results being announced shortly afterwards. 
The tender will take place at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility at the AWDC building. 
Bookings can be made immediately by confirming the following: dates required, numer of persons attending and names of persons attending. 
First Element, a fully independent diamond services company, is one of the premier diamond valuing, marketing, cleaning and tendering companies in the industry. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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Twin HK Shows attract over 85,000 visitors

13 Mar

The 4th Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show and the 34th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show--organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) -- attracted over 85,000 buyers from 144 countries and regions, a rise of six per cent as compared to last year, says a press note from the organisers. 
Deputy Executive Director, HKTDC Benjamin Chau, said, “The exhibitors are generally satisfied with the results at the two shows. Despite economic challenges, especially in the luxury goods market, they attracted a record number of buyers.” He added that the numbers demonstrate that the jewellery industry remains confident about business prospects this year, and also reinforces Hong Kong’s position as a proven global promotion and sourcing hub for the industry. 
During the two shows, a number of networking receptions were organised, including the Gala Dinner sponsored by the Tanzanite Foundation, seminars exploring diamond and gemstone grading and analysing product trends, buyer forums, jewellery craftsmanship demonstration, jewellery parades and cocktail receptions. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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GIA finds significant undisclosed synthetics

13 Mar

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recently uncovered an unusually large number of undisclosed synthetic diamonds mixed in with natural melee diamonds, says a report in Rapaport News. 
A parcel of 323 melee diamonds with an average size of 0.014 to 0.015 carats was found to contain 101 chemical vapor deposition (CVD) synthetic stones at the GIA’s Mumbai lab, reported Wuyi Wang, the institute’s director of research and development. The goods had been submitted to the GIA’s Melee Analysis Service, which made the discovery. 
The GIA launched the service in December of last year and has regularly identified small quantities of undisclosed synthetic melee diamonds in some parcels submitted for analysis, Wang said. 
However, he explained, “this is the first time we have seen such a significant percentage of CVD melee mixed with natural melee.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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First Diamonds Discovered in Manitoba Province, Canada

14 Mar

Winnipeg geologists discovered the very first micro-diamonds in the Manitoba province in Canada. The discovery was made by an informal consortium of Manitoba and Alberta prospectors in the northeastern part of the province. 
According to Ruth Bezys, president of the Prospectors and Developers Association based in Winnipeg, the discovery was made by the Lynx Consortium group in bedrock in the northeastern part of the province near Knee Lake and measure less than a millimeter in size. At this time, she is unable to say exactly how much was found, but possibly a “handful” of diamonds, and “maybe more”. For 16 years, prospectors and geologists have been actively seeking diamonds in the Manitoba region, as diamonds have been mined in its neighboring territories: northern Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. Some major players have conducted exploratory mining in the region including Kennecott in 2001 and De Beers a few years later. 
It is too soon to announce whether there is in fact a mine to discover. However, should further prospecting suggest there is mine potential, the next phase will require a significant investment of possibly millions of dollars for deeper exploration. “Through the work of Manitoba Geological Survey geologists and their industry partners, Lynx Consortium diamonds have been discovered in northeast Manitoba for the first time in the province’s history. This preliminary prospecting does not assure mining development, but rather confirms the potential for a certain mineral exists in the geological area,” Minister Cliff Cullen said in a news release. 
 

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GJEPC to host International Diamond Conference on 19 & 20 March in Mumbai

14 Mar

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC) will host the International Diamond Conference on 19th & 20th of March 2017. The conference is being held with an objective of bringing together the leading Miners, Diamantaires, Retailers, Bankers and Analysts from across the globe on a platform to discuss the supply and demand issues faced by the Global Diamond Industry. 
The two-day conference will witness Ministers from mining countries, delegates from Mining Companies, heads of Retail and Luxury brands, Int. Diamond heads of various banks and other prominent personalities of the Diamond industry. Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge) and Shri. Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, will be the chief guests and keynote speakers at the event. 
Commenting on this event, Praveenshankar Pandya, Chairman, GJEPC, said, “India is the largest cut and polished diamond manufacturer in the world. 93 % of its production is exported. As a major player in the world market, I believe it is our responsibility and take pride in organising this event wherein we bring together all the stakeholders from the world diamond industry on a single platform to discuss various challenges faced by the industry and come out with future road map” 
The conference will be a comprehensive one, covering all aspects of the diamond pipeline including mining, midstream, marketing & retail, international finance, valuation with KP and Diamond certification. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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De Beers sees stable demand for diamonds in 2017

14 Mar

De Beers said macro-economic conditions underpinning consumer demand for diamonds remain broadly stable in aggregate, with the U.S expected to continue to be the main driver of global growth in 2017. 
Group chief executive Bruce Cleaver said in a statement in Anglo American’s annual report for 2016 that the extent of global growth will, however, be dependent upon a number of macro-economic factors, including the new administration in the US, the strength of the US dollar impacting consumer demand, economic performance in China, the effects of Indian demonetisation, and sentiment following the main US and Chinese New Year retail season. 
“With midstream stocks having returned to more typical levels in 2016, rough diamond demand is expected to normalise in 2017, reflecting underlying consumer and retail demand,” he said. “While producers continue destocking, forecast diamond production (by De Beers) for 2017 is expected to be in the range of 31-33 million carats, subject to trading conditions.” 
Cleaver said producers destocked during 2016, as sentiment in the midstream improved and rough and polished inventories normalised, supported by a series of initiatives put in place by De Beers, starting in the second half of 2015. 
These, he said, included lowering rough prices, providing flexibility to Sightholders for their purchase arrangements and increased marketing activity to drive consumer demand. 
De Beers’ rough diamond production decreased by 5 percent to 27.3 million carats in 2016 compared with 28.7 million carats a year earlier, reflecting the decision, taken in 2015, to reduce production in response to prevailing trading conditions. 
However, its total revenue increased by 30 percent to $6.1 billion from $4.7 billion in 2015, driven by higher rough diamond sales, which increased by 37 percent to $5.6 billion. 
This, said Cleaver, was attributable to a 50 percent increase in consolidated sales volumes to 30.0 million carats from 2015’s 19.9 million carats, partly offset by a 10 percent decrease in the average realised rough diamond price to $187/carat from $207/carat, a year earlier. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Sergey Ivanov elected as President of ALROSA

14 Mar

The supervisory board of ALROSA Joint-Stock Company, the world's largest diamond producer, voted at the March 13, 2017 meeting to elect Sergey Ivanov as President of ALROSA.
Sergey S. Ivanov was born on October 23, 1980 in Moscow.
In 2001, he graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations with a degree in economics. In 2002, with a degree in finance and credit.
In 2002 – 2005, Mr. Ivanov held various positions in the State Investment Company and OAO Gazprom.
In 2005 – 2011, worked as vice president, first vice president, deputy chairman of the board of JSC GAZPROMBANK.
2011 – 2016, was chairman of the board of SOGAZ.
Since April 2016, before becoming ALROSA’s president Mr. Ivanov acted as senior vice president and head of the Welfare Management of PJSC Sberbank.
Sergey Ivanov is member of boards of directors of Rosneftegaz, NPF Gazfond, Sberbank Asset Management, Sberbank NPF, Sberbank Insurance, Sberbank Life Insurance.
Honored with letters of merit by the President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, has departmental awards. Fluent in English and German.

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Dubai Precious Metals Conference to be held on April 9-10

15 Mar

Miners, investors, engineers, asset managers and professional services representatives from across the precious metals sector will participate in the Dubai Precious Metal Conference, announces the DMCC. 
Held under the theme of ‘Connecting Markets’, the discussions will focus on the new era of global trade and how shifting geopolitics will impact the trade flows of precious metals. 
DMCC elaborated: 'Despite a challenging performance towards the end of last year, precious metals gained 11.71% over 2016, driven by economic volatility and political uncertainty in many regions of the world.' 
Gautam Sashittal, CEO, DMCC commented: “2017 is likely to be an interesting year for precious metals, given shifting geopolitical sentiments.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Merlin unearths green diamonds in Australia

15 Mar

Merlin Diamonds has recovered five green diamonds in its Australian mining operations, following the discovery of a rare blue diamond in December. 
The largest of the green diamonds weighs 1.4 carats, and another is 0.21 carats. Meanwhile, independent experts are inspecting other green diamonds from the Merlin mine besides these five, the company said Tuesday. 
“The recovery of these green diamonds is highly encouraging and follows Merlin Diamonds’ previous discovery of a rare blue diamond in December 2016, demonstrating the mine’s potential for producing valuable colored diamonds,” the company said. 
The latest diamonds surfaced at the Kaye pit, part of the Merlin mine operations that the company acquired from Rio Tinto in 2004. 
The Merlin mine has produced the largest diamond ever found in Australia, which weighed in at 104 carats. Since Merlin Diamonds recommenced mining there at the end of 2016, the company has produced a 35.3-carat diamond. 

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Anglo American to maintain 2017 Capex at $2.5bn

15 Mar

Anglo American, a diversified mining group, which also has an 85 percent stake in the diamond giant, De Beers, said its capital expenditure will be maintained at $2.5 billion this year, with stay-in-business capital increased to $1.2 billion. 
Its capital expenditure declined from $4.0 billion in 2015 to $2.5 billion in 2016 owing to rigorous capital discipline applied to all project investments, as well as to the benefits accruing from the commissioning of the Minas-Rio, Gahcho Kué and Grosvenor projects. 
Group chief executive Mark Cutifani said capital would be appropriately prioritised, with care taken to ensure that Anglo protect the long term value of its assets. 
“We retain a number of attractive organic options, particularly in our Copper business, which we will continue to progress appropriately and assess in light of our overall capital structure and the prevailing macro environment,” he said. 
Meanwhile, Cutifani said 2016 saw how unpredictable the economic and political environment was, emphasising the importance of asset quality, balance sheet strength, operational excellence and overall resilience. 
“And, as we look ahead, we do expect ongoing price volatility for many of our products. However, with supply generally more constrained following a number of years of low capital investment and a generally more cautious approach across the industry, coupled with still growing demand as China seeks to balance its economy via both stimulus and a managed slowdown, the fundamental picture is sound,” he said. 
“The world’s consuming and aspirational middle class continues to grow in size at a considerable rate, further supporting demand for our products that are more skewed to the later stages of the development cycle.” 
Anglo delivered a profit for the financial year attributable to equity shareholders of $1.6 billion and underlying EBITDA of $6.1 billion. 
“The performance was bolstered by an across-the-business improvement in productivity of 18% as we progressively rolled out our Operating Model and sold a number of less productive assets, with copper equivalent unit costs declining by 9% in dollar terms,” said outgoing Anglo chairperson John Parker. 
The group reduced its net debt by $4.4 billion, from $12.9 billion to $8.5 billion, considerably below the year-end target of $10 billion, with net debt to EBITDA of 1.4 times. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Grib Diamond Sales Surge Ahead of Takeover

15 Mar

Lukoil’s diamond revenue nearly doubled to $335.8 million (RUB 20 billion) last year, ahead of the oil producer’s sale of the Grib mine. 
Sales of rough stones stood at $184.7 million (RUB 11 billion) in 2015, having risen from $16.8 million (RUB $1 billion) in 2014, the miner said Tuesday. 
Lukoil, Russia’s largest oil miner, sources all its diamonds from the Grib asset in the country’s Arkhangelsk region. The company announced the $1.45 billion sale of the mine to Russian investment group Otkritie Holding last year, with the deal currently subject to government approvals, Lukoil said. 
Production at Grib was launched in September 2014, with initial estimates putting full annual production at 4.5 million carats. Lukoil has not disclosed operational figures for the mine. 

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Lucapa to resume production at Mothae next year

16 Mar

Lucapa Diamond, which recently acquired a 70 percent stake in Mothae Diamonds in Lesotho, said it is planning to resume production in the next 12 months. 
It said in a presentation at the Euroz Institutional Conference that preliminary modelling had indicated sufficient free cash flow in first 18 months to repay project funding. 
Lucapa was expecting capital cost of $12 million for the first phase of the project to optimise plant feed, XRT technology and upgrade capacity. 
The government of Lesotho issued a new 10-year mining license to Mothae Diamonds early this month for the Mothae kimberlite project. 
The issuance of the mining license was one of the conditions precedent for Lucapa to acquire its 70 percent interest in Mothae Diamonds, it said in a statement. 
The advanced Mothae kimberlite project had an indicated and inferred resource of 1 million carats and an inferred resource valuation of $1 billion. 
Trial mining had identified that Mothae hosts large Type IIa diamonds, including individual stones up to 254 carats, as well as gem quality diamonds that have sold for up to $41,500 a carat. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Anil Agarwal of Vedanta is to buy the second-largest stake in Anglo American

16 Mar

Indian mining billionaire Anil Agarwal will buy a £2bn stake in Anglo American thus becoming its second-largest shareholder with a 13% stake. The major stake in Anglo belongs to South Africa’s Public Investment Corp. This move will give him a very strong position at the table of Anglo at a time when the latter is bouncing back from a commodity market downturn.
The deal will be conducted through Volcan Investments, a stakeholder in Vedanta, but will stop short of a full-fledged takeover of Anglo. Last year, Anil Agarwal proposed to marry his mining business with that of Anglo, but his offer was declined.
“It gives him an extremely good seat at the table if there is going to be any corporate activity,” said Jeremy Wrathall, head of mining research at Investec Plc. cited by Bloomberg. “We expect that M&A is going to be the next phase and maybe this is firing the starting gun.”
The purchase will be funded via a mandatory exchangeable bond issued by his holding company, Volcan Investments Ltd., and secured by Anglo’s shares, the investor said in a statement on Wednesday, according to the agency. 
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is acting as the sole bookrunner and underwriter on the financing as well as the coupon guarantor. Volcan plans to place the bond on or around April 11, the statement said.
“This is an attractive investment for our family trust,” Agarwal, who founded Vedanta Resources Plc, said in the statement. “Anglo American is a great company with excellent assets and a strong board and management team who are executing a focused strategy to drive shareholder value. I am delighted to become a shareholder in Anglo American.”

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished

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ALROSA reports FY 2016 IFRS results

16 Mar

ALROSA, the global leader in rough diamond production, reports FY 2016 IFRS results. 
ALROSA’s 2016 revenue increased by 41% y-o-y and totaled RUB 317.1 bn. EBITDA grew by 49% y-o-y to RUB 176.4 bn, with EBITDA margin totaled 56%. 
Net income surged fourfold y-o-y to RUB 133.5 bn. Free cash flow increased threefold to RUB 111.4 bn. 
“2016 was a year of active recovery in the diamond market following the decline of 2015. The Company managed to deliver record-high financial performance and generate net cash flow sufficient to repay short-term and medium-term liabilities and pay out dividends to shareholders”, – said Igor Kulichik, ALROSA’s Vice President – Chief Financial Officer.

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EU draft law on minerals from conflict areas approved

17 Mar

On Thursday, the European Parliament approved the EU draft law which provides the mandatory vendor evaluation of several minerals when they are imported from conflict zones or high risk areas from 2021. 
From January 1, 2021, new rules should require all EU companies, with the exception of the smallest importers, the evaluation of the suppliers of products, such as tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold, which, in particular, are used in the manufacture of computers, mobile phones and jewelry. The evaluation would be mandatory for importers from "the conflict zones and high risk areas". 
Monitoring of implementation of the requirements will be made by EU national authorities and the Commission would evaluate the effectiveness of these new measures. 
The rebels in African countries provide financial resources by trading natural resources. 
Now, the new legislation must be approved by the EU Council and then it will be published in the EU Official journal. After that it will enter into force. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels
 

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Petra Diamonds projects flat diamond prices in FY 2017

17 Mar

Petra Diamonds said it is conservatively guiding for flat diamond pricing for its fiscal year 2017, but improved product mix is expected for Finsch, Cullinan and Koffiefontein mines in South Africa. 
The group said in a presentation at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Sun City Conference that it was expecting Finsch to record an average price of $100-105 per carat during the fiscal year 2017, while Cullinan was expected to register $105-115 per carat and Koffiefontein $520-550 per carat. 
This projection, however, excluded stones above $5 million in value. 
Finsch recorded an average price of $98 per carat during the first half of its fiscal year 2017, while Cullinan registered $127 per carat and Koffiefontein $495 per carat. 
“The first half of H1 FY 2017 saw steady market conditions, with pricing on a like for like basis generally on par with H2 FY 2016,” said Petra. 
Finsch registered an average price of $89 per carat during the fiscal year 2016, Cullinan posted $126 per carat while Koffiefontein recorded $462 per carat. 
Meanwhile, Petra said there are signs of stabilisation in rough diamond market evident with steady demand across majority of size ranges, except in the smaller, lower value categories which experienced some pressure in December 2016 tender due to the Indian government’s demonetisation policy. 
Petra Diamonds’ first half revenue for the fiscal year 2017 leaped 48 percent to $228.5 million compared with $154.0 million, a year earlier. 
The increase in revenue helped its half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rise to $87.1 million from $48.5 million. 
Its adjusted net profit after tax was also up 348 percent to $28.2 million from $6.3 million during the same period last year. 
The group’s production jumped 24 percent to 2,02 million carats during the period under review compared with 1,62 million carats, a year earlier. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Alrosa sells two pilot batches of Angolan diamonds – report

17 Mar

Alrosa sold two batches of diamonds from its Angola-based processing facility of Catoca since the beginning of this year, according to a news report. 
Alrosa controls a 32.8 percent stake in Catoca, so was Endiama, an Angolan state-owned diamond company. 
LL International Holding B.V. which is owned by China-Sonagol controlled an 18.0 percent stake, while Brazil’s Odebrecht Mining Services owns 16.4 percent of the company. 
"Since February 2017 our Angolan partners have allowed us to participate in sales. We have already sold two pilot batches of diamonds from the Catoca deposit," Russian news agency TASS quoted Alrosa vice president Rinat Gizatulin as saying, adding the deal was worth between $10 million and $15 million. 
Catoca conducts diamond mining operations in the Lunda Sul Province. 
It produces and sells around 6.8 million carats each year. 
Meanwhile, Gizatulin said Alrosa was also planning to sell 35 percent of diamonds from Catoca and about 50 percent from the Luaxe deposit, also in Angola. 
Luaxe was still under development with production expected to commence early next year with an annual output of about 10 million carats. 
"According to our geologists, this is a very promising huge deposit with at least 400 million carats of diamonds," said Gizatulin. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Russian Dy PM meets Indian G&J industry; discusses proposals for closer collaboration

17 Mar

A high-powered Russian delegation led by Yuri Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and Presidential Envoy to the Russian Far East discussed closer collaboration between the gem and jewellery industries of the two countries with representatives of the GJEPC and BDB during a visit to the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai, says a report on gjepc.org. 
The delegation comprised a number of senior officials including governors and ministers from various parts of the Far Eastern region of Russia. 

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New president of ALROSA will leave the company's development strategy unchanged

17 Mar

(rns.online) - The new president of ALROSA, Sergey Ivanov said that he would be committed to the development strategy of the company, which is focused on mining minerals, selling non-core assets and increasing production.
"I would like to assure you that I am committed to this strategy and intend to make every effort to deliver it," Ivanov said during a conference call with analysts organized to discuss the company's annual results. His statement was cited by Reuters.
Sergey Ivanov was elected as president of ALROSA, the world's largest producer of rough diamonds, on March 13. This prompted some analysts to ask whether he would start diversifying into diamond polishing or other commodities, the agency said.
Sergei Ivanov previously worked as a senior vice-president of Sberbank and headed the board of directors of insurance company Sogaz.

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Maryam Al Hashemi to be 2017 Chair of the CPC of Kimberley Process

20 Mar

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the 2016 KP Chair and Executive Chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre today announced the nomination of Maryam Al Hashemi, the UAE KP Director as the 2017 Chair of the Committee of Participation and Chairmanship (CPC) of the Kimberley Process. 
The CPC assists the Chair of the Kimberley Process in handling the admission of new participants and advises if a Participant fails to comply with requirements, which can lead to their removal from the scheme. It also reviews and assesses candidates for the position of Vice-Chair. The Committee's findings are presented at the plenary meeting. The CPC is made up of previous KP Chairs, representatives of the WDC and Civil Society Coalition. The previous year's KP Chair becomes CPC Chair the following year. 
After completing her formal education at Dubai Women’s College, Maryam joined DMCC in 2003, making her one of its longest current serving employees. Ascending to her current position, as Director of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, as well as becoming a member of the DMCC leadership team in January 2007, Maryam’s responsibilities specifically cover a wide range of initiatives including planning annual department objectives as well as supporting long-term strategic planning towards operational excellence. 
Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: “As someone who understands the necessity of constantly evolving in line with the various sectors and markets to stay ahead of the curve, Maryam is an ideal person to bring forward this important work which involves bringing on board new participants and observers to continue the excellent goals of the Kimberley Process.” 
Maryam Al Hashemi commented: “The fact that we continuously evolve to stay relevant in an exceedingly fast paced and multifaceted environment is one of the most exciting parts of my job and I am looking forward to bring the same spirit to the Kimberley Process during 2017 in this important year that KP will review its processes and bring forward change.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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India’s February polished diamond exports up 3%

20 Mar

India's exports of cut and polished diamonds recorded at $ 2.41 bn in Feb. 2017 as compared to the US$ 2.34 bn in the same month in Feb.2016, a rise of 3.27%, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). 
Rough imports during Feb. 2017 at $ 1.51 bn were down 2.9% in value terms compared to $ 1.55 bn imported during February 2016. In volume terms, 17.8 mn cts of rough were imported during the month, a rise of 14.1% compared to imports of 15.6 mn cts during Feb. ‘16. 
Imports of cut and polished diamonds were down 19.8% to $ 177.89 mn in Feb. 2017 from $ 221.73 mn in the same month a year earlier. 
Exports of cut and polished diamonds for the Apl 2016-Feb. 2017 period were up 11% to $ 20.92 bn as compared to $ 18.84 bn during the same period a year earlier. 
During the fiscal year to date, Import of rough diamonds rose to $ 15.46 bn, an increase of 22.17% as compared to $ 12.66 bn a year earlier. In volume terms, imports rose by 10.63% from 123.4 mn cts in April ‘16- February ’17 to 136.5 mn cts in the same period this year. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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U.S. Polished Imports Steady in January

20 Mar

U.S. polished diamond imports were flat at $1.77 billion in January, according to government data. 
Polished imports by weight slid 8 percent year on year to 840,669 carats, with the average price jumping 8 percent to $2,099 per carat. Polished diamond exports, meanwhile, slipped 1 percent to $1.25 billion, meaning net polished imports crept up 1 percent to $517 million. 
Rough diamond imports grew almost fourfold to $120 million from $31 million a year earlier, while rough exports more than tripled to $56 million. Net rough imports leapt to $64 million from $13 million a year before. 
The U.S. net diamond account for January, representing total imports minus total exports, rose 11 percent to $582 million. 

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Yury Trutnev on situation in jewelry industry: We have lost everything

20 Mar

Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District visited Vietnam and India on a business mission last week. TASS is carrying excerpts from a conversation with Yury Trutnev on the results of this trip and further plans for the development of the Far East.
TASS: In India, a significant part of your visit was devoted to enhancing cooperation in the diamond and jewelry industry, with ALROSA participating as the main player in this segment of the Russian market. This company changed its president this week. What transformations in the company’s strategy, sales and external economic policy should be expected with the advent of Sergey Ivanov?
Yury Trutnev: The company has a management team and a board of directors. The company’s tactics of operation is their competence, and in terms of strategy I am interested in that the company provides as many benefits to the economy of the country and that of the Far East as possible. We visited the diamond exchange in Mumbai, where ALROSA’s diamonds are being processed. There are 40 thousand people working there and if you multiply that number by the number of their family members it will turn out that no less than 120 thousand people in one way or another are related to this work. What does this mean? That we have lost everything because our regulators have created such a customs and tariff system that all this business went away from us. So, it is necessary to change everything.
Is it normal when the Indians - not our people - are proposing to restore the Russian Cut brand during our negotiations with KGK? And why do we not talk about this? Why do we have a whole lot of restrictions related to the turnover of stones, with a value-added tax, with export duties on precious goods, which are simply killing the industry?
But this does not mean that everything should be dumped on ALROSA and make it build diamond cutting facilities and jewelry factories. ALROSA should not do it, but it should take part together with the government in the development of a system of measures that will allow this business to be established in the country and let those companies that already exist to survive, creating conditions for further development.
It is interesting that our Indian colleagues also understand that otherwise there will be an unequal game, they understand that we have reasons to wish leaving in Russia more value from processing, cutting and making jewelry. We are still regulating this industry in a very poor manner. It looks as if there is every condition in place to make all this business go away from this country.
TASS: What can improve the situation? Is there any need in a separate regulatory law?
Yury Trutnev: We need to analyze the entire chain associated with the regimes of gem turnover to create conditions for the market, for making jewelry. Right now, to make a jewelry piece using a Russian stone cut in India and then sell this piece, you have to face a whole array of problems. It turns out that this is more expensive just because for some reason we have introduced additional customs tariffs for jewelry. Although the general practice is to establish tariffs for exporting raw materials and to stimulate the export of finished goods.
TASS: Will you discuss this situation with the Federal Customs Service?
Yury Trutnev: The FCS does not decide this, they are executors. This should be discussed with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development. Well, ALROSA should participate in the negotiations, as the position of our largest company is also important. But we need a detailed analysis of this industry with a view to its recovery in the economy of the Russian Federation.

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Yury Trutnev on situation in jewelry industry: We have lost everything

21 Mar

Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District visited Vietnam and India on a business mission last week. TASS is carrying excerpts from a conversation with Yury Trutnev on the results of this trip and further plans for the development of the Far East.
TASS: In India, a significant part of your visit was devoted to enhancing cooperation in the diamond and jewelry industry, with ALROSA participating as the main player in this segment of the Russian market. This company changed its president this week. What transformations in the company’s strategy, sales and external economic policy should be expected with the advent of Sergey Ivanov?
Yury Trutnev: The company has a management team and a board of directors. The company’s tactics of operation is their competence, and in terms of strategy I am interested in that the company provides as many benefits to the economy of the country and that of the Far East as possible. We visited the diamond exchange in Mumbai, where ALROSA’s diamonds are being processed. There are 40 thousand people working there and if you multiply that number by the number of their family members it will turn out that no less than 120 thousand people in one way or another are related to this work. What does this mean? That we have lost everything because our regulators have created such a customs and tariff system that all this business went away from us. So, it is necessary to change everything.
Is it normal when Indians - not our people - are proposing to restore the Russian Cut brand during our negotiations with KGK? And why do we not talk about this? Why do we have a whole lot of restrictions related to the turnover of stones, with a value-added tax, with export duties on precious goods, which are simply killing the industry?
But this does not mean that everything should be dumped on ALROSA and make it build diamond cutting facilities and jewelry factories. ALROSA should not do it, but it should take part together with the government in the development of a system of measures that will allow this business to be established in the country and let those companies that already exist to survive, creating conditions for further development.
It is interesting that our Indian colleagues also understand that otherwise there will be an unequal game, they understand that we have reasons to wish leaving in Russia more value from processing, cutting and making jewelry. We are still regulating this industry in a very poor manner. It looks as if there is every condition in place to make all this business flee from this country.
TASS: What can improve the situation? Is there any need in a separate regulatory law?
Yury Trutnev: We need to analyze the entire chain associated with the regimes of gem turnover to create conditions for the market, for making jewelry. Right now, to make a jewelry piece using a Russian stone cut in India and then sell this piece, you have to face a whole array of problems. It turns out that this is more expensive just because for some reason we have introduced additional customs tariffs for jewelry. Although the general practice is to establish tariffs for exporting raw materials and to stimulate the export of finished goods.
TASS: Will you discuss this situation with the Federal Customs Service?
Yury Trutnev: The FCS does not decide this, they are executors. This should be discussed with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development. Well, ALROSA should participate in the negotiations, as the position of our largest company is also important. But we need a detailed analysis of this industry with a view to its recovery in the economy of the Russian Federation.
 

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WFDB continues to support the Diamond Development Initiative

21 Mar

The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) has announced a donation from the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) in support artisanal diamond miners and responsible production. 
"WFDB's contribution is very important to the work we do," says Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of DDI. "We rely on ongoing partnerships like this one to ensure continuity and long-term results in our efforts to formalize the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining sector." 
Ernest Blom, President of WFDB, notes that his organization supports high standards in the diamond supply chain, including in artisanal production. "Artisanal miners are part of the worldwide diamond industry, and we are proud to collaborate with DDI to ensure that they follow best practices in their production, while at the same time ensuring their rights are respected. When issues related to artisanal mining are addressed, everybody wins." 
WFDB has been supporting DDI since 2009. 
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses has 30 affiliated bourse members and exists to protect the interests of affiliated bourses and their individual members. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels
 

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De Beers Auction Sales offers lots valued over $11m

21 Mar

De Beers Auction Sales said it convened a series of events last month, for the first time, offering 15 products for delivery in April, May and June 2017. 
The total value of lots offered was just over $11 million and demand from customers easily outstripped availability on both a volume and value basis, with a healthy spread of demand across geographies, from all different types of customers, said subsidiary vice president Neil Ventura in a note. 
He said that customers could secure supply volumes over any of these delivery periods to suit their business requirements. 
“We believe this is the first time for De Beers and the industry that rough diamonds have been sold forward at a fixed price using online, global auctions,” said Ventura. 
“As such we see it as another significant step in the evolution of selling practices in the diamond industry that we are proud to have pioneered. 
“Consistent with our approach to innovation we will apply the learning from these first sales to try and accelerate the development of a forward market for De Beers rough diamonds.” 
De Beers Auction Sales offers buyers the chance to lock in future supply at a known, fixed price, instead of one determined by future, unknown industry dynamics, said Ventura. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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PM Modi: Our Government is focusing on making India the preferred destination for manufacturing

21 Mar

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian Gems & Jewllery Industry via video conference on the night of the Day 1 (19th March 2017) of the International Diamond Conference, and said that the gems and jewellery sector is a prime example of the 'Make in India' and 'Skill India' initiatives. 
"We live in an era where diamonds are used in spectacles, watches and pens. Can't our jewellers create and change global tastes and fashions?" Modi asked. "What is your strategy for increasing India's share of the hand-made jewellery market? The industry could think of encouraging start-ups by entrepreneurs who can create a growing market for Indian jewellery," he urged. 
Modi also mentioned that in December, 2014 at the World Diamond Conference held in Delhi, he had announced in the presence of the Russian President Vladimir Putin a Special Notified Zone (SNZ) would be set up to enable rough diamonds to enter and exit, duty free for the purpose of viewing; and that the SNZ at the Bharat Diamond Bourse became operational in November, 2015. Modi also said that he had assured some of his friends in Africa that India would support them in developing their gem and jewellery sector. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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International Diamond Conference 'Mines to Market' : A wake-up call?

21 Mar

The International Diamond Conference “Mines to Markets”, held on 19th & 20th March 2017 in Mumbai, offered much more takeaways than one bargained for. 
Day 1 saw a plethora of issues before the diamond industry being discussed by Industry members from across continents and countries. Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, GJEPC saw it apt to make a have varied views through the conference, to tackle the numerous hurdles that have been plaguing the industry. 
Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines who presented the keynote address at the Inauguration of the Mines to Market Conference was of the view that India's diamond deposits should be mined so that the country becomes self-sufficient, at least to an extent, in terms of rough diamonds supply. 
One felt that Walter K Chidakwa, Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe, managed to catch the audience's attention with his emotional speech on how Africa has been exploited and robbed of its mineral wealth for decades, while the country and its people remained poor. He asked for support in manufacturing and creating jobs in Africa while assuring rough supply to India. 
In addition, ALROSA Vice President Andrey Polyakov, Executive VP for Global Sightholder Sales at De Beers Paul Rowley addressed their companies' current working status and future plans. 
Lawyer Rohan Shah elaborated on education and all things related to regulations, concepts of tax havens, legality involved in the diamond business globally and in India itself. 
Day 2 saw discussions on the current status of the diamond industry including survival in the absence of growth, marketing, Retail and other topics and soon turned into a war zone towards the culmination of the conference, thanks to Martin Rapaport who touched a raw nerve in the Indian diamond industry players while describing the industry and its working style. 
On the topic of survival in the industry with no growth, Sanjay Kothari, MD, KGK stressed on the need to 'change' as well as 'fight' to grow and prosper. Ghanshyam Dholakia, MD, HK Diamonds was also very positive in his attitude, saying that total focus on core business is the only way to go. 
The saving grace was the session with Sanjay Kothari, former GJEPC Chairman, moderating a panel discussion with GIA, IGI, HRD and other industry bodies on certifications of synthetic diamonds. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Lucapa registered as 70pc shareholder in Mothae Diamonds

22 Mar

Lucapa Diamond said it was registered as a 70 percent shareholder in Mothae Diamonds Limited (MDL), which holds the mining licence and other assets related to the advanced Mothae Kimberlite Diamond Project in Lesotho. 
This development follows the issuance of a new 10-year mining licence to MDL for Mothae. 
Lucapa had also made the first $400,000 payment to the government of Lesotho for its stake in MDL. 
The also said that it had appointed its representatives to the board of MDL. 
The representatives would include managing director Stephen Wetherall, chairperson Miles Kennedy and chief operating officer Nick Selby. 
“In addition, Lucapa has appointed Mr Keith Whitelock and Mr Jan Venter to the MDL Board,” said Lucapa. 
“Mr Whitelock is a former Chief Executive of Letšeng Diamonds and both he and Mr Venter have significant experience in diamond mine development in Lesotho.” 
Meanwhile, the company said it had engaged independent consultants to convert the Canadian NI43-101 Mothae diamond resource to JORC 2012 compliant standards. 
“This work is expected to be completed shortly,” it said. 
Lucapa plans to bring Mothae into production within 12 months. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Koin International March Rough Sales in Antwerp

22 Mar

Koin International will hold a rough diamond tender in Antwerp from 22 – 30 March, AWDC reported. 
The tender includes exciting original rough productions from Angola F2M (extended size range to 4cts), from Diamcor (Krone-Endora Mine, South Africa, singles and melee parcels), from Klipspringer Mine (South Africa, original run of mine from the new course tailings), from Democratic Republic of Congo (run of mine, melee through to single stones), Guinea (original productions from Massanta Kindia and Banakoro; parcels and single stones) and Fancy Colour Sale (selection of original fancy colour; parcels and singles). 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&PolishedEuropean Bureau in Brussels

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Pangolin recovers three new diamonds from Botswana sampling

22 Mar

Pangolin Diamonds said three new diamonds were recently discovered from soil samples at the Malatswae diamond project in Botswana. 
It said one of the diamonds measured +2mm in all directions, clear and white in colour. 
Sixteen +0.5mm diamonds had now been discovered in soil samples within six zones at Malatswae. 
The first zone had produced nine diamonds from soil samples and the current focus was within a 2 square kilometre grid where four of the nine diamonds and several other kimberlite indicators minerals were discovered. 
A new diamond was discovered in one of the samples done in zone two. 
The second zone saw a total of 275 samples being collected on a 250m x 250m grid covering the entire area. 
Meanwhile, Pangolin said Botswana had experienced a most unusual heavy rain season. 
“The wet conditions have adversely affected the soil sampling programme progress in terms of access to certain areas,” it said. 
“The heavy rain has not affected processing of soil samples through the DMS plant and the detailed ground magnetics.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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ALROSA in top three best mining companies in Russia for environmental responsibility

24 Mar

ALROSA, the world leader in diamond mining by volume, was placed among the top three mining companies in Russia for environmental responsibility. 
The diamond company entered TOP-3 list in all the categories of the rating which are Environmental Management/Policy, Environmental Impact, Disclosure / Transparency. 
According to the jury assessing the rating, these positions reflect the leadership both in terms of transparency and in terms of minimizing the negative impact on the environment. The implemented environmental management systems of the company correspond to the best world practices. 
The environmental strategy of the ALROSA Group is firmly integrated into the company's development strategy. The main objectives in the field of environmental protection are the preservation of nature and the environment, careful treatment of natural resources, which are the basis for sustainable development, life and activities of peoples living on the territory of the company's production activities. 
In 2016, ALROSA's overall environmental expenditures totaled almost 5,4 billion rubles, an increase of almost 36% compared to 2015. 

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Rapaport Auctions sells 83,000 carats of diamonds worth $12.5M at Hong Kong March show

24 Mar

Rapaport Auctions, a leading dealer of recycled diamonds, sold over 83,000 carats of polished diamonds for $12.5M at the Hong Kong jewelry show in March. 
The auctioneer sold over 87% of lots by volume. 
Hundreds of parcels of recycled and finely assorted commercial and premium-quality diamonds in all shapes and sizes were sourced from retailers, pawnshops and refineries around the world. 
Prices for small melee and under-the-carat-size diamonds in low to medium qualities significantly improved by 13.3% as increased demand from China provided much-needed liquidity and stability to the market. Improved market conditions and a critical mass of diamonds being auctioned attracted the top buyers in the market. 
“The Rapaport auction results exceeded expectations. With improved Far East demand and the Indian diamond market adapting well to demonetization, the market was eager to trade after an extended period of uncertainty and liquidity constraints. Prices for small melee diamonds have rebounded by over 13% in the past couple of months after hitting a 7-year low in December. We are proud to fulfill our mission of achieving fair market prices for our suppliers and buyers by providing them with the world’s largest polished diamond auction platform,” said Ezi Rapaport, Director of Global Trading, Rapaport Group. 

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ALROSA has no intention to increase dividends

24 Mar

ALROSA, the world’s largest diamond mining company, said in a statement released on Thursday that it is not going to increase dividend payments up to 75%.
"The reports published in a number of mass media about ALROSA's alleged initiative to increase dividend payments up to 75% in 2017, as well as the information about its intention to discuss this issue with the Government of the Russian Federation, are not true," the company said, citing its President Sergey Ivanov who informed, that the decision on the amount of dividend payments is made by the annual General Meeting of Shareholders on the basis of recommendations given by the company’s Supervisory Board and that ALROSA will notify the public about such decisions, if they are taken, in due time.
ALROSA paid 50 percent of its IFRS net profit as dividends for 2015.

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Dominion Diamond Corp: $1.1B takeover bid rejected

24 Mar

Canada-based diamond miner Dominion Diamond Corp has knocked back a $US1.1B, $13.50-a-share take-over bid from The Washington Companies, a diverse, privately-held Missoula, Montana, US-based group of privately held North American mining, industrial and transportation businesses, Reuters reported.
Dominion has confirmed its board considered Washington's unsolicited offer, but that the terms of the proposed talks were unusual and unacceptable. They included the ability to see confidential information that could later be used for a proxy fight to take over the company and the ability to veto the board's choice of a new CEO.
Washington president Lawrence Simkins says its bid offered a substantial premium - a 36% premium to Dominion's closing stock price on Mar 17 and 54% premium when discussions ended on Mar 15 - and immediate liquidity, and that it remained fully committed to completing the transaction.

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&PolishedEuropean Bureau in Brussels

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Responsible Jewellery Council held a workshop in Basel

27 Mar

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) held last week a workshop in Basel, Switzerland, on the proposed changes to the RJC Standards, with a focus on the Chain-of-Custody. Hosted by Anne-Marie Fleury, the RJC Standards & Impacts Director and Peter Dawkins, the RJC's Assurance and Standards Coordinator, the workshop was attended by over 20 stakeholders who held a dynamic and an engaged discussion and provided valuable technical knowledge and industry insight on the topics raised, RJC reported. 
Luxury watch and jewellery trade fair, Baselworld 2017 kicked off on Thursday 23 March with the RJC industry panel session on the program for the first day of the show. RJC members, industry experts and various other stakeholders gathered at the Basel Congress Centre to hear the latest update from the RJC as well as the latest developments on the EU Regulation on Conflict Minerals, presented by guest speaker, Ruth Crowell, CEO of LBMA. A panel of industry experts took to the stage to talk about responsible gemstone sourcing best practices and shared great insights with the audience on how they approach supply chain integrity and ethical sourcing business practices. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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China’s Polished Imports Rise in 2016

27 Mar

China’s polished diamond imports increased 4.9 percent to $7.02 billion last year, according to data from the China Customs Information Center. 
By weight, polished imports increased 1.2 percent to 7.7 million carats, while the average price rose 3.7 percent to $916 per carat, the figures showed. 
Polished exports fell 11 percent to $1.91 billion, meaning net polished imports jumped 12 percent to $5.12 billion. 
While rough exports increased 11 percent to $30 million, rough imports slid 13 percent to $666 million, pushing net rough imports down 14 percent to $635 million. 
China’s net diamond account, representing total imports minus total exports, increased 9 percent to $5.75 billion. 
 

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TAGS to offer regular rough diamond tenders at DDE

27 Mar

Trans Atlantic Gem Sales (TAGS) and Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), a subsidiary of DMCC, have announced that TAGS will organise six international rough diamond tenders at the DDE in Almas Tower during 2017, with a view to hosting more in 2018. 
They said that members, miners and traders can participate by distributing and selling their goods through these tenders in a secure, transparent and regulated environment. 
The sales platform developed by the partners will enable suppliers with smaller production to present goods alongside those with larger production and benefit from the wider market exposure typical of larger sales events. Larger producers will similarly benefit from the increased interest arising from the inclusion of complementary goods. Buyers will be able to maximise the value of their viewing time with exposure to a wider range of goods, TAGS and DDE said. 
Gautam Sashittal, Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, said, “Dubai has fast developed into one of the world’s top three diamond trading hubs, and the Dubai Diamond Exchange has been instrumental in achieving this growth. As a key market maker for rough diamonds we welcome strong partnerships like these, and wish TAGS every success in connecting markets and industry participants here in Dubai.” 
Mike Aggett – General Manager TAGS, said, “We have assembled a team that harnesses a broad range of capabilities and know-how covering the full range of services required to execute these types of international rough diamond tenders, and believe that the ability to offer buying opportunities of consistent and regular productions in a convenient and professional environment, will benefit both buyers and producers alike. We very much look forward to working with our valued customers going forward.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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'Pink Star' diamond returns to auction

27 Mar

Sotheby's said it will next month auction a 59,60 ct, mixed cut diamond known as "The Pink Star", three years since it was sold, but the buyer defaulted. 
The diamond was initially mined by De Beers in 1999 as a 132,5 ct rough diamond before being cut and polished. 
Reuters reports that the diamond could fetch a record $60 million, which was less than $83-million that the New York-based diamond cutter Isaac Wolf had snatched it for in November 2013. 
Sotheby’s said the pink diamond was the largest Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Pink diamond ever graded by the Geological Institute of America (GIA), but was still small enough to fit onto a ring. 
"The extraordinary size of this 59,60 ct diamond, paired with its richness of colour, surpasses any known pink diamond record in history," chairperson of Sotheby's Jewellery Division, David Bennett was quoted as saying. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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CARAT+ supports Graff's FACET Foundation

29 Mar

CARAT+, the new trade show dedicated to the diamond, diamond jewellery and associated services, has supported the Graff charitable foundation, FACET, through the purchase of multiple copies of the Graff coffee table book. The book titled 'GRAFF' will be presented as a gift to VIP guests visiting the show. 
The magnificently designed 272 page book recounts the history of the famed diamond manufacturer and retailer, which over the years has cut and sold several of the world's largest and most celebrated gem diamonds. All proceeds from the book are earmarked for the FACET Foundation. 
Founded by Laurence Graff in 2008, FACET works with charities in Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa's Cape Winelands to provide education and training to children and communities in order to help them achieve their full potential. 
CARAT+ is a trade show tailored specifically for professional buyers of diamonds and diamond jewellery. It will feature four sectors, namely loose diamonds, branded diamond jewellery, non-branded diamond jewellery, and services for the diamond and diamond jewellery industry. Taking place in Antwerp Expo, entry to the show be restricted exclusively to industry professionals, including diamond and jewellery wholesalers and manufacturers from around the world, and jewellery retailers predominantly from Евроpe. 
CARAT+ takes place on 7, 8 & 9 May 2017 in Antwerp Expo. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished Евроpean Bureau in Brussels

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Zim’s River Ranch struggling to attract investors for mothballed diamond mine

29 Mar

River Ranch, a privately-owned diamond mining company in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, is struggling to find investors five years after it was placed under liquidation by the High Court. 
Several companies from the United States, England, China, Canada and South Africa had expressed interest in the mine, but nothing materialised. 
However, two companies had of late shown interest in acquiring the mine and these were Creation Minerals and Consultancy, a local firm and a Zambian company, Dawn Diamonds Trading. 
The Zimbabwe Independent reports that discussions with the two companies were currently underway and offers between $10 million and $14 million had been offered. 
The company, whose assets at the time of liquidation were worth $5,6 million, owed Aujan $21 million. 
Sheikh Adel Aujan, the Saudi owner of Rani Investments, who had a controlling stake in the mine, died last January in his country. 
He was the biggest creditor of the mine, according to the weekly. 
Former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s family holds a 20 percent stake in River Ranch through Khupukile Resources. 
A report presented by the liquidator, Winsley Militala, in 2012 showed that the mine still had 9,8 million tonnes in ore reserves and estimated to be worth $162 million. 
“The main reason for the company’s failure can be attributed to undercapitalisation; it relied solely on shareholder support for its operations. Just to illustrate the company’s dire financial needs, the shareholder support over the years rose to a staggering US$21 million,” reads the report cited by Zimbabwe Independent. 
“The auditors, Ernst & Young, in their draft audited financial statement for the year ended 2011, showed that the company was no longer a going concern due to its inability to service creditors and its reliance on shareholder support.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Rockwell Diamonds subsidiaries face liquidation

29 Mar

Rockwell Diamonds said a judge in Kimberley, South Africa issued an interim liquidation order last Thursday against three of its subsidiaries. 
It said the interim orders, which have to be confirmed in a final hearing, included Rockwell Resources RSA, HC van Wyk Diamonds and Saxendrift Mine Limited. 
The interim court order would not affect Rockwell Diamonds as the parent entity. 
An interim liquidator would be appointed, taking control of the three companies, and would operate them in the best interest of creditors until the final hearing, currently scheduled for June 22, 2017. 
It said the interim decision emanates from an action by Rockwell’s former contractor C-Rock Mining, which launched a liquidation application against the three subsidiaries. 
C-Rock was said to have relied on an alleged service level agreement, a contract mining agreement that was found by forensic investigation to have been awarded to C-Rock under highly irregular circumstances, and for an alleged undertaking that Rockwell would reimburse them for certain tax penalties and accrued interest on such penalties. 
It also relied on an alleged undertaking that Rockwell would pay certain debts of Saxendrift, and the construction cost of the wet plant at Wouterspan as well as a large number of disputed invoices stemming from alleged informal agreements with certain former company management. 
Rockwell’s three subsidiaries disputed the very existence, as well as quantum, of the C-Rock claims. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Russia’s Alrosa not interested in buying Dominion Diamond

29 Mar

(Reuters) - Russian diamond miner Alrosa (ALRS.MM) is not interested in buying Canada's Dominion Diamond Corp (DDC.TO) (DDC.N), Alrosa's Chief Executive Sergey Ivanov said on Tuesday.
Dominion Diamond Corp, the target of an unsolicited $1.1 billion bid by U.S. billionaire Dennis Washington, said on Monday it would launch a formal sale process for the company.
"We are not interested at this stage," Ivanov said in an emailed response to Reuters' questions.
Dominion Diamond's shares rose on Monday on market speculation that global miners including Rio Tinto (RIO.L) (RIO.AX) and Anglo American's (AAL.L) De Beers unit may now enter the fray and make a bid for the company, the world's third-largest diamond producer by value.
Analysts also speculated that Alrosa, the world's largest producer of rough diamonds, and private equity players could be interested in Dominion, which owns the Ekati diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories.
Ivanov, Alrosa's newly appointed chief executive, has already said he would remain committed to Alrosa's strategy, which has focused on mining, selling non-core assets and growing its own production.

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NRF predicts a rise in retail sales on Easter

3 Apr

Easter retail sales will rise this year, as the holiday’s relatively late date means consumers will have longer to do their shopping, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). 
The date of Easter is determined by the moon, and therefore varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. This year, it falls out on April 16, almost three weeks later than last year. 
“Most consumers have almost an entire extra month to shop for Easter this year, and by the time the holiday comes, the weather should be significantly warmer than last Easter,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay in a recent statement. 
The improving economy means consumers are in the mood to go shopping and retailers are ready to entice them with deals, Shay added. 
As such, Easter spending is expected to grow 6% to a record $18.4 billion this year, according to a survey that Prosper Insights & Analytics carried out for the NRF. 
Meanwhile, US consumer confidence improved 8% in March from the previous month, hitting its highest level since December 2000, the Conference Board organization said last week. 

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De Beers Consolidated Mines Recognized For Its Conservation Efforts

3 Apr

De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) has won the Wildlife Ranching SA award for ‘Biodiversity and Social Responsibility’, in recognition of its approach to ecological management, the De Beers Group announced. 
The company picked up the accolade for its approach to ecological management at four private game reserves it runs in the Northern Cape and Limpopo Provinces. 
Judges singled out DBCM’s “disciplined approach” as being “best-in-class in the industry” and referenced the success of its sustainable wildlife management practices and promotion of wildlife tourism. 
De Beers Wildlife, a part of DBCM, manages around 67,000 hectares of land in the Kimberley area of the Northern Cape. 
It began to introduce a variety of species, including elephants, hippopotamus and crocodiles, at its ranches in the early 1970s and was one of the first breeders of disease-free buffalo in South Africa. 
It also safeguards more than 35 species on its sites that are classed as endangered, threatened or protected, and hosts viable populations of sable, roan and tsessebe antelope. 
Piet Oosthuizen, Senior Manager, Ecology and DBCM Properties, said: “As a company, we have had a strong focus on biodiversity management for many years. For every hectare of land affected by our mining activities, De Beers Group manages five times that amount for conservation. 
De Beers Wildlife is also involved in various conservation-related youth programs, including providing post-school training, in partnership with the Northern Cape Nature Academy, to support students who want a future in the game industry. Tertiary education is further supported through two dedicated research facilities for the use of students. 
 

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Mountain Province Diamonds Announces FY 2016 results

3 Apr

Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. (“Mountain Province”) has announced the results for the year ended December 31, 2016. 
On March 1, 2017 Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine achieved approximately 70% of nameplate capacity of 8,333 tonnes per day over a 30-day period. 
Mining of overburden, waste rock and ore in the 5034 open pit for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 was approximately 23.7 million tonnes, with approximately 66,000 tonnes of ore stockpiled at year-end. 
From August 1 to December 31, 2016, the GK Mine on a 100 percent basis processed approximately 565,000 tonnes of ore through the process plant and recovered approximately 949,000 carats for an average grade of approximately 1.68 carats/tonne. 
Approximately 1,361,223 carats were produced prior to declaring commercial production on March 1, 2017, of which approximately 668,449 carats, or 49%, are the Company’s share. 
As at March 29, 2017, the Company has conducted three diamond sales through its diamond broker based in Antwerp, Belgium. The results of the Company’s first quarter diamond sales will be announced with the 2017 first quarter financial results. 
The approximately 340,575 carats mined prior to, and remaining in inventory at, the declaration of commercial production on March 1, 2017 will be sold in future months and the revenue will be treated as pre-commercial production sales and credited to Property, Plant and Equipment. 
For the three-month period ended December 31, 2016, the Company reported a net loss of $8.3 million or ($0.05) per share and for the year ended December 31, 2016, the Company reported a net income of $4.8 million or $0.03 per share fully diluted. 
At December 31, 2016, the Company had cash and restricted cash totaling $90.7 million. 
Mountain Province President and CEO Patrick Evans commented: “Attendance at the Company’s first three diamond sales has been good, but rough diamond buyers remain cautious bidding for production from a new mine. This price discovery period is expected to extend to midyear, when our first production will be sold into the polished market. Demonetization in India also impacted both the demand for and realized prices achieved at the Company’s early sales of ramp-up diamond production. As liquidity returns to the Indian diamond sector, we expect to see improved demand and pricing for our production.” 
Mountain Province Diamonds is a 49% participant with De Beers Canada in the Gahcho Kué diamond mine located in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Gahcho Kué is the world’s largest new diamond mine and projected to produce an average of 4.5 million carats a year over a 12 year mine life. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels
 

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President of ALROSA: Vladivostok will develop as a diamond center

3 Apr

(TASS) - The free port of Vladivostok will develop as a diamond center, TASS was told by Sergey Ivanov, President of ALROSA following a working meeting with the leadership of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in its capital, the City of Yakutsk.
"Just last week, Yury Trutnev held a meeting to support the Russian diamond-cutting industry, and a number of decisions were made that will help the Russian diamond-cutting industry to overcome the crisis and compete with foreign companies. The issue of developing Vladivostok on the basis of a free port was discussed at the meeting, and Vladivostok will develop as a diamond center. We have good plans, and we think there are good prospects," he said.
At the same time, Ivanov noted that one of the Indian companies was supposed to develop a diamond-cutting business in Vladivostok.
"We will welcome the emergence of one more player," Ivanov said.
Earlier, TASS reported that KGK, an Indian group of companies, intends to develop a diamond and jewelry cluster in Primorye.
With a view to develop the jewelry and diamond-cutting industry in Russia, on March 15 there was opened a “diamond” customs terminal in Vladivostok, the first in the Far East, which will control the movement of precious stones and metals together with controllers from Gokhran, which will permit to strengthen the supervision over legitimate operations, as well as to perform customs procedures and pass customs clearance in the shortest possible time. The customs terminal is located on the premises of the temporary storage warehouse of the Eurasian Diamond Center. The first trading session on the floor of the Eurasian Diamond Center in Vladivostok took place in early September 2016. At that time, ALROSA sold more than $ 18 million worth of rough and polished goods.
The project of the Eurasian Diamond Center includes the creation of an infrastructure cluster on the territory of the Free Port of Vladivostok, which will bring together companies operating in the diamond industry, focusing on export and import operations with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, primarily with China, India, Japan and South Korea. The Center hosts diamond mining and diamond trading companies, diamond and jewelry manufacturers, gemological laboratories, banks, insurance companies, specialized carriers, customs brokers, as well as a specialized customs terminal and state controllers.

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'Pink Star' diamond fetches $71.2m on return to auction

5 Apr

The 59,60 carat, mixed cut diamond known as "The Pink Star" was sold Tuesday at an auction for $71.2 million to make it the world’s most expensive gemstone, according to The Telegraph. 
The diamond was initially sold for $83 million to New York-based diamond cutter Isaac Wolf, who later defaulted. 
Reports had suggested that the diamond could fetch a record $60 million. 
Sotheby’s, which auctioned the stone in New York, had last week said the pink diamond was the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Geological Institute of America (GIA), but was still small enough to fit onto a ring. 
"The extraordinary size of this 59,60 ct diamond, paired with its richness of colour, surpasses any known pink diamond record in history," chairperson of Sotheby's Jewellery Division, David Bennett was quoted as saying by Reuters then. 
De Beers tweeted a day before the auction: “The rough diamond that would become the PinkStar was discovered by us in 1999.” 
The group also noted in the same tweet that in its original rough diamond state, “The Pink Star” weighed 132.50 carats. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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AWDC reacted to media reports regarding access to bank accounts

5 Apr

In reaction to media reports regarding access to bank accounts, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) said it is "indisputable that Belgian banks discriminate against the entire Antwerp diamond industry", IDEX online reported. 
"Banks often refer to the so-called ‘risk factor’ involved to justify their refusal. Claiming the industry is not sufficiently aware of this problem makes no sense. First of all, the diamond trade in our country is controlled strictly by a series of legal obligations. By law, only officially registered diamond companies are allowed to engage in trade, and very stringent anti-money laundering (AML) legislation is applied. Moreover, all international financial transactions are closely monitored, and within the Diamond Office, all exports and imports are 100 percent verified", AWDC stated. 
"The long-awaited new tax regime, known as the Carat Tax, creates a higher level of transparency in terms of capital account and bookkeeping. This heightened transparency significantly improves banks’ ability to perform compliance controls. Ironically, the systematic refusal to open bank accounts for those that are linked to the diamond industry is preventing companies interested in (re-) establishing their business in Antwerp from doing so. Without a bank account, you cannot trade nor establish a registered diamond company", statement said. 
AWDC regrets that "despite all the efforts and the attempts to engage in a constructive dialogue, the Belgian banks are still systematically refusing banking services to people in our trade, before they even have the chance to submit their request dossiers." 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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ALROSA holds an auction in Vladivostok

5 Apr

ALROSA has held an auction of industrial grade and gem quality natural rough diamonds in the Eurasian Diamond Centre in the Russian Far East. Some 22 companies from China, South Korea, India, Europe, Russia and other countries participated in the auction. 
The Company sold 461 000 carats worth USD 12.9 million, including 440 000 carats of industrial grade diamonds for USD 4.924 million, and 21 000 carats of gem quality diamonds for USD 7.98 million. Indian and Chinese companies were the main auction buyers. 
The trading outpost of the Russian Gokhran was opened during the trading session at the Eurasian Diamond Centre. It incorporates a vault, a specialized carrier and a bank, and a specialized permanent excise customs post which ensures the full range of processes required for sales. Combining the functions of a trading platform, storage, logistics, registration and control in one complex located close to the airport allows speeding up the shipping of goods up to 2-3 days. 
In 2017, the company is planning to sell 2 million carats of all types of diamonds worth USD 73 million through its Far East branch. Auctions of special size 10.8+ and industrial grade rough diamonds will be held in the next 3 months. 

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Court judgement in Conflict Minerals Rule case achieved, although doubts remain

5 Apr

A final judgement in the Conflict Minerals Rule case was rendered on April 3, 2017 by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a District Court Judge in the District of Columbia, thus bringing the 1,627-day litigation to its end, says Ropes & Gray, a global law firm in an alert distributed on Tuesday.
The District Court ruled that (1) Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank, Rule 13p-1 thereunder and Form SD violate the First Amendment to the extent that the statute and the rule require companies to report to the SEC and state on their websites that any of their products “have not been found to be ‘DRC conflict free,’” (2) held unlawful and set aside the Rule to the extent that it requires companies to report to the SEC and state on their websites that any of their products “have not been found to be ‘DRC conflict free’” and (3) remands to the SEC, to take action in furtherance of the Court’s decision.
One of the main provisions affecting the jewelry business in the Dodd-Frank Act is Section 1502 (b), entitled “Conflict Minerals Law.” This provision obliges public companies, whose shares are traded on American stock exchanges, to submit reports to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on whether they obtain any of four metals (including gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as to disclose their tax, royalty and other payments on each project they operate.
The Conflict Minerals Law’ stated purpose was to prevent US dollars from funding human rights atrocities in Central Africa, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the nine adjoining countries. The law mandated that publicly-traded companies assess their use of these four metals; conduct significant due diligence through their supply chain to identify the original ore country of origin; identify where materials originate from the DRC or nine adjoining countries; sponsor a third-party audit and report of the efforts; and make this information publicly available on the company’s website, as well as to SEC.
However, despite the judgement entered by the District Court of Columbia, the uncertainty continues, according to Ropes & Gray, as much depends on a new Statement delineating the mandatory requirements to companies to be published by the SEC. It is expected that the much-debated auditing procedure contemplated by the Conflict Minerals Rule will not be reinstated, at least for the upcoming calendar 2016 filing. Still if the Rule survives, it is not impossible, opines Ropes & Gray. 
Whether and when the SEC might modify the Rule in response to comments received and the lessons learned from four years of compliance by companies, remain open questions, it says. The same can be said about possible suspending the Conflict Minerals Rule. Meanwhile, the status quo is maintained, as the roller coaster ride continues, the law firm says.
On April 3, 2017, the European Council voted to approve the pending EU conflict minerals regulation. The regulation, which places mandatory obligations on importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (3TG) but not product manufacturers and sellers, takes effect on January 1, 2021.

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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ALROSA gains direct access to trading at MOEX FX Market

5 Apr

ALROSA has gained direct access to trading at Moscow Exchange’s FX Market. The first trades were executed on April 4, 2017. The news came in a press release from the company received by Rough&Polished on Wednesday.
Since January 16, 2017, Russian legal entities that are not credit organizations or professional participants of the securities market have been permitted to enter the FX market directly on equal terms with banks and brokerage firms.
Among the key benefits of entering the foreign-exchange market is a high level of information awareness with a possibility to make deals at best prices, as well as the presence of a central counterparty, the National Clearing Centre Bank, which guarantees the discharge of liabilities to bona fide participants and relieves them from the necessity to assess risks and sets limits against each other.
Igor Kulichik, ALROSA Vice President – Chief Financial Officer, said: “Access to the foreign exchange market will allow ALROSA to increase the efficiency of FX purchase and sale transactions minimizing their costs. The clearing and settlement services offered by the Moscow Exchange provide convenient and prompt settlements. I believe the possibility to enter the exchange trading floor will attract other corporations as well.”
Igor Marich, Managing Director of Money and Derivatives Market, Moscow Exchange, said: “Moscow Exchange is working to expand the range of products and bring in new clients. The emergence of a new category of participants responds to global tendencies and will allow further boosting stock-trading liquidity, so that corporations will be able to enhance the efficiency of FX transactions while minimizing the risks. We are working with a number of major corporations interested in the access to trading at the Moscow Exchange’s FX Market.”
 

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GIA launches gem guide for artisanal miners

10 Apr

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is piloting a free gemology guide for artisanal miners in producing countries. 
The aim is to offer basic gemological and market knowledge in regions where gem-mining takes place, the institute said Tuesday. The GIA has distributed the illustrated booklet – available in English and Tanzanian Swahili – to approximately 45 women miners in Tanzania’s Tanga region at no cost. 
“We are moving practical gemstone education as far up the supply chain as possible, to people who can benefit tremendously from greater understanding of the beautiful gems they bring to market,” said Susan Jacques, the GIA’s CEO. 
A team of GIA staff worked on the guide in consultation with colored-gemstone experts who have extensive experience buying gems in rural areas. The original idea came from James Shigley, a distinguished research fellow at the laboratory. 
The pilot project, which the institute carried out in partnership with international development organization Pact, cost $120,000, all of which the GIA paid from its endowment fund. 
Artisanal and small-scale mining accounts for about 80% of global sapphire, 20% of gold mining and up to 20% of diamond extraction, according to the World Bank. Last month, an artisanal miner in Sierra Leone discovered a 709.48-carat rough diamond, which is set to go on sale by international tender this week. 

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India's KGK to invest $50 million in new cutting facility near Vladivostok

10 Apr

The KGK Group of Companies from India, a global leader in diamond cutting, is set to create a new cutting facility near Vladivostok which will polish rough diamonds from ALROSA. The total investments will amount to $50 million. 
KGK plans to employ up to 500 people at their new facility and to open a training centre for its staff to cut up to 9,000 carats of diamonds monthly. 
The first work will begin in July this year with the factory completion slated for the end of 2019. 
Meanwhile, the Russian government has granted Indian investors a certificate of residence for the newly-created Free Port of Vladivostok, which will give them tax and customs preferences, and lower costs for ships in the port. The measure will facilitate the diamond trade between the two countries. 
The KGK group has branches in Moscow and the diamond region of Yakutia, and sees its new facility in Vladivostok as a gateway to the markets of Asia-Pacific region. 
Indian companies were major auction buyers at ALROSA's latest auction of industrial grade and gem quality natural rough diamonds in the Eurasian Diamond Centre held in March. 
In 2017, ALROSA is planning to sell 2 million carats of all types of diamonds worth USD 73 million through its Far East branch. Auctions of special size 10.8+ and industrial grade rough diamonds will be held in the next 3 months. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Botswana Diamonds completes first drilling programme at Vutomi project

10 Apr

Botswana Diamonds said two “blows” were discovered on the kimberlite dyke system from the recently completed first phase of drilling at the flagship Vutomi project in Frischgewaagt, 280km north of Johannesburg, in South Africa. 
34 percussion holes totalling 1,459m and 9 diamond drill holes totalling 432m were drilled along a 1,580m strike length of the dyke/blow complex, it said. 
Another round of drilling to be completed this month or May would identify the area for bulk sampling. 
The purpose of the first phase of drilling was to increase the geological confidence in the 6km long kimberlite dyke/blow system, which was east of and on strike with the former De Beers/ Southern Era operated Marsfontein Mine. 
“Frischgewaagt is turning into a very exciting project. What we see in the drilling we like. To date we have discovered two ”blows” on the kimberlite dyke system. We are moving to delineate the size of each one,” said company chairperson John Teeling, Chairman. 
“The drilling samples contain high quantities of diamond indicator minerals of similar profile to the highly profitable Marsfontein mine some 20km away. 
“In the next two months we should have results from the microdiamond analyses and further information on the size and composition of the kimberlite dykes.” 
Botswana Diamonds said 467 diamonds yielding 247 carats were recovered from the processing of surface material in previous work at the project. 
The largest diamond was 3.66 carats and the parcel had an average size of 0.53cts/stone. 
The diamonds achieved a rough diamond value of $180/ct and a modelled value of $259/ct at a bottom cut off of +2mm. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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ALROSA held a meeting of active functionaries in Mirny

10 Apr

The world's largest diamond mining company, ALROSA, held an annual meeting of its active functionaries in Mirny, which summed up the company's production and economic activities in 2016.
The meeting, which gathered more than 500 representatives from the company’s units and subsidiaries, was attended by Yegor Borisov, First Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ALROSA and Head of Yakutia; Sergey Ivanov, President of ALROSA; People's Deputies of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia); heads of government ministries and agencies of Yakutia; heads of local municipalities, as well as by chairmen of primary trade union organizations. This was announced in a press release distributed by the company on Friday.
President of ALROSA Sergey Ivanov, addressing the audience with an introductory speech, said: "AK ALROSA is a unique corporation systemically important for the domestic economy, which represents Russia beyond its borders. The position of the company obliges our team and business to comply with the highest standards of the industry, as well as the requirements set by the state and other shareholders - in terms of efficiency. Therefore, in the coming years our strategy will be aimed not only at further strengthening the company’s leading positions in the market, but also at increasing the internal effectiveness and quality of our mutual work in all fields. "
As it was noted at the meeting, ALROSA Group produced 37.4 million carats of diamonds in 2016. Its net profit will reach RUB 148.7 billion, which is 7 times as much as in 2015. Igor Sobolev, First Vice President and Executive Director of ALROSA said that the company intends to drive its diamond output to 39.2 million carats and maintain this level in the nearest term.
The participants in the meeting also discussed a number of issues related to the development of social infrastructure, including the improvement of healthcare quality in the local municipalities and increasing the pace of construction of new housing.
At the end of the meeting, ALROSA President Sergey Ivanov presented corporate awards and bonuses to the 43 best employees for their significant contribution to the company’s development.

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Gang of Diamond Fraudsters Arrested

10 Apr

New York police have arrested 10 men accused of defrauding wholesalers out of diamonds valued at more than $9 million, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced. 
The accused wrote bad checks, forged documents and devised long stories to cheat their victims in New York, Las Vegas and Mumbai, the statement said, citing allegations in a Manhattan federal court claim that were revealed Wednesday. 
Police are still looking for two more men who have been charged in the scheme. 
“The twelve charged defendants allegedly participated in a global conspiracy to defraud diamond dealers out of more than $9 million,” acting Manhattan US attorney Joon Kim said. “Centered in Manhattan’s diamond district, America’s busiest hub in the diamond trade, the defendants allegedly took advantage of an industry-wide system of credit and trust to obtain largely untraceable diamonds, and then, using various allegedly illegal schemes, refused to pay.” 
To avoid detection, the group focused on obtaining small melee diamonds, which are virtually untraceable because they do not have numerical identifiers, according to the court complaint. 
“Diamonds have value worldwide so it comes as no surprise that an alleged organized ring would target diamond wholesalers in Manhattan’s diamond district in a worldwide scheme,” said FBI speaker. 
 

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Signet unveils details on synthetic-diamond detectors testing

10 Apr

Signet Jewelers has announced further details of an initiative to test synthetic diamond detectors. The project is developed in collaboration with the Diamond Producers Association (DPA). 
The Rapaport News reported that DPA, which carries out generic marketing on behalf of the industry, has launched “Project Assure” to design and implement an independent “Diamond Screening Device Performance Test Protocol.” The protocol is scheduled to be in place in the fourth quarter of 2017. 
Both Signet and De Beers support the program and are on the project’s steering committee alongside the DPA. The committee will set up an advisory board comprising diamond and jewelry trade associations from across the world, with the aim of ensuring broad participation and endorsement from the industry. Additionally, the steering committee will establish a technical team consisting of gemological laboratories and screening-device providers. 
An independent testing laboratory will implement the protocol, Signet said. Once the test capabilities are in place, companies that produce diamond-screening machines will be able to send their devices for testing as a commercial service. The examiners will then publish the results, enabling diamond companies to determine which of the available devices meet their needs. 

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Titan Optimistic Amid Indian Economic Reforms

10 Apr

Titan Company expects sales will increase by more than 10% this year, following Indian government measures that aim to create a more mature economy. 
“The formalization of the economy bodes well for all the divisions of the company, and with a whole lot of initiatives planned for the coming year, the company is optimistic of top-line growth in the high teens in the coming year,” Titan said this week. 
Last November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a demonetization policy that took 86% of currency out of circulation overnight and forced the economy to shift toward electronic banking and commerce. India is also introducing a new goods-and-services tax, which the jewelry industry has applauded. 
The positive outlook comes after Titan reported an “exceptional” fiscal year, which ended March 31. Regulatory restrictions and effects of a nationwide jewelers’ strike hit sales in the first half, but the retailer overcame the challenges of demonetization to record a strong second half, it explained. 
In the fourth fiscal quarter, jewelry sales reached a “new milestone,” driven by the launch of a studded-jewelry line and better-than-expected performance at Tanishq, the company’s flagship jewelry brand. 
Retail growth at Tanishq surpassed the 40% predicted at the beginning of the quarter, Titan said. The company plans to expand the high-end brand in the next fiscal year by amalgamating it with Titan’s Gold Plus network, which it will discontinue by renaming most of the 29 stores as Tanishq. 

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Gem Diamonds recovers 114 ct diamond at Letšeng mine

10 Apr

Gem Diamonds said it has recovered a 114 carat, D colour Type II diamond of “exceptional quality” from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho. 
The Letšeng mine was “well-known” for the production of large, top colour, exceptional white diamonds, making it the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world, the company said Friday. 
The mine had produced four of the 20 largest gem-quality white diamonds ever recorded since 2006 when Gem Diamonds took over ownership of Letšeng. 
Firestone Diamonds, which owns Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho, also announced last Wednesday the recovery of a 110 carat gem-quality light yellow diamond. 
It was its largest diamond to date. 
Firestone said it believed the latest diamond recovery confirmed the “significant larger stones potential” that exists at Lighobong. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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34-carat antique emerald among headlights at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale on April

11 Apr

The antique “Stotesbury Emerald” will be among flagship jewellery pieces offered at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction on April 25. 
The 34.40-carat emerald was named for Eva Stotesbury, who came into possession of the stone in the early 1900s. The stone has been in the hands of three well-known jewelry collectors, with its setting changing based on owners’ desires and current styles for more than a century. It could sell for as much as $1.2 million later this month. 
“The emerald has been coveted and cherished for more than a century, and the exceptional quality of the stone makes it as appealing today as it was when it first appeared in 1908,” said Frank Everett, sales director of the jewelry department at Sotheby’s New York. 
In addition to the Stotesbury Emerald, there are a number of other jewels with distinguished provenances in Sotheby’s April 25 sale. 
This includes a Cartier sapphire and diamond brooch which features two emerald-cut sapphires weighing 10.40 carats and 7.75 carats, accented with round, baguette, old European cut, pear and marquise-shaped diamonds weighing a total of 13.95 carats. It’s expected to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Villagers anxious as Zim plans diamond exploration in Penhalonga

11 Apr

Villagers in Penhalonga, Zimbabwe are “worried” following reports that there could be deposits of kimberlite diamonds in the area, Daily News reports. 
Officials from the State-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) visited Penhalonga recently and convened a meeting with residents to discuss their intention to carry out exploration work. 
However, Daily News reported that villagers were dreading that “the experiences at Marange could be repeated in their community”. 
"We are still in panic mode after we were told that there are diamonds in our community. What happened in Marange is still fresh in our minds,” said a villager Max Bwawo. 
"Most people lost their sources of live livelihood and we feel this can also happen to us." 
Thousands of people were said to have lost their lives when government unleashed the army to drive out illegal diamond miners in 2006. 
Harare, however, denied the charges, but that did not stop the Kimberley Process from suspending trade in Marange diamonds until November 2011. 
Marange villagers were also later re-located to Arda Transau in Odzi to pave way for mining operations, but the majority of them never received full compensation. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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GJEPC to host 2nd SAARC-ME Buyer-Seller meet in May

11 Apr

The Indian capital will host the second edition of the India-SAARC-ME Buyer-Seller meet, reports say. The event is being organized by GJEPC between May 14-16. 
The meet is expected to attract over 60 buyers from SAARC, Middle East and South East Asia including jewellery retailers, chain store retailers, wholesalers, traders, and 40 leading Indian manufacturers of plain gold and diamond studded jewellery, reports add. The purpose is to enhance bilateral trade. Jewellery studded with synthetic diamonds will not be permitted at the event, reports say. 
There would be an interactive format to the meet for the first two days and a mini-exhibition on the third day. Buyers and sellers will be grouped into three groups with a mix of companies from each region. Every group will have one-to-one meetings over the first two days. On the third day, each group can interact with buyers and sellers from other groups. 
GJEPC notes the platform holds encouragement for the trade to promote bilateral trade and investment, as the selected regions share similar jewellery preferences in addition to the growing healthy trade relations between the regions and the various efforts taken by the Council to promote Indian jewellery in the regions. 

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Indian envoy says synergies key for Zim diamond beneficiation success

11 Apr

The Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui has implored the southern African country to establish a diamond cutting and polishing centre in partnership with other countries. 
This, he said, was the only way that would help Harare benefit from value-addition of its gemstones. 
"Structural deficiencies affecting gemstone mining and processing in Zimbabwe is due to the fact that the country has not yet established a gemstone cutting and processing centre," Masakui was quoted as saying by NewsDay. 
"In this light, it is imperative for Zimbabwe to partner with friendly countries in order to establish a gemstone cutting and processing centre, while also embarking on innovative marketing of lesser-known gemstones." 
He said the establishment of diamond processing facilities in India had turned the Asian country into a global leader processing at least 60% of the world’s diamonds. 
Zimbabwe’s mines minister Walter Chidhakwa told Rough & Polished recently that the state of diamond beneficiation in the country was “not very good”. 
He said Harare was not in a position to supply local companies with the 10 percent they require, as a result of a significant drop in production. 
“We were also not able to supply the company that we went into agreement with the necessary diamonds for the training of our students,” said Chidhakwa. 
“Our students continue to train using diamonds from other countries, which is not desirable because we are training them to deal with Zimbabwean diamonds, but we hope that we can move forward.” 
Diamond output in Zimbabwe fell sharply following the consolidation of mining operations in Marange. 
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), a company that was established last year to takeover operations in Marange and Chimanimani, only produced 900 000 carats in 2016 from peak figures of 12 million carats annually. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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Gems & jewelry association presidents gather in Thailand to promote upcoming gem fair

13 Apr

Thai government agencies, Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) members and presidents from gems and jewelry associations across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region have gathered in Thailand to promote the Thailand Gems & Jewelry Fair which is to be held in June this year. 
Representatives from various gem & jewellery industry bodies from China, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Myanmar have met as a demonstration that the overseas associations and their members fully support the mid-year fair in Bangkok. 
“Today we are honoured to welcome our friends from China, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Myanmar who are showing their support for the Thailand Gems & Jewelry Fair 2017,” said Suttipong Damrongsakul, President of the TGJTA. “We hope to strengthen this fruitful relationship between our associations and members, and to see further cooperation among our industry and our countries in the near future. I believe that together we can make ASEAN+6 a strong base for jewelry manufacturing and trading.” 
The gems and jewelry industry in Thailand employs over a million people, with exports amounting to $14.25 billion in 2016, up 29.6 percent on the preceding year, the TGJTA said. The mid-year fair is expected to stimulate gems and jewelry trading both for domestic and export markets, it added. 
The event will be held on June 15 to 18 in Bangkok. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow
 

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IDE publishes a code of ethics

13 Apr

The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has published a code of ethics written specifically by Israeli professor Asa Kasher, the IDI portal announced. 
IDE President Yoram Dvash said: “I am proud to be the first bourse president in the world to launch a code of ethics. It combines very well the IDE’s path – a path of transparency and clearly written rules”. 
At a special signing ceremony at the IDE, Professor Kasher said: “The code of ethics shows the bourse in its best light and how you want to appear and what you want to be. The code of ethics newly defines your identity and in accepting and adopting it you take responsibility for the whole diamond sector and are contributing a great deal to the Israeli economy”. 
Among the persons who took part in creating the code of ethics are IDE President Yoram Dvash, Israel Diamond Institute Chairman Shmuel Schnitzer, IDE Code of Ethics Chairman Asher Dalumi, Emma Yanover and members of the committee. 
 

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Diamcor ups processing volumes as it targets large-scale trial-mining

13 Apr

Diamcor Mining, which is building a diamond mine in South Africa at Venetia Project, said the testing, commissioning and calibration of new facilities continued to progress in a “positive” manner. 
The facilities, it said, had begun demonstrating an ability to achieve the desired goals of increased processing volumes; the crushing and treatment of material up to 45mm in size; the processing of material through a dedicated ultra-coarse large diamond recovery circuit; and, an increase in the overall capacity of the Project's final recovery and sorting facilities. 
Meanwhile, Diamcor Mining sold 1,533.37 carats, for gross proceeds of $209,949.02 from its tender and sale of rough diamonds recovered from the initial processing of material in the +1.0mm to -15.0mm size fractions held last February. 
This, it said, resulted in an average price of $136.92 per carat. 
Its second tender and sale completed early this month saw 2,900.62 carats of rough diamonds being sold for $810,106.26, resulting in an average price of $279.29 per carat. 
“This second tender and sale included the sale of four gem quality rough diamonds which were recovered in the specials category (+10.7 carats): a 12.13 carat, a 15.46 carat, a 17.97 carat, and a 29.1 carat rough diamond,” it said. 
“The combined efforts currently underway are designed to support the continued advancement of objectives consistent with the recommendations of the updated NI 43-101 Technical Report filed by the Company on April 28, 2015, and to aid the company in arriving at initial production decisions for the Project.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Lulo pockets $2.5 mln from third diamond sale – Lucapa

13 Apr

Lucapa Diamond and its partners Endiama and Rosas & Petalas realised $2.5 million from 1,919 carats of alluvial diamonds mined at Lulo project, in Angola that were sold during the third sale for the year. 
The ASX-listed company said in a statement that they realised an average price of $1,317 per carat from the sale. 
It said the latest sale brought the gross proceeds from Lulo diamond sales to date in 2017 to $13.2 million at an average price of $2.055 per carat. 
Meanwhile, Lucapa said the 92 carat D colour diamond recovered after the third sale export from new Mining Block 28 would be included in the next sale. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Sotheby’s to auction ‘The Apollo & Artemis Diamonds’ earrings valued at $50M

14 Apr

Sotheby’s spring sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva will be led by the ‘Apollo and Artemis Diamonds’, which are seen as the most valuable earrings composed of fancy vivid blue and fancy intense pink diamond. 
Offered separately as individual lots, ‘The Apollo Blue’ will be presented with an estimate of $38 – 50 million and ‘The Artemis Pink’ is estimated between $12.5 – 18 million, together valued at $50 - $68 million. 
Graded Fancy Vivid Blue by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and weighing an impressive 14.54 carats, the ‘Apollo Blue’ is the largest Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever to be offered at auction. It has been cut and polished into a beautiful unmodified pear-shape which flatters its exquisite and truly outstanding colour. The GIA has also determined that the ‘Apollo Blue’ is a Type IIb diamond – a group which contains less than one half of one per cent of all diamonds. 
The ‘Artemis Pink’ weighing 16 carats has been cut into a pear shape, matching the Apollo Blue. The GIA has declared the ‘Artemis Pink’ to be a ‘Type IIa’ diamond. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Recovered grade at Kareevlei improves – BlueRock

14 Apr

BlueRock Diamonds said recovered grade improved from 1.53 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht) where the lower grade was impacted by very wet kimberlite to the most recent results of 3.02 cpht since it restarted operations at its Kareevlei mine, in South Africa. 
It said its average diamond size was also “significantly” higher than before and had been recovering approximately four times the number of stones in excess of 5 carats, including three diamonds over 6 carats with the largest being 9.5 carats. 
“Accordingly, value per carat and, more importantly, value per tonne processed are significantly higher than achieved by the old plant configuration and at target volume levels would place Kareevlei into a healthy cashflow positive position,” it said. 
The price per carat of diamonds produced during the April tender period was estimated at over $500, compared with the previous average of $293. 
“Although encouraged by these results it should be noted that the … figures are based on a relatively small sample size and the board is awaiting further production results before significantly adjusting core assumptions,” said BlueRock. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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2017 CIBJO Congress to take place in Bangkok, Thailand, November 5-7

14 Apr

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, will hold its 2017 annual congress in Bangkok, Thailand, November 5-7, with pre-congress meetings beginning on November 2. The World Ruby Forum, which is being organised in conjunction with the congress, will take place November 4, CIBJO reported. 
The congress will be hosted by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) and the Gem and Jewellery Institute of Thailand (GIT), both of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Thai Ministry of Commerce. 
The main venue for the CIBJO Congress will be the renowned Shangri-La Bangkok, located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. 
CIBJO Congresses serve as the official gathering place for the World Jewellery Confederation's Assembly of Delegates, and also are the venue for the annual meetings of CIBJO's sectoral commissions, where amendments can be introduced to the organisation's definitive directories of international industry standards for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, gem labs, precious metals and coral, known as the Blue Books. 
It is the second time that a CIBJO Congress will take place in Bangkok, with the first having been held in the city in 2004. Thailand is a leading world centre in the coloured gemstone and jewellery industries, reporting about $10 billion worth of exports per annum, with close to 16,000 companies employing some 1.3 million individuals. Jewellery and gemstones make up the country's third largest export category. 
"The fact that the CIBJO Congress is returning to Bangkok is a testament to Thailand's central role in almost every category of our business, from mining all the way through to jewellery retail, not only in South East Asia, but globally as well," said Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President. 
A dedicated CIBJO Congress 2017 website will be launched shortly. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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Lulo processed volumes up 91 pc as March quarter yields 4,098 ct

14 Apr

Lucapa Diamond Company, which operates the Lulo diamond project in Angola, said processed volumes for the March quarter leaped 91 percent to 70,967 bulk cubic metres despite the wet season. 
The company, which also owns a 40 percent stake in the project, said the growth in plant throughput saw a 33 percent rise in diamonds recovered to 4,098 carats. 
“Lulo continued to regularly produce large and premium-value diamonds throughout the quarter, with the number of specials recovered increasing 58 percent to 38,” it said. 
“These specials included Angola’s second biggest diamond on record, a 227 D-colour Type IIa gem – along with other large gem-quality stones weighing 92 carats and 62 carats and a 65 carat diamond.” 
The record volumes came as Lucapa and its partners Endiama and Rosas & Petalas continued to explore for new mining blocks at Lulo along the Cacuilo River while access to known large stone-producing Mining Blocks 8 and 6 was largely restricted during the wet season. 
Lulo alluvial company raked in $10.7 million during the quarter. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Bonhams to hold rare colored gemstones and jadeite auction in Hong Kong

18 Apr

A large collection of exceptional colored diamonds and gemstones will be offered for sale at Bonhams Hong Kong auction of Rare Jewels and Jadeite. 
Titled ‘The Jewels of the World collection’, the stones have been chosen based on their exceptional quality, rarity and beauty, the auction house said. 
"The selection includes Colombian emeralds, Burmese rubies and sapphires from Kashmir and Ceylon as these continue to be in the spotlight," Bonhams said. "It will also include gemstones from a number of other important regions that produce gems which are equally as beautiful and as rare. These regions include Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Brazil and Australia. 
Among the top lots of the sale is a pair of earrings with two Namibian Asscher-cut fancy colored Intense yellow diamonds weighing 5.26 and 5.17 carats, VVS1 clarity. 
Graeme Thompson, Head of Jewellery for Bonhams Asia, comments: “Fancy Intense yellow diamonds are characterized by a highly saturated coloration that is evenly distributed throughout the entire stone. Pairs of Asscher-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds are very rare and, in addition, these earrings have a wonderful brightness, depth of color and exceptional clarity.” 
The sale will feature a total of 103 lots, and take place on May 31. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Gem Diamonds appoints new chairperson

18 Apr

Gem Diamonds has appointed Harry Kenyon-Slaney as a new independent non-executive director and chairperson to succeed Roger Davis who is stepping down at the company’s annual general meeting on 6 June. 
Slaney was currently a senior advisor to McKinsey & Co and had more than 33 years of experience in the mining industry, principally with Rio Tinto. 
He was a geologist by training and had experience in operations, marketing, projects, finance and business development. 
"I am delighted to be handing the chairmanship on to Harry Kenyon-Slaney whose experience, knowledge and contacts in the diamond mining world are perfectly suited to lead Gem Diamonds forward to what I am sure will be an exciting future,” said the outgoing company chairperson Roger Davis. 
“It has been a great privilege to be chairman of Gem Diamonds and I wish him and the whole company every success in the future." 
​Gem Diamonds owns 70 percent of the Letšeng mine in Lesotho and 100 percent of the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana. 
Since Gem Diamonds' acquisition of Letšeng in 2006, the mine had produced four of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recorded. 
The Ghaghoo mine was recently placed on care and maintenance until market conditions allow for recommencement of production. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Second Edition of GJEPC's 'DDES 2017' held in Surat

18 Apr

The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) of India under the auspices of the Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee (NDMC) organised the second edition of ‘Diamond Detection Expo & Symposium (DDES 2017)’ at Surat on April 14-15, 2017 to spreading awareness about synthetic diamonds and the steps for prevention of undisclosed mixing. 
The unique expo, a ‘one-of-its-kind’ event, had all the leading gemmological laboratories and some technology companies showcasing the different types of machinery, equipment & technologies available to identify synthetic diamonds. Alongside the exhibition, a series of talks and panel discussions also took place. While inaugurating the event, Praveenshankar Pandya (Chairman, GJEPC) said, “DDES is one amongst the several strategic initiatives to preserve global trade and consumer confidence in diamonds from India. We intend to modernize key jewellery manufacturing hubs across India and empower them by sophisticated detection tools & techniques to safeguard ourselves against undisclosed mixing of synthetics. Mixing in any form is unacceptable.” 
He added that the GJEPC has been spearheading awareness with regard to synthetic diamonds since 2013-14 and has been proactively engaging all key stakeholders in this regard. The focus areas are Detection, Differentiation, Disclosures & Documentation. 
The presentations and panel discussions included a session on ‘Impact of Synthetics on Diamond Industry in Surat’ moderated by Samir Joshi (ED, Indian Diamond Institute) with panellists including Praveenshankar Pandya, Ashish Mehta, Dineshbhai Navadiya and Keval Virani (Karp Impex). 
The findings of the study on the synthetic diamond landscape carried out by Bonas & Co for the GJEPC’s Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee (NDMC) was released at the DDES 2017. The study estimates the current peak installed capacity of synthetic diamond manufacturers worldwide to be between 2.3 mn to 4.2 mn, or about 2-3% of total natural diamond supply. 
Ashish Mehta, Convener NDMC said, “The committee has initiated a series of steps to facilitate fair trade and prevent any untoward instances that can damage reputation. The study by Bonas & Co, across four continents and four months, shows that synthetic diamond production through HPHT is growing faster while that through CVD is slower. China is the leader in HPHT production with Russia (larger pieces), while Singapore is the leader in CVD production. Synthetic diamonds have grown fast but not as much as what recent unconfirmed reports have indicated. There is no market impact but just a mentality impact. Today the natural diamond business has grown phenomenally due to the sustained marketing over the years. Synthetic diamond makers will take a long time to catch up.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Jewelers Mutual to host security webinar for U.S. jewelers in April

19 Apr

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. is hosting a webinar this month to help jewelry businesses increase their security, National Jeweler reported. 
“It’s important to trust your gut when it comes to assessing the risk an individual might pose. Close observation and consistently following sound security guidelines can go a long way in keeping your store secure,” said Jewelers Mutual Vice President of Loss Prevention David Sexton. 
The online seminar will cover topics such as security guards, showcases, surveillance cameras, safes, alarm systems and locked door buzzers and mantraps. 
It will also focus on tips to be able to identify a potential thief. According to Jewelers Mutual, jewelry thieves often display behaviors that give them away, and retailers who know what to look for have a better chance of identifying a thief and anticipating their behavior. 
The security webinar will take place on Thursday, April 20. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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ZCDC lacks capacity to mine kimberlites, says Zim NGO

19 Apr

Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) said the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) does not have the capacity to mine kimberlitic diamonds. 
It said the wholly owned state company, which was set up early last year had no equipment of its own and would likely court foreign investors to partner it in Tsvingwe (Penhalonga), which was believed to hold kimberlitic diamonds. 
“A 50/50 joint venture is likely to be negotiated between ZCDC and its partner. This will most probably follow the Marange model where the ruling elites identified some obscure companies with whom they made secret deals that prejudiced the country of more than $15 billion,” it said. 
“Given the unceremonious cancellation of mining licenses of Marange diamond firms, serious diamond mining companies are unlikely going to take the Tsvingwe offer. Most probably the partner will still come from China or Russia.” 
ZCDC disclosed early 2017 that it was in discussions with local banks to secure up to $300 million worth of credit to finance the purchase of mining gear and expansion of its operations. 
 “If the Tsvingwe find is confirmed then the project is going to be capital intensive given that it will involve sinking shafts to depths of about 300-500 metres,” CNRG said. 
“Currently ZCDC has failed to engage in large scale diamond mining in Marange, resulting in the influx of thousands of artisanal miners who are taking advantage of the vacuum created by the companies that were pushed out.” 
Meanwhile, the Penhalonga area had always been known for its rich gold deposits which were mined since pre-historic times. 
CNRG said hundreds of artisanal miners were doing gold panning throughout Penhalonga, Tsvingwe and the surrounding estates and yet none had ever stumbled on a diamond. 
“This has led some to speculate that it is gold they want to mine but for some unknown reasons they do not want to reveal it now,” it said. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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India's Prime Minister inaugurates HK HUB

19 Apr

HK HUB, an Ultra-Modern Factory of Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd., a known and respectable name in the Indian Gem and Jewellery Industry, was inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi on Monday, 17th April 2017 at Surat.Also present at the occasion were Shri Vijay Rupani- Chief Minister Of Gujarat, Shri Nitin Patel-Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat and Smt. Anandiben Patel-Former Chief Minister of Gujarat. 
In the presence of more than 20,000 people, including guests and employees of the company, Shri Narendra Modi cut the “Ribbon” to mark the inauguration of the new factory which is a perfect blend of Men and Machinery. He also planted “Vikas No Vadlo” (Tree of Progress”). 

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Narendra Modi paid tribute to the contribution of the late prime minister Morarji Desai for the foundation he laid for the progress of the economy. He also recalled the services of late Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in presenting a united India in which we live now. 
Addressing the Indian Gem and Jewellery Industry, in particular, Shri Modi said the industry should to go for “Designed in India” along with “Make in India” so that traditional designs of Jewellery from India can be promoted and marketed in the world. He added that Gujarat should lead not only in India but in the whole world. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Namibia diamond trading company expects sales to remain firm

19 Apr

Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) said diamond sales recovered last year following a dip in 2015. 
Company chief executive Sihaleni Ndjaba was quoted by The Namibian newspaper as saying that a rise in diamond prices would continue this year. 
“It is looking very healthy with a high demand,” he said without providing figures. 
NDTC sales and marketing manager Brent Eiseb also said that the impact of international economies on the diamond market was key. 
He said the United States market represents between 40 and 45 percent of the global total demand. 
Eiseb said the US market had picked up by 4 percent since 2015. 
China, he said, had also shown “positive” developments as challenges in India continue. 
Eiseb said 2015's downturn saw a “lot of their” customers’ inventory swelling and this meant that they failed to purchase rough diamonds regularly from NDTC as they had excess stock. 
“In 2016, we saw a lot more stability coming through, both in terms of rough and polished diamonds. It was a record year in terms of beneficiation sales,” he said. 
“We expect 2017 also to be a stable year in terms of demand.” 
NDTC was said to have sold about N$26 billion of rough diamonds to local cut and polishing companies since the advent of beneficiation sales in 2007. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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India’s Supreme Court not to force UK to return Koh-i-Noor diamond

25 Apr

India’s Supreme Court will not make attempts to bring back the historical Koh-i-Noor diamond which is now part of the British crown jewels, as it cannot interfere in the diplomatic process nor can it direct another country to not auction the gem. 
The 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, which came into British hands in the mid-19th Century, has been on display at the Tower of London for years. But ownership of the famous rock is an emotional issue for many Indians, who believe the British stole it. 
Koh-i-Noor, one of the world’s largest diamonds, has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between New Delhi and London, with India arguing for decades that it should get it back. 
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration told the Supreme Court that the diamond was neither "forcibly taken nor stolen" by the British, but given as a "gift" to the East India Company by the rulers of Punjab. 
The government, however, has revealed that it is still trying to bring the diamond back, likely based on agreements with the UK, as there is no concrete evidence to show Koh-i-Noor was validly gifted to Queen Victoria. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Top diamond miners eye spurring demand in India

25 Apr

The world's top diamond producers will try to spur demand in India with the launch of their ‘Real is Rare’ slogan in September, as per a report in Reuters.The marketing slogan was launched in the United States in 2016 by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), which includes the biggest producers De Beers, Russia's ALROSA and Rio Tinto. 
DPA Chief Executive Jean-Marc Lieberherr said early indications were that the slogan was effective and diamonds had captured the interest of the millennial generation. 
The Real is Rare slogan is intended to be international, but marketing campaigns will be tailored to specific markets with a DPA budget that Lieberherr said would see "a large increase" this year compared with last year's $12 million. 
Demand for diamonds in India slowed late last year following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to scrap high-value banknotes as part of a crackdown on tax evasion and counterfeiters. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Hot Topic in Geneva: The Issue of Synthetic Diamonds in Watchmaking

25 Apr

(thediamondloupe.com) - In April 2017, a symposium called, “Synthetic Diamonds: Are Watchmaking and Jewelry in Danger?” was held in Geneva, specifically to address the issue of synthetic diamonds in the domain of watchmaking and how it is possible to differentiate natural from lab-grown stones. 
Developments over the past ten years have led to the critical point where the price of synthetic diamonds fell below that of natural diamonds, increasing the incentive for less-than-well-intentioned people to mix man-made simulants with natural diamonds. The risk increases significantly when it comes to melee diamonds, and has the watch industry - and ultimately consumers - worried. 
Diamond Producers Association CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr says, "The worst thing that can happen is that people lose confidence in diamond because they are not entirely sure that the product they are buying is what they think they're buying. That is the number one challenge." 
Dr. Philip Martineau, Head of Physics at De Beers Research Centre, says, "Consumers should be able to buy what they want without fear of things being misrepresented. What we are seeing is synthetic diamond prices falling very rapidly, and the price differential between natural and synthetic is growing very rapidly. That will increase the incentive for dishonest people to try to sell synthetic diamonds as though they are natural. To counteract that we have to develop very cost-effective technology that can test to stones and protect the consumer." 
The conference was attended by leading representatives from the Association Romande des Métiers de la Bijouterie (ASEMBI), the diamond department of the Swiss Gemological Institute (SSEF), GGTL Laboratories in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Gemological Institute of America, Diamond Producers Association, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the Société Suisse de Gemmologie (SSG) and the Union Française de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie, des Pierres et Perles. 

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ALROSA appoints the date of the next Annual General Meeting of Shareholders

25 Apr

Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of PJSC ALROSА, the world leader in diamond mining, will be held on June 30, 2017. 
At its recent meeting, the Supervisory Board of ALROSA approved the agenda of the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, which included, among others: approval of the annual report and annual accounting statements; profit distribution, approval of the amount, procedure, form and payout period for the dividend on the Company’s shares; election of members of the Supervisory Board and Auditing Committee of ALROSA. 
In particular, the Supervisory Board approved recommendations on the distribution of net profit for 2016. The amount of dividend recommended to be paid is RUB 65,769 billion, based on RUB 8.93 per one share of RUB 0.5 par value. The date when the persons entitled to a dividend are to be defined is July 20, 2017. 
The list of persons entitled to participate in the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of ALROSA to be held at the address: 6, ul. Lenina, Mirny, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), is made based on the data from the Shareholder Register of ALROSA as of June 6th, 2017.
 

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De Beers supports artisanal miners with new grant to DDI

26 Apr

The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) has got another significant contribution from the De Beers Group of Companies in support of efforts to promote responsible production and improve the lives and conditions of artisanal diamond miners and their families. 
According to Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of DDI, ongoing funding from De Beers enables DDI to ensure the sustainability of its programming. "Our objective is to contribute to the formalization of the artisanal and small-scale diamond sector," she says. "This does not happen overnight, or in a month or a year. Faithful partners like De Beers make it possible for us to take the long term view." 
Feriel Zerouki, Head of Government and Industry Relations, De Beers Group, said: "Through our relationship with DDI we have the opportunity to support artisanal diamond diggers and their communities and to contribute to improvements in the sector. Any benefit to artisanal miners is a benefit to all of us." 
DDI's programs in favour of artisanal diamond miners include miner registration, mining cooperatives, Maendeleo Diamond Standards for miner's rights and responsible production, mobile schooling in mining communities and professional development for miners. 
The De Beers Group has been supporting the work of DDI since 2008. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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Petra engages Dar es Salaam over stake in Williamson mine

26 Apr

Petra Diamonds said it is in talks with the Tanzanian government concerning requirements that the group offer a 30 percent stake in the Williamson diamond mine to Tanzanian interests as well as list on the Dar es Salaam stock exchange. 
The Tanzanian government already owned a 25 percent stake in the Williamson mine. 
Asked by an analyst during a conference call to comment on the new regulations by Dar es Salaam, group chief executive Johan Dippenaar was quoted by MiningMx as saying that he did not want to “get ahead” of the outcome of the discussions with the government. 
Tanzania introduced new regulations to promote local ownership and build the country’s capital markets with a deadline of August 23 this year set for mining companies operating in the country to comply. 
Meanwhile, Petra said it produced 999,768 carats during the third quarter of the fiscal year 2017 compared with 995,905 carats, a year earlier as output from tailings and open pit volumes at the Williamson mine and the Kimberley operations in South Africa were affected by “unseasonably high rainfall.” 
Revenue was down 1 percent to $119.1 million during the period under review from the previous year’s $120.5 million. 
Its cash at bank was $66.2 million as at 31 March 2017 up from $39.0 million during the same period last year. 
It had diamond inventories of $49.3 million as at 31 March 2017 down from $54.3 million a year earlier. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Anglo defends streamlining of operations

26 Apr

Anglo American has dismissed reports that it deviated from the course of action when it decided last year to focus on its strongest market positions in diamonds, PGMs and copper. 
The group has an 85 percent stake in De Beers, which produced 7.4 million carats during the first quarter of the year compared to 6.9 million carats, a year earlier. 
“I would ask you to cast your minds back to the circumstances of just over a year ago, when the mining industry and commodity prices were on the floor,” said group chairperson Sir John Parker. 
“At that time, in the aftermath of $6.4 billion having been wiped off our own underlying EBITDA in the previous two years in aggregate, and with scant prospect of an early uplift in prices, Anglo American's clear imperative was to take bold action to bring down our net debt quickly to a manageable level. 
“So we accelerated sale processes, already under way in some cases, and broadened the range of assets so as to create competitive tension across those processes, with a clear commitment not to accept undervalued prices, particularly for quality assets that we would not normally have offered for sale.” 
Anglo chief executive Mark Cutifani also praised their diamonds business as global in scope and scale.  
“While each asset may not be Tier 1 in its own right, the aggregation of assets under the De Beers business adds breadth and value to our customer product offering,” said Cutifani. 
“In PGMs, we are building on our quality resource base and we understand the imperative to have our assets occupy the left hand side of the cost curve. We also need to push along with market developments that we see for fuel cells and jewellery.” 
“In Copper, we have significant potential from our existing resource base - in Peru, in Chile and longer term in Finland - but we are not yet at the scale and quality where we would like to be and so we have work to do. 
He also said that the group delivered on its “key” commitments last year as it delivered free cash flow of $2.6 billion, well above its target while net debt was reduced to $8.5 billion - well below the $10 billion target. 
Meanwhile, said Anglo’s aim in future was to have a more robust balance sheet and increase the resilience of each of its business streams to the price volatility that characterises the mining industry. 
He said the group was also planning to reinstate the dividend by the year-end on a payout-ratio-based policy. 
Parker said that the fortunes of the mining industry would inevitably continue to be influenced by developments in China, where the authorities recently reduced the country's growth target for 2017 to 6.5 percent as the country seeks to balance its economy through a mixture of stimulus and managed slowdown. 
He said China's “admirable efforts” to improve air quality may boost demand for some of the higher-quality and cleaner-burning iron ore and coking coal that Anglo is well positioned to supply for steel making. 
“Widespread expectations of continuing slow growth in many regions of the world outside of Asia, accompanied by uncertainty over how much of the reform programme, including its ambitious infrastructure plans, of the new and protectionist-leaning US administration can actually be achieved, may be a drag anchor on the global economy for some time to come,” Parker said. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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HRD Antwerp opens new lab in Mumbai

27 Apr

HRD Antwerp inaugurated its new lab & office premises in Mumbai on 25th April 2017 in the presence of His Excellency Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of Belgium Mr. Pieter De Crem. 
On the occasion Ravi Chhabria, Managing Director of HRD Antwerp India said, "HRD Antwerp started its activities in India back in 2012, to provide faster and more convenient service to Indian diamond companies.The demand for HRD Antwerp services in India and worldwide has grown steadily over the years. We expect this growth to increase further, so we have invested in the latest technology and equipment to offer world class facilities to our customers. We also just re-launched our education program in India. We specifically chose the new premises in order to be closer to our customers: they are now about 5 min. walking distance from the Bharat Diamond Bourse." 
To celebrate the inauguration of their new office, HRD Antwerp is also offering exceptionally 5ct+ grading services this week, in fast and superfast service only. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Sotheby’s reported strong diamond sales at its New York auction

27 Apr

Sotheby’s New York auction fetched a total of $29 million in jewelry sales on Tuesday. 
An unidentified private Asian buyer spent $5.3 million on a pair of diamond earrings with square emerald-cut, D-color, internally flawless diamonds, one of which weighed 20.29 carats and the other 20.02 carats. The pre-sale estimate for the piece was $4.5 million to $5.5 million. 
Five of the lots on offer at the auction garnered seven-figure amounts, Sotheby’s reported. A pear-shaped, 11.19-carat, fancy pink, internally flawless diamond pendant went for $2.4 million, or $215,594 per carat. Another emerald-cut, 5.07-carat, fancy gray-blue, VVS2-clarity diamond went under the hammer for $1.6 million, or $310,158 per carat. 
Separately, the “Stotesbury” emerald-and-diamond ring, designed by Harry Winston, sold for $996,500. The whereabouts of the34.40-carat Colombian emerald had been unknown since 1971, when it last appeared at a Sotheby’s auction, the company said. 
“Today’s excellent results spanned each of the categories that have driven the auction market in recent seasons: top-quality diamonds and gemstones, signed and historic jewels, and pieces with notable provenance,” said Gary Schuler, the North and South America chairman for Sotheby’s international jewelry division. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo Q1 sales dip 54pc to $10.7m – Lucapa

27 Apr

Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo (SML), which is 40 percent-owned by Lucapa Diamond recorded a 54 percent drop in sales to $10.7 million during the first quarter of the year from $23.1 million, a year earlier. 
It sold 4,498 carats during the quarter ended 31 March for gross proceeds of $10.7 million, a 133 percent increase when compared with 1,931 carats sold for $23.1 million, a year earlier. 
However, the first quarter sales for the year were lower than the comparative quarter due to the recovery and sale of the record 404 carat for $16 million. 
Lucapa said SML had unsold diamond inventory of 2,545 carats at the end of the quarter compared with 1,346 carats, a year earlier. 
Meanwhile, the company said SML recorded a 33 percent increase in production to 4,098 carats during the quarter from 3,087 carats produced during the same period last year. 
This, it said, included a 58 percent increase in specials to 38 “further underling Lulo’s ability to regularly produce large and high-value diamonds”. 
The specials included Angola’s second biggest recorded diamond – a 227 carat Type IIa D colour gem along with other large stones weighing 92 carats, 62 carats and 65 carats. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Firestone Diamonds boosts Q3 Liqhobong output to 103,000 ct

27 Apr

Firestone Diamonds said it produced 103,000 carats during the third quarter of its fiscal year, including 31 special stones larger than 10.8 carats, from Liqhobong mine in Lesotho. 
The diamonds were recovered at a grade of 16.1 carats per hundred tonnes and this was an improvement from the second quarter, which saw the company producing 58,000 carats at a grade of 14.1 cpht. 
Scheduled plant commissioning modifications carried out during the quarter under consideration resulted in a higher grade of 20.1 cpht achieved for March, it said. 
“The final commissioning phase has seen the mine achieve nameplate capacity on numerous occasions which is very positive, particularly during the rainy season,” said company chief executive Stuart Brown. 
“We are now starting to move towards the better quality ore areas which will be treated towards the end of the current quarter..." 
Firestone also produced a 110 carat gem-quality light yellow diamond post the period end, which was the largest diamond recovered to date by the company. 
The company was now expecting to finish the financial year end having recovered approximately 300,000 carats due to its focus on implementing the final modifications to the plant in the quarter. 
“While this is below the lower end of previous estimates, the company is very pleased with the increasing grade and recovery rates which puts Liqhobong in a strong position ahead of processing the better quality ore in the coming months,” it said. 
Meanwhile, the company held two diamond sales in February and March in Antwerp, which saw all 127,590 carats offered for sale being sold achieving an average price of $107 per carat for total sale proceeds of $13.7 million. 
It also had $5.0 million cash on hand as at 31 March, which excludes proceeds of the second diamond sale of $5.5 million received post quarter end, with a further $15.0 million available under the standby facility. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Koin to conduct tender of African diamonds next month

28 Apr

Koin International is set to conduct sales of rough diamonds from several African countries in Antwerp next month. 
Diamond Loupe reports that Koin’s sales would include an array of fancy colours, with an “exciting” collection of original intense to vivid yellow single stones. 
The stones to be auctioned included a 10.80 carat fancy colour stone from Angola. 
Others as small as 2 carat stones were from DRC and Guinea’s Guiter Minerals Sarl as well as Ekapa Minerals and Diamcor’s Krone-Endora – both projects in South Africa. 
Buyers, reports Diamond Loupe, would have an opportunity to purchase “high-end” assortments of rough from 4ct to 4 gr, tailored for manufactures producing this range. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Fancy color diamond price index slightly up in Q1 2017

28 Apr

The Fancy Color Diamond Index for the first quarter of 2017 indicates pricing stability across most fancy color diamond categories. The main exception was blue fancy color diamonds, which saw a 1.9% price increase in the first 3 months of 2017, continuing the trend of 2016. During the same time, yellow and pink fancy color diamond prices remained largely unchanged. Overall, the Fancy Color Diamond Index for all shapes and sizes was up 0.2% for the period. 
The strongest performing price categories during Q1 2017 were fancy intense and fancy vivid blue diamonds across all carat sizes. 
On a year-on-year basis, when compared to Q1 2016, the Fancy Color Diamond Index is up 0.7% with blue fancy and pink fancy up 5.7% and 0.8%, respectively, and yellow fancy down 2.5%. As in Q4 2016, across all color segments fancy intense and fancy vivid demonstrated robust price increases, which were offset to some extent by price declines of color diamonds in the “Fancy” category. The Fancy Color Diamond Index is published by the non-profit Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF), and tracks pricing data for yellow, pink and blue fancy color diamonds in three key global trading centers – Hong Kong, New York and Tel Aviv. 
FCRF Advisory Board chairman Eden Rachminov said, “Highly coveted fancy intense and vivid blues are challenging to find in the market, while interest and demand for these categories continue to grow.” Mr. Rachminov added, “This trend is likely to continue well into 2017 as owners react to supply shortages with price hikes.” 
Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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India’s exports of G&J rises 9.8%; polished diamonds up 10.2% in FY17

28 Apr

India’s exports of Gems and Jewellery increased 9.85% to $43.16 bn in FY17 (provisional data in April 2016 to March 2017) vis-a-vis $39.24 bn in FY16 (April 2015 to March 2016). Gross exports of cut and polished diamonds in FY17 increased to $22.78 bn witnessed a growth of 10.24% in FY17 as compared to $20.67 bn in FY16. 
The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India (GoI) released annual export performance report for FY2017 in the presence of Praveenshankar Pandya (Chairman, GJEPC) and Sabyasachi Ray (Executive Director, GJEPC). 
Exports of gold jewellery increased to $8.72 bn (up 1.92%) in FY17 as compared to $8.56 bn in FY16. Exports of silver jewellery increased to $4.02 bn (up 35.83%) in FY17 as compared to $2.96 bn in FY16. Exports of coloured gemstones dropped 3.08% to $419.9 mn in FY17 as compared to $433.18 mn in FY16. Exports of Rough Diamond increased to $1.5 bn (up 28.24%) from $1.17 bn in FY16. 
In FY17, gems & jewellery exports of $43.16 billion accounted for 15.72% of the country’s cumulative exports of $274.65 billion ranking the gems & jewellery sector as one of the leading foreign exchange earners for the country. 
Praveenshankar Pandya, Chairman, GJEPC, said, “Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, in his special live video message, congratulated GJEPC on our 50th Anniversary, and expressed his desire to make India the world’s largest diamond trading hub and a global jewellery hub. Having crossed the USD 40 bn mark in exports in FY17, we are now devising a strategy for Vision 2022,to enable India attain global leadership position in gems & jewellery in its 75th year of Independence. The strategic focus will be on Exports, Training & Education, Employment Generation, Value Addition and sustained Marketing.” 
Major export destinations for the gems & jewellery sector in FY2016-17 were UAE with 32% of exports directed to the market followed by Hong Kong at 30% and USA at 23% .The imports of rough diamonds grew 21.59% in FY17 to USD 17.08 bn as compared to $14.04 bn in FY16. Import of cut and polished diamonds dropped 5.13% to $2.63 bn as compared to $2.77 bn in FY16. 
GJEPC has urged the Govt. to follow the equivalence principle when preparing GST Regime, meaning no export transactions should be subjected to any effective GST as well as all related consumption of raw materials, inputs and input services. It has also sought reduction of import duty on gold. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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ALROSA introduces special regime for labor protection and industrial safety

28 Apr

Due to the recent accidents at ALROSA’s production facilities, the company intends to introduce a special regime of labor protection and industrial safety starting on May 1, 2017 onwards at all its divisions operating hazardous industrial facilities. During the special regime period, the company’s senior engineering and technical employees will keep twenty-four-hour vigil inspecting workplaces. In the event of non-compliance with safety and labor protection requirements, the ongoing works, as well the operation of equipment, buildings, structures and vehicles will immediately be suspended.
Simultaneously, the company has started a comprehensive analysis of compliance with industrial, fire and traffic safety and labor protection requirements. Within the period up to May 30, ALROSA will organize an external independent audit in this field. By July 15, the company intends to evaluate the results of the expert inspection and then will develop a plan of actions to correct violations and inconsistencies, if any, in industrial processes making everything comply with the industrial safety requirements.
The management of ALROSA express their sincere condolences to the families and friends of the dead and injured due to the recent accidents.
The families of those who died as a result of the two accidents that occurred on April 26, 2017 at the company's enterprises will be paid material assistance, as well as insurance compensation in full. ALROSA will use its funds to provide treatment and rehabilitation of the victims.
Due to detached rock at the site of stowing operations in the mine, a 25-year-old timber man suffered injuries incompatible with life. The accident is being investigated. The mine continues to operate in normal mode.
In one of the workshops of the dairy plant owned by the "Novy" state farm, there occurred an explosion of the milk sterilization apparatus. As a result, two dairy workers were killed. Two more workers suffered injuries and burns of different severity. The victims were sent to the regional hospital. The work of the dairy plant is stopped.
The circumstances of both cases will be carefully studied by the company's profile services with the participation of the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service of Russia.

 

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US Jewelry Stores Closing at Slower Rate

2 May

The shrinking of the US jewelry industry slowed in the first quarter, as the number of shops shutting their doors dropped by 16%, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT). 
The decrease in jewelry store closings around the country — 318 compared with 380 during the same period in 2016 — broke the trend of consistent decline in the industry’s size over the previous year, data from the JBT showed last week. 
In 2016, the number of US jewelry businesses ceasing operations leapt 54% to 1,669 — mainly in the retail category. 
Most of this year’s discontinued businesses were still in the retail sector, which nonetheless saw closings drop 13% to 250. Wholesale closures decreased 14% to 44, while manufacturing companies had 44% fewer closures at 24. 
The improvement came amid a 0.2% year-on-year increase in sales at US jewelry stores during January and February, which amounted to $4.41 billion, according to separate data from the nation’s Census Bureau. 
In the broader US retail sector, some 2,880 brick-and-mortar stores have closed so far this year, compared with 1,153 in the same period of 2016, according to a Credit Suisse report. 
 

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Guangzhou Diamond Exchange conducts first rough diamond sale

2 May

The Guangzhou Diamond Exchange (GZDE) recently concluded its first rough diamond sale, comprising carefully selected parcels of rough from a number of well-known international suppliers. 
The sale came about after the special permissions granted by AQSIQ (the ministry in charge of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in China) and those from the Customs and other relative authorities, for such sales. 
Announcing the completion of this milestone, the organization said that the sales came at the end of two and a half days of viewing during which hundreds of buyer-dealers inspected the goods which were for sale. 
Transactions were carried out through three modes, GZDE reported including allocations, negotiations and online auction. The parcels that generated maximum interest among buyers were all sold through the auction process, the exchange said. 
The commencement of rough diamond trading services in GZDE will make it easier for Chinese rough diamond dealers to directly access international primary rough diamond supplies. It will also help in the development of new trade channels for the Chinese domestic diamond jewellery market, GZDE stated. 
Alongside the sales, GZDE also hosted a business conference themed as “Innovative Supply, Vigorous Upgrade”, it said. The event focused on innovative service for diamonds in supply channels, processing technology and an integrated market service system. 
Nearly 400 delegates attended the sessions which were addressed by senior representatives from the Diamond Processing Specialized Committee of Gems & Jewelry Trade Association of China, GZDE, Guangdong Gems and Jade Exchange, Delta TAU, Sarine Technologies Ltd., China Gold Newspaper and some other organizations from the industry. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Stellar, Octea to develop second largest kimberlite diamond mine in West Africa

2 May

Stellar Diamonds inked a tribute mining and revenue share agreement with Octea Mining for the Tongo-Tonguma kimberlite diamond project in Sierra Leone. 
It said in a statement that these agreements would allow for mining in the combined and contiguous Tongo and Tonguma concessions as well as provide substantial near and long term cash flows. 
The project hosts one of the “highest” value kimberlite ore bodies in Africa on a dollar per tonne basis, Stellar said. 
It said modest mine development capital expenditure for the first two years had been estimated at $32m including 15 percent contingency. 
“The combined project has an initial 4.5 million carat resource which, due to the high grade (100cpht to 260cpht at +1.18mm) and high quality diamonds (US$209/ct to US$310/ct), is considered to be one of the highest value kimberlite ore bodies in Africa on a dollar per tonne basis,” said Stellar chief executive Karl Smithson. 
“The 21-year mine plan with a consistent output of over 200,000 carats per year at full production would quantify this development as the second largest kimberlite diamond mine in West Africa.” 
The Tongo-Tonguma diamond project would likely generate $45 million in revenue each year upon reaching full production, said Stellar. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Polyakov calls upon diamond mining countries to implement origin guarantees

4 May

The president of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and the vice president of ALROSA Andrey Polyakov said at a Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting in Perth that all diamond mining countries along with industry representatives should implement diamond origin guarantees. 
Observing that the new challenge could not be met by the diamond industry alone, and required the participation of the African nations where diamonds were mined artisanally, Polyakov went on to say, “The industry as always must continue its efforts to ensure best practices within the whole diamond pipeline. But industry representatives cannot do this alone. We call upon all diamond mining countries, especially the most vulnerable ones, to also ensure the implementation of best practices. It is only together that we shall gain and maintain the full confidence of the consumer.” 
He added, “Today the World Diamond Council conducts continual efforts to improve the System of Warranties, designed to extend the confirmation of non-conflict origin down through the diamond pipeline. We understand that the existing System of Warranties is far from being perfect, and we welcome the constructive criticism that we hear from colleagues within the industry.” 
Polyakov went on to say, “We hope that by the end of this year we shall be able to present an updated System of Warranty for your consideration. The creation of an effective system will be a significant industry contribution to strengthen consumer’s confidence and grow the excellent reputation of our product.” 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Rockwell ramps up operations at Wouterspan, SA court says liquidation hearing not urgent

4 May

Rockwell Diamonds said its Wouterspan plant in South Africa is now in the ramp up stage after commissioning. 
Wouterspan, designed to process 200,000 cubic metres of gravels a month, was the company’s key asset. 
It said one of the diamonds recovered included a 60 carat stone, which was sold last week for $8,000 per carat. 
Meanwhile, SA High Court ruled that the hearing date on the company's liquidation application remains June 22 as urgency was no longer a consideration in view of business rescue filings. 
Business rescue hearings were scheduled for May 12, 2017. 
Trading in Rockwell Diamonds shares was suspended last March after an interim liquidation order against its three South African subsidiaries: Rockwell Resources RSA, HC van Wyk Diamonds, and Saxendrift Mine by C-Rock after it unsuccessfully launched a spoliation order against Rockwell last year. 
C-Rock claimed it was owed monies relating to disputed invoices, reimbursement for tax penalties and other construction costs owed to it. 
Rockwell said the powers of interim liquidators appointed by the Master of the High Court, in accordance with requisitions by the major creditors, were suspended in view of further filings by the company regarding business rescue. 
“While the judgment is not what the company sought, Judge Williams reaffirmed the principle that business rescue suspends both the powers of the provisional liquidators and the liquidation process, effectively allowing the company’s subsidiaries to carry on business,” it said. 
“On this basis, there is no pressing practical need to bring the final hearing date in the liquidation proceedings forward.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Arusha, Tanzania, 

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Tanzania engages private mining firms to create “favourable” environment

4 May

Tanzania said it will continue working together with key mining and mineral stakeholders, particularly from the private sector, with a view of creating favourable mining and mineral trading environment in the country. 
Manyara Regional Commissioner Joel Bendera, who officially opened the 6th edition of the annual Arusha Gem Fair in Arusha, Tanzania, said Tanzania was eager to build on its past successes to make it and specifically Arusha a gem centre for Africa. 
“We are committed to reforming various challenges facing the industry and promise a close cooperation with the private sector,” he said. 
Tanzania introduced new regulations to promote local ownership and build the country’s capital markets with a deadline of August 23 this year set for mining companies operating in the country to comply. 
Petra Diamonds recently said it was in talks with the government concerning requirements that the group offer a 30 percent stake in the Williamson diamond mine as well as list on the Dar es Salaam stock exchange. 
The Tanzanian government already owned a 25 percent stake in the Williamson mine. 
However, some officials were arguing that the government stake in Williamson Diamonds was not “public held” so the company should still relinguish 30 percent of its stake to the “public”. 
Meanwhile, the regional commissioner said the Arusha gem fair complimented the country’s mineral policy of 2009, which emphasized in turning Tanzania into a hub of gemstone trade in Africa through increased value addition activities and gemstone trading in the country. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Arusha, Tanzania, Rough&Polished 

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Cautious Polished Lags Behind Strong Rough Market

4 May

Diamond trading slowed in April, marking the start of the traditionally quieter second quarter. Sentiment was positive despite lower trading volumes, due to improving retail expectations in China, where the jewelry market is showing signs of recovery. 
The trade’s focus shifted to the US ahead of the Las Vegas shows as the hype surrounding the March Hong Kong fair subsided. Dealers held off from closing deals, hoping Las Vegas would boost activity. 
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1-carat polished diamonds slid 0.3% in April and was down 1.4% since the beginning of the year. 
Amid sluggish polished markets, rough trading remained strong. Manufacturing returned to near-full capacity as the large Indian factories ramped up operations following the November Diwali break. Polished inventory is rising, with the number of stones listed on RapNet having increased 3.5% in April and 7.5% since January 1. 
Strong rough markets enabled the major mining companies – Alrosa and De Beers – to reduce inventory as their combined first-quarter sales volume exceeded production by 11.9 million carats. Global diamond production is expected to rise an estimated 12% in 2017, as miners have committed to produce according to rough demand. 
The Rapaport Monthly Report – May 2017 notes the buoyant rough market is not supported by current levels of polished demand. Rough prices firmed 2% to 3% since the beginning of the year, while polished prices softened. India’s rough imports by volume soared in the first quarter, while polished trading volumes in India and Belgium declined. 
A continuation of these trends will put stress on the manufacturing sector, as liquidity and profitability may be eroded. After a period of improved profit margins and responsible trading in 2016, manufacturers must tread with caution, as the polished market tends to slow in the second quarter. 
 

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World Diamond Council applauds the start of the KP reform cycle

5 May

World Diamond Council (WDC) members representing every sector of the diamond industry, joined together on May 1-4 at the 2017 Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting in Perth. The focus of this year’s meeting was the start of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) review cycle in order to strengthen the Kimberley Process. 
For the second year in a row the WDC held an Observers Forum alongside the KP meeting, where WDC members, African Diamond Producers Association and civil society partners (CSC, DDI) met to discuss their common goals and joint efforts to promote further evolution of the KPCS and improve its efficiency. 
In light of the KP Reform, the Observes Forum achieved a common understanding on the following issues: Strengthening KP internal controls, Policy on Conflict of Interest and Establishment of a KP permanent secretariat. 
“The WDC continues its efforts to improve the System of Warranties, designed to extend the confirmation of non-conflict origin down through the diamond pipeline,” said Andrey Polyakov, president of the WDC and vice president of ALROSA. “We understand that the existing System of Warranties is far from being perfect, but we hope that by the end of this year we shall be able to present an updated System of Warranty. The creation of an effective system will be a significant industry contribution to strengthen consumer’s confidence and grow the excellent reputation of our product.” 
“We launched the first Observers Forum alongside the 2016 KP Plenary in Dubai and it was a great success,” Polyakov continued. “Yesterday we hosted it again and had a fruitful discussion on the minimum requirements for reform and the issues surrounding origin guaranties. The main challenge of this work is the regulation and accounting of small-scale artisanal mining. The DDI and development agencies have so far initiated remarkable progress but we will request the support of other major organizations as well, in particular African Institutional Stakeholders, to jointly study and address this issue. African countries need to get maximum benefit from artisanal mining to develop the economies and improve the living conditions of their people. But they will not be able to achieve this without complying with all business and social responsibility standards.”

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Gem Diamonds recovers yet another “high-quality” stone from Letšeng

5 May

Gem Diamonds said it recovered a “high-quality” 80 carat, D colour Type II diamond from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, which is regarded as the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.  
"Although this 80 carat diamond is not of the very large size for which Letseng is renowned, it is one of the highest quality diamonds recovered at the Letseng mine and is entirely undamaged making this a significant recovery,” said company chief executive Clifford Elphick. 
The company also recovered a 114 carat diamond from Letšeng last April. 
Letšeng had produced four of the 20 largest gem-quality white diamonds ever recorded since its acquisition by Gem Diamonds in 2006. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Arusha, Tanzania, Rough&Polished 

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Tanzania on high alert for intrusion of synthetics at Arusha Gem Fair

5 May

The Tanzanian government said it heard “rumours” that some people were planning to bring synthetic stones packaged as natural tanzanite and sell them to unsuspecting buyers at the ongoing Arusha Gem Fair. 
Commissioner for minerals Benjamin Mchwampaka told Rough & Polished on the sidelines of the gem fair that they were on high alert to keep synthetics out of the show. 
“Ours (the fair) in Tanzania is for genuine stuff only, so we don’t encourage or entertain anybody trying to tamper with our show by introducing synthetic stones which could tarnish the image of our show,” he said. 
“I strongly warn anyone who is intending to do so that once they are found [on the wrong side of the law] their stuff will be confiscated by the commissioner for minerals and necessary measures according to the existing laws will be taken against such people. I warn them to refrain from tampering with our show by bringing unwanted synthetic stones.” 
Mchwampaka also said that the government had set up three labs during the fair where customers in doubt of the authenticity of any stone will go to get it tested before any purchase.   
The three-day gem fair started Wednesday with several rough and polished gemstones, including the rare tanzanite, up for grabs by local and international buyers. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Arusha, Tanzania, Rough&Polished 

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De Beers set to deliver carbon-neutral mining

5 May

De Beers said it is leading a “ground-breaking” research project, which seeks to deliver carbon-neutral mining at some of its operations in as few as five years. 
The group, which has diamond mines in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa, started the project in 2016. 
The project aims to accelerate what was already a naturally occurring and safe process of extracting carbon from the atmosphere and storing it at a speed that could offset man-made carbon emissions, it said. 
Scientists estimate that the carbon storage potential of kimberlite tailings produced by a diamond mine every year could offset up to 10 times the emissions of a typical mine. 
“This project offers huge potential to completely offset the carbon emissions of De Beers’ diamond mining operations,” said company project lead for the initiative, Evelyn Mervine. 
“Mineral carbonation technologies are not new, but what is new is the application of these technologies to kimberlite ore, which is found in abundance in the tailings at diamond sites, and which offers ideal properties for the storage of very large volumes of carbon.” 
She said the research was in its early stages and it may take some time before it was economically or practically achievable to tap into the full storage potential. 
“However, even just tapping into a small amount could greatly reduce the net emissions at many of our mine sites in the near future, and possibly lead to carbon-neutral mining at some sites within the next five to ten years,” said Mervine. 
Group chief executive Bruce Cleaver said by replicating this technology at other mining operations around the world, the project could play a major role in changing the way not only the diamond industry, but also the broader mining industry, addresses the challenge of reducing its carbon footprint. 
“By investing in ground-breaking projects such as this, aligned with the FutureSmart Mining™ innovation programme of our parent company, Anglo American, we have the real potential to leave a positive, long-lasting legacy for the global mining industry,” he said. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Arusha, Tanzania, Rough&Polished 

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Diamond industry close to tracking 'fingerprint for stones'

5 May

Artisanal diamond miners, such as this one in Brazil, are the main cause of conflict diamonds entering the supply chain, according to the WDC.
A scientific solution for identifying and eradicating "blood diamonds" from the global supply chain could exist within a matter of years, the afr.com portal says, as the industry is put under increasing pressure by provenance-focused consumers.
In what the president of the World Diamond Council (WDC) envisages as a fall-back to the Kimberley Process, the technology could change the way rough diamonds are traced to their origins.
The Kimberley Process was set up under a United Nations resolution in 2000 as a system to try and stem the trade of conflict diamonds, which it defines as stones that are sold to finance a rebel movement seeking to overthrow a legitimate government.
Andrey Polyakov, WDC president and a vice-president of Russian diamond behemoth Alrosa, said while about 99.8 per cent of the world's rough diamonds were certified by the Kimberley Process' certification scheme, it was small artisanal miners, mostly in Africa, that presented the final challenge.

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Lucara Q1 revenue drops to $26.1m

6 May

Lucara Diamond’s first quarter revenues dropped to $26.1 million or $405 per carat from $50.6 million and $649 per carat. 
The company said its EBITDA was $4.9 million for the period from $30.7 million, a year earlier. 
Company chief executive William Lamb said first quarter sales were in line with expectations, following “recovering diamonds from its stockpiles as Aveng Moolmans fully mobilized to the Karowe mine”. 
Its 2017 revenue forecast remained between $200 and $220 million. 
The company's quarter-end cash balance was $43.5 million at the end of the quarter compared with $144.3 million, a year earlier and $53.3 million at the end of 2016. 
“The decrease in cash position from year end 2016 closing balance of $53.3 million was primarily due to investment of capital projects of $5.0 million and a dividend payment of $7.2 million, partially offset by Q1 sales,” it said. 
Lucara said its final 2016 tax installment of $9.5 million would be paid in the second quarter of the year while its $50 million credit facility remained undrawn. 
Meanwhile, Lucara said it recovered 65,241 carats from Karowe mine during the first quarter compared with 90,697, a year earlier. 
It also said that its drilling programme at the Karowe Mine to test the AK06 kimberlite at depths below 400m was completed last February. 
Further work was conducted on BK02, AK11, AK13 and AK14 during the period. 
It said diamond valuation for BK02 was determined to be US$56.76 per carat. 
“Based on the grade and yield information, no further work on BK02 is planned at this time,” said Lucara. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Arusha, Tanzania, Rough&Polished 

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Arusha Gem Fair Committee bemoans weak output, demand for gemstones

6 May

Arusha Gem Fair Organising Committee said, without providing figures, that production of gemstones in the country and Africa in general, had been on a downward spiral. 
Committee chairperson Peter Pereira said that there had been less investment in the industry as well as demand for gemstones, which affected their business. 
“But [Africa] being a source (of minerals), we believe we will [recover],” he said. 
“Mother Africa always surprise us all with something special like recent finds of sapphires from Madagascar and rubies from Mozambique.” 
Low tanzanite output in the country had been blamed on high operational costs, among other things. 
Tanzania Mineral Audit Agency (TMAA), in its 2012 - 2015 reports released last September showed that tanzanite mining profit margins were negative, including investment costs to maintain future production. 
TanzaniteOne Mining was said to have registered a drop in revenue from $16.10 million in 2012 to a low of $4.48 million in 2015. 
Analysts blamed the weak in revenue to the government's decision to ban export of rough Tanzanite below 1 gram in 2012. 
TMAA reports also indicated that the quantity of rough Tanzanite which was produced in 2012 and sold in the global market was 2.46 million carats and no single cut blue gemstone was sold. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Arusha, Tanzania, Rough&Polished 
 

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Zim buys out Russian-led DTZ-OZGEO for $5.4m

12 May

Zimbabwe has paid $5.4 million to Russian led miner DTZ-OZGEO to take over its diamond claims in Chimanimani. 
DTZ-OZGEO was said to have not opposed the country’s move to streamline operations in Marange and Chimanimani last year unlike the Chinese and Mbada who went to the court to oppose the move. 
Daily News reports that the government through the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) was “poised for greater things” following the Russian settlement and the withdrawal of litigations” by OFECC, which owns Anjin and Jinan. 
Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa told Rough & Polished last February that Harare had started negotiations with DTZ-OZGEO over the takeover. 
“I must say that the relationship between Russia and Zimbabwe is a very long-standing relationship and I did say to them that I was very impressed by the fact that as we took national decisions the Russians did not oppose us,” he said at the time. 
“They said we will accept but please do take into account that you are the ones who invited us and so we are again finalising an agreement with the Russians were will take over their equipment and will pay them slowly over a period of time.” 
Meanwhile, Daily News reports that ZCDC had received an $8 million capital injection from the central bank, which was expected to boost production beyond the current 200 000 carats per month. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Israel diamond trade bounces back in Q1 2017

12 May

Israel’s polished diamond exports bounced back in the first quarter as orders from Switzerland and the US grew during the period, reports Rapaport. 
Exports of polished has risen 16% to $1.7 bn in the Jan-to-Mar period, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour. Switzerland was the largest export market for the Israeli trade, with shipments rising significantly to $535.1 mn during the quarter that included the annual Baselworld show. Exports to the US increased 3.5% to $513.9 mn. 
Polished imports fell 13% to $699.3 mn during the period, leaving net polished exports 51% higher at $997.1 mn. Rough imports increased 4% to $785.2 mn, while rough exports advanced 12% to $768.2 mn. Net rough imports slid 76% to $17 mn. 
Israel’s net diamond account for the quarter – calculated as total polished and rough exports minus total imports – grew 65% to $980 mn. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 
 

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Alrosa reports sales results in April and January-April 2017

12 May

Alrosa announced rough and polished diamond sales results for April and for the first four months of 2017. 
During January-April 2017, Alrosa sold 16.9 million carats of rough and polished diamonds, up more than 7% as compared with January-April 2016. 
In terms of value, Alrosa diamond sales for this period amounted to $1.7 billion, which is 12.5% ​​less year-on-year. 
At the same time, rough diamond sales in April amounted to $310.2 million. The company sold polished diamonds worth $7.6 million during the period under review. 
"The decline in sales in value terms as compared with the same period last year is primarily due to the strong first months of 2016, when the market began to recover after the 2015 crisis and a lot of expensive goods were sold from the previously accumulated stocks," said Yuri Okoyomov, Vice President of Alrosa. 
"The assortment structure of sales has significantly changed: for the first 4 months of 2017 the share of small-scale, inexpensive goods was significantly higher than at the beginning of 2016. In general, the period under review is characterized by active replenishment of stocks in the midstream, as well as by emerging recovery of growth in Chinese jewelry retail sales," he added. 

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Endiama, Alrosa mull new investments in Angola

12 May

Angola's state diamond company, Empresa Nacional de Diamantes (ENDIAMA) and Russian diamond giant Alrosa are assessing the possibility of studies for additional investments in the exploration of kimberlites in the southern African country. 
Angop reports that this was revealed by ENDIAMA chairperson Carlos Sambula and Alrosa president Sergey Ivanov following their meeting Tuesday with the country's vice president, Manuel Vicente in Luanda.
Ivanov was quoted as saying that business with Luanda was “flourishing” with net profits of $137 million last year, coupled with better quality of diamonds extracted.
“I believe that in 2017 there will be an improvement in the revenues in terms of foreign currency resulting from the sale of diamonds, based on a more favorable economic situation,” he said.
Ivanov said new investments could be made from 2018, depending on the economic feasibility studies in other projects, such as Luaxe.
Meanwhile, Sambula said that the investment prospects with Alrosa were “good”.
He could, however, not reveal the projected investment in dollar terms saying this would be determined based on the results of the ongoing technical and economic studies.
Meanwhile, the Endiama boss said work on Luaxe, considered the largest compared to Catoca, was running according to schedule and can be opened late 2018 or early 2019.
Catoca currently produces about 80 percent of the country’s total diamond output.
Alrosa and Endiama each control a 32.8 percent stake in Catoca, while LL International Holding B.V. owned by China-Sonagol controlled an 18.0 percent stake.
Brazil’s Odebrecht Mining Services owns 16.4 percent of the company.
Alrosa and Endiama also co-own the Luaxe kimberlite project.
Endiama said last February that it was currently negotiating with Alrosa for the financing of the Luaxe and would not seek additional investors. 
Former Alrosa president Andrey Zharkov said last September that capital investments in Luaxe project during its mine life was estimated at $1 billion.
Luaxe, which was discovered in 2015, was projected to record an annual output of between 8 million carats and 10 million carats.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Chow Tai Fook partners with Chinese online retail giant

12 May

Chow Tai Fook has joined forces with Chinese online retail giant JD.com, which will become the jeweler’s preferred internet sales channel, as per a report in diamonds.net. 
JD.com claims to be the largest Chinese e-commerce company by revenue, with 2016 sales of $37.5 bn. Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook said that the partnership deal would help lure digital-minded consumers to its products. 
“The collaboration with JD.com is one of our online-to-offline strategies that help engage a wider range of customers with enhanced services,” the jeweler said. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Michele della Valle Leads New Sotheby’s Sale

12 May

Sotheby’s is launching a new auction series in Geneva this June, with the inaugural sale featuring jewelry by Italian designer Michele della Valle. 
Among the 82 lots in the “Fine Jewels” auction will be a leaf-patterned necklace set with tsavorite, diamonds and oval emeralds, valued at $30,000 to $50,000, Sotheby’s said. Other pieces inspired by nature include a bangle with a clump of coral strawberries, emerald leaves and diamond-set flowers — estimated at $15,000 to $20,000 — and a floral-motif necklace with sapphires, rubies and black diamonds that is expected to sell for $25,000 to $35,000. 
A diamond-and-gem necklace featuring tourmaline, aquamarine, amethyst, heliodor and peridot has also been valued at $25,000 to $35,000, while on the lower end of the price spectrum, a sapphire-and-diamond brooch in the shape of a marlin will be on offer for an estimated $3,000 to $5,500. A bracelet of diamond parrots with sapphire, ruby and emerald wings and tails will be among the lots as well, with a $5,000 to $8,000 value. 
The auction will take place June 1.

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Stellar gets two-month loan note extension

12 May

Stellar Diamonds said it secured a two-month extension to the longstop dates with the noteholders of its two outstanding convertible loan notes. 
Company chief executive Karl Smithson said in a statement that the company was undergoing a transformation from an explorer to a mine developer. 
“I would like to thank the noteholders for their continued support as we progress towards the commercial development of the 4.5-million-carat Tongo-Tonguma underground kimberlite diamond mine, in Sierra Leone,” he said. 
“Key advances have been made in recent weeks in terms of signing the binding tribute mining agreement and signing the contract for the front-end engineering design (FEED) for the initial mine development.” 
Smithson said with a low capital expenditure requirement of $32-million, the proposed Tongo-Tonguma mine had the potential to be the second-largest kimberlite diamond mine in West Africa, with forecast production levels of 200 000 ct/y, generating revenues of over $45-million a year over a minimum life-of-mine of 21 years. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Botswana boosts Q1 rough diamond exports

12 May

Botswana’s rough diamond exports rose 2.5 percent to about $850 million in the first quarter, according to data released by the country’s central bank. 
The country accrued $243.1 million from exports in January, as well as $254.2 million in February and $352.3 million in March. 
Rapaport reports that the increase in rough diamond exports during the first quarter was attributed to higher sales at De Beers. 
De Beers’ rough sales increased by about 2 percent to $1.86 billion in the three sights that took place during the quarter. 
Debswana, a joint venture between De Beers and Botswana accounted for 75 percent of the company’s rough production in 2016, according to Anglo American, the parent company of De Beers. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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ALROSA recovers new large diamond crystal at Jubilee pipe

12 May

ALROSA reported it has produced a 83.5-carat diamond at its Jubilee kimberlite pipe. 
The diamond crystal has a yellowish semi-transparent tint, its dimensions are 24 х 15 х 17 mm. The stone has inclusions of sulfides, olivines with tensor cracks and pyrope in the intermediate and central zone. 
The Jubilee pipe has been developed as an open pit since 1989, and accounts for the bulk of ore that Aikhal plant processes. In accordance with JORC, Jubilee reserves are estimated at 95 million carats of rough diamonds. Based on this assessment, mining at the pipe can be provided until 2035. 
Aikhal Mining and Processing Plant is a producer of diamonds from the Jubilee, Komsomolsky and Aikhal deposits. 
In 2016, the Aikhal plant produced 12.2 million carats of diamonds worth $1.2 billion. 

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Birks commences sale of Quebec diamonds produced by Stornoway

16 May

Stornoway Diamond Corporation has announced that Birks Group, a Canada-based luxury jewelry retailer, launched an inaugural sale of Quebec-mined diamonds at its Montreal flagship store. 
In the presence of Birks Group President and CEO, Mr. Jean-Christophe Bédos, and Matt Manson, President and CEO of Stornoway, guests of the inaugural event had the opportunity to view a collection of polished diamonds up to 10 carats in size, mined during the initial ramp-up period of Stornoway’s Renard Mine in Northern Quebec and set in Birks’ signature designs. 
Manson commented: “We are honoured to be able to partner with Birks in the presentation of Quebec’s first diamonds to the retail market. It is fitting that these first beautiful, Quebec diamonds derived from Quebec’s first diamond mine should premier for sale at Maison Birks, Quebec’s most storied diamond jeweler. Yesterday evening’s event marked another step in the long journey to bring the Renard Mine and Renard diamonds to the global market.” 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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TGJTA & Shanghai Gems & Jade Exchange sign MoU to establish trade association

16 May

President of the Shanghai Gems & Jade Exchange Ms. Wang Wan Fong and President of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) Suttipong Damrongsakul have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on May 9, 2017, to launch a dynamic jewelry confederation and establish a modern-day “silk road” project. 
The newly established China-Thailand Gemstone Traders Association, or CTGA, aims to boost jewelry trade and exchanges between China and Thailand. 
Through close collaboration, both organizations have reached an agreement on rebuilding the ‘silk road’ of China-Thailand jewelry trade in the context of China’s ‘One Belt and One Road’ construction project. Complementing each other’s advantages, this confederation will build a bridge of exchange, communication and trade cooperation in the gems and jade market of both countries. 
Suttipong said: “The China-Thailand Gemstone Traders Association will be holding activities for members such as buyer missions and booth exchanges while facilitating trade between the two countries. Moreover, the CTGA will be collaborating with other associations in countries like Russia and Cambodia to increase trade in the region.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 
 

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First Element embroiled in Zim ‘dodgy’ diamond auctions

16 May

First Element, a Belgian firm that was contracted to clean and sort Marange diamonds, allegedly picked buyers for local auctions in a dodgy scheme fashioned to facilitate collusion, according to news reports. 
Mining News reports that Zimbabwe may have lost “substantial potential revenue” as result of the alleged collusion. 
A Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy said in a report that First Element was handpicked by the Mines Secretary Godfrey Gudyanga without proper due diligence to ascertain its capability and credibility. 
However, operational deficiencies were noted by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and highlighted “to the executive”, but MMCZ management was threatened for interfering with First Element. 
The MMCZ lost about $4 million through illicit financial flows to an unknown recipient outside Zimbabwe, the committee on mines and energy noted, according to evidence from former acting general manager, Richard Chingodza. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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Diamond trade acquires stability - AWDC Annual Report 2016

16 May

As volatility heightened on global markets in general and particularly ravaged the diamond industry in 2015, the Antwerp diamond trade shifted toward stability in 2016, AWDC Annual Report said. 
After difficult 2015 the Antwerp diamond industry recorded a 5% increase in trade in 2016. A total of 202 million carats of rough and polished diamonds, with an overall value of 48 billion USD, were traded in Antwerp in 2016. 
Imports as well as exports of polished diamonds in 2016 declined with respect to 2015. A total of 11.4 million carats of polished diamonds valued at 23.2 billion USD were imported to and exported from the Antwerp diamond market. Six million carats of polished diamonds with a value of 11.4 billion USD were imported to Antwerp. This represents a decline of 7% in volume and 10% in value. On the export side, declines of 9% in volume and 10% in value as compared to 2015. Overall, 5.4 million carats of polished diamonds with a value of 11.8 billion USD were exported from Antwerp. 
The rough diamond trade is performing very well. While Antwerp’s polished trade followed the downward market trend as compared to the year before, the rough trade corrected this modest slide by gaining an equivalent amount of ground. A total of 190.8 million carats of rough diamonds with a value of 24.8 billion USD were imported to and exported from the Antwerp diamond market. 
Imports as well as exports of rough diamond increased in comparison to 2015. Rough diamond imports to Antwerp totaled 90 million carats valued at 12.1 billion USD, while rough diamond exports totaled 100.8 million carats valued at 12.7 billion USD. This represents a 7% increase in volume and a 9% increase in the value of rough imports. Exports of rough diamonds increased 5% in volume and 11% in value. 
Thus, says the report, AWDC is reinforcing its leading position as rough trading hub by facilitating the presence of tender houses and influx of rough diamonds from smaller producers and junior miners. AWDC also maintains its existing relationships with leading producers such as Russia’s ALROSA. Commercial production started recently at the Renard Mine and Gahcho Kué Mine in Canada, as well as the Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho, and 100% of the sales of these goods will take place in Antwerp. AWDC expects these productions to deliver an additional 7 million carats onto the market in 2017. 
2016 was a good year, and the future is looking promising, AWDC Annual Report 2016 concludes. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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ALROSA president visits Angola

16 May

The president of ALROSA Sergey Ivanov paid a working visit to the Republic of Angola.
Sergey Ivanov inspected the production facilities of the company and held a number of working meetings with Angolan partners to discuss the prospects for the development of ALROSA investment projects in the country. 
During the meeting with Carlos Sumbula, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Diamond Mining Company of the Republic of Angola Endiama, Sergey Ivanov noted the positive financial results of the Katoka Mining Company. "Last year, the project reached revenues of almost $600 million and became completely self-sufficient. We are ready to take an active part in its further development and expect to increase financial efficiency," - Ivanov said. 
The parties also agreed to continue working on the Kimang exploration enterprise. The firm plans to conduct geological studies to discover new kimberlite deposits 
"In accordance with the plan, we will be launching projects to develop these deposits in early 2019," Ivanov added. 
The president of ALROSA held a working meeting with Manuel Vicente, the Vice-President of the Republic of Angola. "ALROSA will continue to implement its projects in Angola. At present, we are conducting research on Luaxe, the largest diamond deposit in the country, and will determine the main stages of the further development of this project," – Ivanov concluded. 

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Jewelry Bolsters J.C. Penney, Macy’s

18 May

J.C. Penney said jewelry was one of its stronger areas for sales in the first fiscal quarter, even as the retailer’s overall revenue fell, Rapaport reported. 
While the company did not release figures for the division, it said comparable sales for fine jewelry were positive. 
“Our fine-jewelry performance is a classic example of great alignment between the merchants and the stores,” chairman and CEO Marvin Ellison said in an earnings call last week. “The merchants have done an outstanding job of selecting inspiring products at a value, and the store team delivered outstanding product knowledge training and customer engagement.” 
Group net sales declined 3.7% to $2.71 billion in the three months that ended April 29, the store chain said. 
Meanwhile, Macy’s reported a 7.5% drop in sales to $5.34 billion for the quarter. Management was “encouraged” by pilot programs in fine jewelry, the department-store group said last week. However, fashion jewelry and watches had a weaker performance during the period. 

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WPIC Report: Platinum supply to fall 2% YoY in 2017

18 May

The World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) has published its latest Platinum Quarterly which incorporates analysis of platinum supply and demand during the first quarter of 2017, indicating that the time total mine supply hit 1,330 koz, down 6.3% year-on-year and the lowest since Q3 2014. 
Global platinum jewellery demand for the quarter increased 3% year-on-year, buoyed by increased Chinese retail sales during the quarter. However, global jewellery demand for 2017 is forecast to slip 1% from 2016, with anticipated declines in China and Japan outweighing gains in India and other regions. 
The report shows that overall platinum supply is projected to fall by 2% year-on-year to 7,330 koz in 2017, with both primary and secondary supply expected to decline. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Canadian Pension Group Mulls Bid for Dominion

18 May

Dominion Diamond Corporation’s share price gained more than 3% last week following reports that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) was considering making a bid for the miner, Rapaport reported. 
CPPIB is studying Dominion’s books and is one of more than five parties that have signed agreements with Dominion to access its confidential data, Reuters reported Thursday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the process. 
The pension group is unlikely to make an offer on its own, and may instead give financial backing to another company with expertise operating mines, the sources said in the report. Dominion — which owns the Ekati mine and 40% of the Diavik mine — did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Rapaport News. CPPIB declined to comment. 
CPPIB, headquartered in Toronto, also reviewed Dominion’s books in 2015, when the miner was working with Rothschild & Co., according to the same sources. Dominion had brought in the investment bank to work on efforts to help increase shareholder value, including exploring a potential sale. 
This past March, Dominion dismissed an informal $1.1 billion takeover proposal from the Washington Companies. At the time, Reuters also reported that Stornoway Diamond Corporation, owner of the Renard mine in Quebec, had held merger talks with Dominion. 

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Botswana mulls special economic zone to house diamond trading hub – report

18 May

Botswana is set to introduce a special economic zone near the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport outside Gaborone, where the relocated Diamond Trading Company would be the “anchor enterprise”, according to news reports. 
Royal HaskoningDHV would be responsible for the masterplan review in a joint venture with the company’s local branch. 
Namibia Economist reports that the special economic zone authority would provide an “investor-friendly” business environment for both domestic and foreign investors. 
Eight strategic areas across Botswana had been identified for promoting the development of a variety of industries that would lead to the diversification of the economy through public sector, private sector and public-private partnerships. 
The economic zone would house the country’s diamond trading hub, which was established to coordinate economic activity in the diamond sector, administering beneficiation in rough and polished diamond trading, the cutting and polishing industry, jewellery manufacturing, and secondary trading of rough and polished diamonds. 
“The special economic zone at the airport is an exciting six-month project that is planned to be completed by the end of August 2017 and fits in well with our goal to help develop business and job opportunities on our continent,” said Royal HaskoningDHV director strategic business development for transport and planning in Africa, Manfred Uken. 
“It also complements the work we are already carrying out at the Aerotropolis for King Shaka International Airport in Durban, South Africa.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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India's polished exports for April down by 1.7%; rough imports down by 7.3%

18 May

Exports of cut & polished diamonds at $ 1.75 bn for the month of April 2017 showed a decline of 1.76% over exports of $ 1.78 bn in the same month of the year 2016. 
Gross imports of rough diamonds for April 2017 amounted to $ 1.74 bn as compared to gross rough diamond imports worth $ 1.88 bn in April 2016 – a decline of 7.38%. In volume terms, gross import of rough diamonds of 16.92 mn carats during April 2017 marked a rise of 9.86% compared with gross imports of 15.41 mn carats in the same month of the previous year, according to the data released recently by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India. 
Total exports for all gems and jewellery products for April 2017 were valued at $ 3.73 bn marking an increase of 15.17% over exports of $ 3.24 bn achieved in the same period of the previous year.Total imports for the gems & jewellery sector stood at $ 3.16 bn in month of April up 6.99% from imports worth $ 2.95 bn in April 2016. 
Gold jewellery exports amounted to $ 497.35 mn marking a decline of 32.36% over $ 735.31 mn in April 2016 ; while exports of gold medallions & coins rose 82.90% to $ 553.59 mn for April 2017 from $ 302.67 mn for April 2016. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 
 

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De Beers fourth sales cycle rakes in $520m, lowest so far in the year

18 May

De Beers has earned $520 million from the fourth rough diamonds sales cycle compared with $636 million accrued, a year earlier. 
Although the figure was provisional, the latest sales cycle was weaker compared with $586 million recorded during the third sales cycle for the year. 
This makes it the lowest rough diamond sales recorded so far in the year by De Beers. 
“We are continuing to see steady demand for rough diamonds, despite the industry entering a typically quieter season,” said De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver. 
“Sentiment remains positive as we head towards the important Las Vegas trade show in early June.” 
De Beers’ competitor, Alrosa of Russia generated $310.2 million from rough diamond sales in April, while its polished diamond sales were valued $7.6 million. 
De Beers opened the year with strength as it raked in $729 million during the first sales cycle for the year with the group having recorded “good” demand across the majority of its assortment. 
It registered a higher than usual volume of sales in the first quarter following a “strong” rebound in demand levels for lower value stones during the first sales cycle of 2017. 
Group senior manager, media and commercial communications, David Johnson told Rough & Polished recently that the unexpected introduction of demonetisation in India late last year had resulted in weak demand, albeit temporary, for smaller, lower quality rough diamonds from the Asian country’s cutting and polishing industry. 
De Beers had to temporarily put in place some additional flexibility for Sightholders purchasing a range of lower value rough diamonds following the introduction of the Indian demonetisation programme, as they recognised the challenges some customers would face as they adjusted to the new monetary environment. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Botswana dismisses WB calls to open up on mega diamond mining deals

19 May

Botswana has defended its silence on “mega” diamond mining deals saying that “no country signs transparent agreements”. 
Reuters recently quoted World Bank Group consultant Nils Handler as saying that government’s decision to keep the negotiation process around contracts for diamond mining and large integrated projects confidential was a cause for concern. 
He said a more open process, including published contracts, would assist Botswana in becoming a more transparent and accountable jurisdiction. 
However, Botswana’s minerals and water affairs minister Sadique Kebonang dismissed World Bank’s concerns saying that commercial agreements were confidential by nature because of the sensitive of information they carry. 
“We have various representatives from the Ministry, parastatal and private sectors Government and private attorneys and mining experts who are part of government’s negotiating team,” he was quoted as saying by Mmegi newspaper. 
“The participation of such parties in the negotiation process renders the negotiation process transparent.” 
He also said, “even the World Bank, when they give us loans some details of the loan agreement are kept secret”. 
Kebonang said details of the mega mining deals would be made public once agreements had been sealed. 
Botswana, according to Reuters, earns 89 percent of its foreign exchange income and 30 percent of national revenues from mining, mainly diamonds. 
It had numerous large-scale mining, sales and marketing contracts with De Beers, a unit of Anglo American. 
De Beers and Botswana jointly own Debswana and DTC Botswana. 
Botswana also owns a 15 percent stake in De Beers. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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De Beers says it will auction polished diamonds manufactured from its own rough

19 May

De Beers’ Auction Sales said it will pilot the sale of its own polished diamonds using auctions for the first time. It said in a statement that the sale would comprise a wide range of polished stones manufactured directly from its rough diamonds.
De Beers occasionally used a third party contractor to cut and polish some of its rough diamonds to better understand to what extent they are delivering customers’ polished outcome requirements.
“We have a limited amount of a wide range of polished diamonds, so it makes commercial sense for us to trial this auction on our existing platform,” said De Beers’ Auction Sales Executive Vice President Neil Ventura.
“We are interested in testing the level of demand from polished buyers for diamonds that have a clear and attractive source of origin, and that offer the assurance of product integrity that dual certification provides. 
He said a successful auction would also generate an additional polished price reference in US dollars per carat.
“In addition, this will complement our existing rough auctions and enable buyers to fill supply and inventory gaps if they were unable to secure supply at our spot and forward auctions for rough diamonds,” said Ventura.
Meanwhile, the group said polished diamonds were available following contract manufacturing of De Beers Auction Sales rough diamond products to assess what range of polished diamonds they would produce. 
The polished diamonds would also be accompanied by both International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR) and Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grading reports.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Tsodilo says completion of BK16 drilling programme in the offing

19 May

Tsodilo Resources said a pilot hole drill programme at its BK16 kimberlite project in Botswana will be completed end of this month-end. 
Fourteen holes totaling approximately 3,100 meters had been planned with 11 completed to date. 
This was expected to provide just under 2 000 t of kimberlite for processing. 
The pilot hole pattern was designed to achieve an approximate 50-metre grid hole spacing for the first phase large diameter drilling (LDD) sampling. 
Tsodilo said the primary objectives of the pilot holes were to improve on and upgrade the knowledge of the internal geology of the kimberlite and optimise the kimberlite intersected by the LDD programme. 
“Geotechnical studies of the cores will allow for the selection of the appropriate LDD drill bits based on rock hardness and the pilot hole cores will also provide a reference once the diamond recovery results have been obtained from the LDD programme,” it said. 
The BK16 kimberlite project is located within the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF). 
Of the 83 known kimberlite bodies in the OKF, nine had been or are currently being mined. These included Debswana’s Orapa and Lucara’s Karowe. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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WGC & Indian Government to create Spot Exchange for gold

20 May

The World Gold Council is working with the Indian government on plans to create a local physical spot-gold exchange that may start up as soon as next year. P.R. Somasundaram, managing director for the World Gold Council in India said, “We are working on a gold exchange for India.The finance ministry has formed a gold committee. And the committee has taken this as one of the things to do.” 
The plans still face many hurdles including that the state-level rather than central government has responsibility for gold-related matters in India, he said. Increased infrastructure such as gold vaults and reliable receipts for metal are also needed.The new exchange would bring more order and structure to the market, "which is what the government would love,” Somasundaram said. “It is not going to be a gold exchange like you see here, with bullion banks backing liquidity, it’s going to be very different." 
The price of gold is rising for a second year, spurring interest from investors, amid growing demand from China and a weaker U.S. Dollar. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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RJC held its 2017 AGM in Germany and elects its new Vice-Chair

20 May

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the global standards-setting and certification organisation for the entire jewellery supply chain, held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Pforzheim, Germany. During the meeting the RJC membership elected Mr Didier Theraulaz (Piaget) as its new Vice-chairman of the Board and re- elected Ms. Feriel Zerouki (De Beers Group) as Honorary Treasurer. 
RJC members also elected to the Board Peter Karakchiev (Public Joint Stock Company ALROSA), Stephen Lussier (De Beers Group), Alok Kumbhat (Jewelex India Pvt Ltd, Diamond division), Philipp Reisert (C. Hafner GmbH + Co. KG), Larry Drummond (Metalor Technologies SA), Thomas Puzone (Vacheron Constantin), Mark Hanna (Richline Group, Inc.), Eric de Rocquigny (Van Cleef & Arpels), Boaz Lev (Gem Lab Services), Marijke Achten (HRD Antwerp) and Michaël Geelhand de Merxemn (Antwerp World Diamond Centre) representing their respective fora. 
Following the AGM, RJC hosted an open discussion with a selection of panelists from the jewellery pipeline. The panel discussion focused on the new EU Regulation on Conflict Minerals with panelists sharing insight into what the regulation and implementation of increased due diligence will mean to the RJC and its members. 
The RJC also launched its 2017 Annual Progress Report at the event. The Report echoes the RJC’s 2016 successes and accomplishments, further demonstrating it’s continuing achievements across membership growth, certification and standards development. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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TAGS facilitates 50,000 cts rough diamond tenders at DDE

22 May

The Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), a subsidiary of DMCC has announced the successful conclusion of the first of six tenders scheduled for 2017. The tender was held at the Almas Tower and was facilitated by the Dubai Diamond Exchange in a secure, transparent and regulated environment, which resulted in 50,000 carats worth of rough diamonds being sold, says a press release from DMCC. 
The DMCC’s collaboration with Trans Atlantic Gem Sales (TAGS) saw more than 130 buyers attended the 12-day event. The partnership will see TAGS organise six rough diamond tenders in Dubai in 2017. Commenting on the series of tenders, Gautam Sashittal, Chief Executive Officer of DMCC, said:“Dubai is one of the world’s top three diamond trading hubs and recorded a rough diamond imports rise of 16% to $6.3 billion in 2016 and DMCC has contributed significantly to that growth. The Dubai Diamond Exchange, a DMCC platform, provides industry participants with the infrastructure, and regulatory framework they require to grow, while leveraging Dubai’s unique geographic position between producing and consuming markets across East and West.” 
Through this sales platform, artisanal suppliers with smaller productions are able to market their goods alongside larger industrial miners. This tender featured diamonds from South Africa’s West Coast, which is renowned for its clarity and quality, says the press note. 
Reflecting on Dubai’s ability to connect the industry’s global supply chain, Mike Aggett, General Manager of TAGS, said: 
“Dubai is an important trading hub for TAGS, featuring not only a robust customer base but also a unique ability to access and connect markets across the globe. By collaborating with the Dubai Diamond Exchange, miners and producers of all sizes and scales have an exceptional opportunity to enter the global supply chain through Dubai, and reach a wider market.” 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 
 

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US Polished Imports Slip in March

22 May

Polished diamond imports to the US fell 3% to $1.99 billion in March, according to government data. 
By volume, polished imports slid 10% to 970,953 carats, while the average price of imports rose 8% to $2,045 per carat. Israel’s exports to the US jumped 13% to $606.4 million, with India’s shipments to the world’s largest diamond-consumer market slipping 3% to $673.8 million. Belgium’s contribution to US polished intake dropped 1% to $281.5 million. 
US polished exports, meanwhile, grew 7% to $1.58 billion, leaving net polished imports 28% lower at $402 million. 
Rough exports increased 81% to $47 million, while rough imports fell 22% to $35 million, meaning net rough imports stood at negative $12 million versus positive $19 million a year earlier. The US net diamond account — its total rough and polished imports minus total exports — contracted 33% to $389 million. 
In the first three months of the year, polished imports fell 11% to $2.45 billion, with polished exports declining 3% to $4.58 billion. 

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Stornoway produces 1M carats of diamonds at Renard

22 May

Stornoway Diamond Corporation announced it has produced one million carats of diamonds at the Renard Diamond Mine in Quebec, Canada. 
The Renard project is Quebec’s first producing diamond mine which began commercial production on January 1, 2017. 
Average annual diamond production is forecast at 1.8 million carats per annum over the first 10 years of mining. 
Matt Manson, Stornoway's President and CEO, commented: “Today’s news represents another important milestone in our production ramp-up at Renard. The one million carat threshold comes, coincidentally, at the same time that the first polished diamonds from the mine have become available for sale in Montreal. I’d like to acknowledge the team of dedicated Stornoway employees and contractors, as well as our community partners, who have worked to make this achievement possible.” 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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North Arrow gets $4M financing from private placement

23 May

North Arrow Minerals announced that it has closed the non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $4 million. 
The company has issued 20,000,000 units at a price of C$0.25 per unit which consists of one common share in the capital of the company and one common share purchase warrant. 
As part of the private placement, Electrum Strategic Opportunities Fund L.P. and Ross Beaty have each made an investment of $2,000,000, together $4,000,000, which will entitle them to 19.01% of North Arrow's outstanding shares each. 
The net proceeds of the private placement will be used for general working capital and to fund the continued evaluation of North Arrow's Canadian diamond exploration properties, including exploration programs at the Naujaat and Mel Diamond Projects, Nunavut, which are expected to commence in June. 
Ken Armstrong, North Arrow's President & CEO, said that the private placement "will allow North Arrow to complete a summer 2017 drilling and sampling program of the Q1-4 kimberlite at our 100% owned Naujaat Diamond Project, Nunavut." 
He continues: "The program is designed to improve our understanding of the size and grade potential of Q1-4 as well as the size distribution and value characteristics of its unique diamond population." 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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IDE opens internet marketing wing

23 May

The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has opened a new wing dedicated to promoting internet marketing among its members, as per a press note from IDE. 
The new internet marketing facility is manned by staff to guide diamantaires in the procedure to join e-commerce platforms and upload their goods. Computers and 360 degree cameras are installed for photographing and uploading diamonds. 
Over the past year the Israeli Diamond Industry has introduced several electronic commerce initiatives, signaling a new direction for the industry.This year IDE together with the Israel Diamond Institute launched GET-DIAMONDS. This platform offers international and local buyers free access to all Israeli diamonds via an advanced B2B trading platform, free of charge, user friendly, and accessible any time and from anywhere. 
Yoram Dvash, President of the Israel Diamond Exchange, said, "We are making great efforts to provide new marketing channels to our members, and to encourage them to use the internet as a selling tool. I believe that this will give our industry a relative advantage. We need to look ahead, and this is the direction of the future." 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Dominion Diamond announced maiden resource at Leslie Pipe at Ekati

23 May

Dominion Diamond Corporation announced a maiden resource at the Leslie kimberlite pipe at the Ekati Diamond mine. 
According to the Dominion’s press-release, maiden inferred mineral resource of 51 million tonnes and 16 million carats at the Leslie pipe, the highest priority amongst pipes at the Ekati mine that have been bulk sampled, but not yet included in the mine plan. 
Dominion has modelled the approximate rough diamond price for the Leslie pipe to be $85 per carat, with a high case estimate of $120 per carat. 
The Leslie pipe has a circular surface area of approximately seven hectares. A sample of 224 carats has been recovered from approximately 680 tonnes of kimberlite for an average grade of 0.3 carats per tonne. 
"The Leslie pipe is our highest-priority pipe amongst kimberlites that have been bulk sampled, as demonstrated by the announcement of its maiden resource," said Jim Gowans, Chairman of the Board. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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Sotheby’s sells world’s most expensive earrings for $57M

23 May

Sotheby’s set a new auction record for a pair of colored-diamond earrings which fetched $57.4 million. 
The auction house's spring sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva was led by the ‘Apollo and Artemis Diamonds’, which have now become the most valuable earrings composed of fancy vivid blue and fancy intense pink diamond. 
Graded Fancy Vivid Blue by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and weighing an impressive 14.54 carats, the ‘Apollo Blue’ is the largest Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever to be offered at auction. It has been cut and polished into a beautiful unmodified pear-shape which flatters its exquisite and truly outstanding colour. The GIA has also determined that the ‘Apollo Blue’ is a Type IIb diamond – a group which contains less than one half of one per cent of all diamonds. It fetched $42.1 million, or $2.9 million per carat. 
The ‘Artemis Pink’ weighing 16 carats has been cut into a pear shape, matching the Apollo Blue. The GIA has declared the ‘Artemis Pink’ to be a ‘Type IIa’ diamond. It attracted a winning bid of $15.3 million, or $958,636 per carat. 
While Sotheby’s auctioned the diamonds separately, the same anonymous bidder snapped up both of them. 
“The results from today’s sale — which saw more than 90% of lots sold and three new world auction records — yet again underline the strong demand for top-quality diamonds, gemstones and jewels,” said David Bennett, Sotheby’s worldwide chair of international jewelry. “I am delighted that the stones will remain together as earrings.” 
The Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction generated a revenue of $151.5 million. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Christie’s Sells 92ct. Heart Pendant for $15M

24 May

The largest heart-shaped, D-flawless diamond ever offered at auction fetched $15 million at Christie’s in Geneva on Wednesday, the company reported. 
The 92.15-carat diamond, which was mounted in a necklace, achieved $162,611 per carat, falling within its pre-sale estimate of $14.1 million to $20.2 million. The piece, dubbed “La Légende,” was a creation of Boehmer et Bassenge. 
Other sales at the auction included a ring set with diamonds and an oval-cut, 15.03-carat ruby, which garnered $12.9 million. Separately, a cushion-shaped, 7.97-carat, fancy intense blue, VS1-clarity diamond went for $12.7 million, or $1.6 million per carat. 
The Magnificent Jewels auction recorded total proceeds of $95 million (CHF 93.1 million) including buyer’s premiums. It came a day after rival Sotheby’s sold $151.5 million of jewelry at its Geneva event, headlined by a pair of earrings that fetched a record $57.4 million, or $2.9 million per carat. 

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Alrosa foreign clients who invest in diamond cutting in Russia should get preferences on rough diamonds - Trutnev

24 May

(Interfax) - Foreign cut diamond producers who are clients of Alrosa and open cutting facilities in Russia should get preferences in purchases of rough diamonds from the Russian diamond miner, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev, whose brief includes Alrosa, said. 
This issue was discussed with Alrosa's new president Sergei Ivanov, who "understands that if companies will come to Russia preferential conditions need to be created for them for acquisition of stones," Trutnev, who is also the presidential envoy to Russia's Far East, told reporters. 
"What will this lead to in Alrosa's sales policy? To some changes. This will not happen instantly," Trutnev said. 
Alrosa opened the Eurasian Diamond Center (EDC) in Vladivostok, which was granted free port status, in September 2016 as part of its policy of strengthening its presence on markets in the Asia-Pacific region and increasing diamond cutting in Russia. 
The first resident of the EDC was India's KGK Group, which according to the Far East Development Corporation is prepared to invest about 500 million rubles in a cutting factory in Primorye. The factory, with capacity of at least 15 million carats, is expected to be launched within four years. KGK, one of the biggest customers for Alrosa's rough diamonds, is a long-term Alrosa client directly and through two subsidiaries registered in Yakutia: DDK LLC and S.D. Diamonds LLC. 
KGK, according to market players, could have asked Alrosa for certain preferential conditions for acquisition of rough diamonds, although the provisions of the Alrosa Alliance, the association of long-term Alrosa clients, guarantees equal access for all its participants. Alrosa also held negotiations with other clients on the construction of cutting facilities in Primorye, but details were not reported. 
KGK has already shipped in equipment for the factory, Trutnev said. "There is complicated training of personnel there. At first there will be many of their workers, but they will train and change the proportion in our favor [Russian workers]," he said. 
In order to increase the profitability of cutting diamonds in Russia it is necessary to resolve the issue with value-added tax, he said. "There is a plan of measures. Certain things need to be changed in order for it to be lucrative to do this in Russia....When Alrosa sells stones within Russia to cutting enterprises, VAT arises. This is a big markup," Trutnev said. 
"We are seeking to have more of the rough diamonds that are mined in Yakutia turned into cut diamonds and jewelry within Russia, and better yet in the Far East," Trutnev said. 
Alrosa sells about 70% of its diamonds under long-term contracts, but the EDC is not an impediment to the current model, because in addition to long-term contracts there is also spot trading, Alrosa management said earlier. The EDC can hold showings of rough diamonds for both long-term clients and spot buyers, the company said. 
Alrosa plans to sell 2 million carats of product in all categories for $73 million at the EDC in 2017. This is about 5% of the sales target by volume, which is 39 million carats, and less than 2% of last year's revenue of $4.375 billion. Former Alrosa president Andrei Zharkov forecast at the end of 2016 that total sales through the EDC could exceed $100 million-$150 million. 
 

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ALROSA and Endiama sign agreement to develop Luaxe diamond field

24 May

ALROSA will develop the new Luaxe diamond deposit in Angola. 
During the visit of the Russian official delegation on May 23, 2017, the President of ALROSA Sergey Ivanov and the president of the Angola's national diamond-mining company Endiama Carlos Sumbula signed respective documents on the establishment of the international enterprise Luaxe. 
Companies signed three documents: a memorandum of understanding, the international investment contract on Luaxe, and a notarial record of the establishment of the enterprise. 
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev, who also took part in the visit, stressed that cooperation in diamond mining, and in particular between ALROSA and Endiama, is an important component of economic efforts between Russia and Angola. He also noted that the development of new projects, active geological study and the search for new deposits positively affect the development of Angola's economy and the partnership of the two countries. 
In 2013, the geological study at Luaxe resulted in the discovery of the Luele kimberlite pipe. 
ALROSA will participate in the project through its Katoka subsidiary, which will receive a 50.5% stake in the new firm. In addition, ALROSA will soon issue an offer to the Company's Supervisory Board for the direct purchase of another 8% of the Luaxe. 
Taking into account the size of the ore body and preliminary geological data, the testing of the Luele pipe is of considerable economic interest for the project participants. 

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Replica of Russia’s Great Imperial Crown Makes Debut in US

26 May

Kristall, Russia’s largest diamond manufacturer will display a replica of Russia's Great Imperial Crown while taking part in the JCK Las Vegas 2017 show. The show is to take place on 5-8 June at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. 
Within the frames of the show, Kristall and its Belgian subsidiary Smolensk Diamonds NV will offer to wholesale and retail buyers a wide assortment of polished “Smolensk Make” diamonds of various cuts, sizes, color and clarity grades, as well as exclusive polished diamonds. 
For the first time ever, the US specialists will be offered a unique opportunity to see an exceptional work of contemporary jewellery art – the Replica of the Great Imperial Crown of the Russian Empire.

The replica was created in honor of the 400th anniversary of the Romanovs’ Royal Dynasty, the 250th Anniversary of the coronation of Catherine II (Catherine the Great) and the semi-centenary of Kristall Production Corporation. 
The Replica of the Great Imperial Crown is made of white gold encrusted with more than 11,000 natural polished diamonds of ideal cut and highest quality characteristics. The wreath of the crown is decorated by a unique natural rubellite weighing almost 400 carats. It took 6 months of hard work of more than 60 master jewellers to make the replica. 
The replica of the principle regalia of the Russian Imperial House was skillfully created by master-cutters and jewellers from the ancient Russian city of Smolensk. Since that time, the jewelry piece has been on display in numerous cities of Russia, in Amsterdam, Tel-Aviv and Antwerp. Visitors will have a chance to see this piece of artistic skill at Booth B 53049, Diamond Plaza, Antwerp Pavilion.

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Gem Diamonds q-o-q sales up 13pc to $1,636/ct

26 May

Gem Diamonds sold 39, 950 carats from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho for $65.4 million at an average price of $1,636 per carat during the first quarter of the year up 13 percent from $1,444 per carat in the fourth quarter of 2016. 
It said an 8.65 carat pink diamond achieved $164 855 per carat, making it the sixth highest price per carat achieved by a Letšeng rough diamond while 11 diamonds were sold for more than $1 million generating revenue of $20.4 million. 
Meanwhile, Gem Diamonds recovered 25 479 carats during the first quarter at a grade of 1.53 cpht against an expected reserve grade of 1.61 cpht mainly due to the underperformance of the Main Pipe contact material, which resulted in a mine call factor of 95 percent. 
"Letšeng has recovered larger better quality diamonds during the period and it is encouraging that during April and May, there was a notable improvement in the size and quality of diamonds recovered at Letšeng with the US$ per carat achieved trending positively,” said company chief executive Clifford Elphick. 
“The market for Letšeng's high-quality diamonds has remained firm over the period and this is anticipated to continue into the second half of this year.“ 
Gem Diamonds said a 98.42 carat high quality D-colour Type II diamond recovered during the quarter would be sold in June. 
It had $29.2 million cash on hand at the end of the period. 
Gem Diamonds also said that the care and maintenance status of its Ghaghoo mine in Botswana was successfully achieved ahead of plan on 31 March 2017. 
It said no sale of Ghaghoo goods was recorded during the period and the remaining 13 000 carats from the mine would be sold during the second quarter. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Untapped Ekati pipe may hold 16M carats of diamonds

26 May

Dominion Diamond Corporation has discovered an estimated 16.3 million carats of diamonds in an undeveloped section of its Ekati mine in Canada, Rapaport reported. 
The miner recovered a parcel of 224 carats from about 680 tonnes of kimberlite at the Leslie pipe, its highest-priority area for exploration at the mine complex, it said last week. Dominion projected an average rough-diamond price of $85 per carat from the resource, which could potentially rise to $120 per carat. 
The pipe is also promising because it lies close to the rest of the Ekati mining infrastructure, the company added. So far, Dominion has not taken the Leslie pipe’s production potential into account when calculating the mine plan for Ekati. 
“Our renewed focus on exploration is generating strong results along the entire project pipeline, reflecting near-, mid- and longer-term potential,” said Dominion chairman Jim Gowans. 

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Firestone Diamonds offloads Botswana operations

26 May

Firestone Diamonds said it has entered into a conditional option agreement with Amulet Diamond for the potential disposal of its Botswana operations, which include the BK11 mine, for $5.1 million in cash. 
Amulet was a Canadian special purpose vehicle formed for disposal by a group of private investors led by Gareth Penny and Diacore Diamond, a multinational diamond company with diversified interests in the diamond industry. 
Amulet would acquire an option, effective from 1 June 2017 for a period of up to 14 months to take over Firestone's wholly owned subsidiary Firestone Botswana and its 90 percent interest in Monak Ventures, which hold Firestone's interests in Botswana. 
Firestone said Amulet was expected to pay $100 000 immediately with the balance to be placed in escrow no later than 10 days following the exercise of the option. 
Completion of the disposal was subject to the parties gaining approval from the Botswana Competition Authority and the parties obtaining Botswanan ministerial approval for the transfer of the controlling interest in Monak to Amulet. 
Meanwhile, Firestone said Amulet would fund the construction and operation of a bulk sample plant and the carrying out of a bulk sample programme at the BK 11 mine during the option period to further assess the deposit.  
“In addition, Amulet will, during the option period and, in the event it exercises the option, from the time it exercises the option up and until completion of the disposal, pay the ongoing cost of BK11's care and maintenance programme up to a maximum of $30,000 per month,” it said. 
“The company will also be entitled to retain 10 percent of the proceeds from diamonds sold from the bulk sampling programme (after royalties and agreed expenses) during this period.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Signet Jewelers sales down in first fiscal quarter

26 May

Signet Jewelers (NYSE:SIG), the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry, said its first quarter total sales were $1,403.4 million, down $175.5 million or 11.1% compared with the first quarter last year, while same store sales decreased 11.5% compared to one year ago. The number of transactions decreased across all divisions due to declining brick and mortar store traffic. Merchandise categories and collections were broadly lower in the first quarter, but e-commerce and Piercing Pagoda total sales increased versus the prior year. Diamond fashion jewelry such as bracelets, earrings, and necklaces performed well relative to the performance of the overall merchandise portfolio. E-commerce sales in the first quarter were $81.0 million, up $0.9 million or 1.1% compared to $80.1 million in the first quarter last year.
Gross margin was $491.2 million or 35.0% of sales, down 300 basis points year-on-year. The declines were driven principally by lower sales leading to deleverage on fixed costs partially offset by higher gross merchandise margins in Sterling and Zale divisions.
Mark Light, Chief Executive Officer of Signet Jewelers, said, “As anticipated, we had a very slow start to the year as continued headwinds in the overall retail environment were exacerbated by a slowdown in jewelry spending and company specific challenges.”
"We continue to take decisive action to adapt our business to the current challenging retail environment and to position our company for long-term growth. Importantly, during the quarter, we made significant improvements to our online platforms and continued to accelerate our digital marketing efforts which resulted in a measurable sequential improvement in our e-commerce performance. We also made important changes to our organizational structure and strengthened our team to drive our 2020 Strategic Vision and deliver operational efficiencies. Based on the progress we achieved to date on our Customer-First OmniChannel strategy and with a number of initiatives underway, we expect Fiscal 2018 results to be within our previously-announced guidance range,” Signet Jewelers’ CEO added.

Alex Shishlo, Editor in Chief of the European Bureau, Rough&Polished

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ALROSA revenue fell 17% in Q1 2017

26 May

ALROSA published its financial results on IFRS for the first quarter of 2017, and reported its revenue fell 17% year on year. 
ALROSA’s Q1 2017 revenue totaled RUB 84.8 bn, up 38% on the previous quarter and down 17% year on year. 
EBITDA totaled RUB 35.2 bn, with EBITDA margin totaled 42%. Net income totaled RUB 22.7 bn. 
Free cash flow totaled RUB 34.6 bn up 4.7 times as compared to the previous quarter and down 42% year on year. 
“In Q1 2017, we delivered better results compared to late 2016, due to the recovery of demand from Indian rough diamond consumers after a temporary decline caused by the monetary reform. The Company’s margins were affected by the rouble appreciation. But what I would like to emphasize here is the success of our cost control programme, which ensured a minimum increase in our production costs”, – said Sergey Ivanov, Chief Executive Officer of PJSC ALROSA. 

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De Beers’ Forevermark inscribes two millionth diamond from Namibia

30 May

De Beers’ Forevermark diamond brand said it has inscribed its two millionth diamond, a 3.48 carat round brilliant that was mined, cut and polished in Namibia. 
The stone bears the unique inscription of ‘2,000,000’, it said. 
It would be set in a piece of jewellery at the Forevermark Design and Innovation Centre in Milan, Italy. 
“The two millionth inscription reflects the continued growth of the Forevermark brand, which has gone from strength-to-strength since launching nine years ago,” said Forevermark chief executive Stephen Lussier. 
“This demand is being driven by consumers who want certainty that their diamonds not only possess the highest standards of beauty, but also come with the guarantee of being responsibly sourced.” 
De Beers said the design would be worked on by the 2015 runner-up of its Light Awards, Louise Kriek, from South Africa, under the Forevermark design team, as part of a three-month internship at Forevermark in Milan. 
The diamond, it said, would eventually become part of Forevermark’s exclusive red carpet collection, to be worn by celebrities at major events and award ceremonies around the world. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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India's NMDC sells diamonds worth $ 16.54 mn via e-auction

30 May

India’s premier public sector miner National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) has auctioned rough diamonds worth over $16.54 mn via e-auction, beating a slowdown in India’s gems and jewellery sector, says a report in Ultra News.
It is “a significant development amidst the global slowdown in diamond industry,” said mjunction, an e-auction company that also helped with India’s spectrum sales. “The e-auction process has successfully overcome the challenges in the gem and jewellery sector.” 
“The online process ensured complete transparency, safety from unfair practices and efficient time management,” said mjunction CEO Vinaya Varma. 
mjunction reached out to a large number of buyers and undertook several measures to make the e-auction process successful.The widening of the bidder base was done with the help of social media marketing. Two offices were setup, one at the company’s diamond mining project site and another one at Mumbai. The offices were established for a better tripartite co-ordination between the NMDC , mjunction and the buyers. A robust auction platform was created by providing customer centric facilities to bidders, the company said. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 
 

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Singer Rihanna graces the cover of World Diamond Magazine

30 May

The recent Spring issue of the World Diamond Magazine (WDMagazine) with Rihanna gracing the cover describes how jewellery industry specialist Ginnina D'Orazio decks out Hollywood actresses and music industry stars in diamond jewellery at prestigious 'red carpet' events, says a press note from WDM. 
"The release of issue 10 comes just days before the start of the Las Vegas shows," says Ya'akov Almor, Editor-in Chief and communication director of the World Diamond Mark (WDM). 
"The WDM team will have copies available for participants in the WDM's Keynote Talk at JCK LUXURY, on June 4th at Tradewinds C/D, Pool Level of Mandalay Bay where we will launch Part of You™, the WDM's global diamond retailer promotion campaign and the new B2C website www.passion.diamonds.&quot
The campaign, released under the slogan Part of You™, aims to enthuse consumers for diamonds, by engaging them with stories about diamonds and diamond jewellery, and directing them to retailers who have joined the WDM Authorised Diamond Dealer programme. 
The WDMagazine is a retail oriented magazine that is produced by the World Diamond Mark and the Turkish Jewellery Exporters Association and supported by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 
 

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WGC: Indian G&J sector can take 12-18 months to stabilise after GST implementation

30 May

The proposed GST by the Indian government will roll-out from July 1 and will usher in a more transparent and uniform tax structure. But the gold industry is likely to take an immediate hit and will take at least 12-18 months to recover says World Gold Council. 
A majority of the industry's trade falls under the unorganised sector with the organised segment accounting for only 30 per cent of the total gold trade. Consequently, experts believe that the industry might need some extra time to make the transition into the new GST regime. 
"Behavioural change is necessary in both the consumer and traders. Moreover, the inherent complexity of the supply chain needs to be factored in during any such major transition. It will also depend on the final tax impact and regulations," said Somasundaram PR, managing director of India at the WGC. 
Despite having apprehensions about the disruptions in trade due to the new tax regime, Somasundaram said that GST will be "extremely good for the industry" as it would cut down on illegal trade of gold by ushering in a more transparent system. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Diamond Dealers Club of New York to relocate in June

30 May

The Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) of New York has purchased its new headquarters at the International Gem Tower (IGT) in Manhattan. 
DDC, the largest and oldest diamond trade organization in the United States, will relocate its offices this June. 
"As the anchor of New York’s Diamond District, DDC members will have the opportunity to conduct their business out of a beautifully designed open trading space with state-of-the-art technical facilities, a relaxing cafeteria and break area and gorgeous views from floor-to-ceiling windows," the DDC said in a statement. 
“The International Gem Tower is critical to the future success and stability of the diamond industry on 47th Street in New York," said DDC President, Reuven Kaufman. "I believe that this new facility and trading floor will be an incredible benefit to our members. 
The IGT was developed specifically for the global diamond, gem and jewelry industry. In addition to a cutting-edge security system, which includes iris recognition scanners at the lobby turnstiles, owners will also benefit from on-site underground parking and a private health and fitness center. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Tsodilo gets Orapa kimberlite field exploration licence

30 May

Tsodilo Resources said its Botswana subsidiary, Bosoto, has been granted prospecting license PL217/2016 in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana. 
It said the license, which was granted on May 23, had an initial effective date of January 1, expiring December 31, 2019. 
The license area covered 580 km2 and lies south of the Orapa and Damtshaa mines; west of the Letlhakane mine and about 20 km from the company's diamondiferous BK16 kimberlite pipe. 
“In addition to the kimberlite exploration, the company would focus on the alluvial potential of this ground as much of it occurs downstream of the diamond mines at AK06 and BK11,” it said. 
“…the company believes that although denudation of the area has been limited, erosion has removed sufficient material from of the top of the kimberlites to release enough diamonds to form alluvial diamond placers close to the pipes.” 
Of the 83 known kimberlite bodies in the OKF, 11 had been or are currently being mined, said Tsodilo. 
The OKF area also produced 8.85 million carats last year. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Alrosa could use portion of profit to support diamond cutting in Russia, slightly reduce dividends - Trutnev

1 Jun

(Interfax) - One measure to support diamond cutting in Russia could be to allocate a portion of Alrosa's net profit toward the sector, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far East, Yury Trutnev, told Interfax in an interview.

In order to boost rough diamond cutting in Russia, Alrosa opened the Eurasian Diamond Center (EDC) in Vladivostok in 2016 which reduced the time needed to ship products by two to three days. India's KGK Group expressed its intention to create diamond-cutting capacity in the Far East and said it was prepared to invest around 500 million rubles in a cutting factory in Primorye with a capacity of at least 15 million carats, according to statements by the Far East Development Cooperation.

"At first we need to create an example of a competitive diamond-cutting industry in Russia at the EDC. We are convinced we can do this. Then we will look at what other mechanisms need to get going in order to create additional jobs in the sector in Russia. If we feel that the process is moving forward, but we need certain measures of state support, then we are ready to look at various proposals. It's possible, as an example, to slightly decrease dividends from Alrosa, but use a portion of the company's profit to support diamond cutting enterprises," he said.

Namibian shelf

Alrosa is interested in mining diamonds off the Namibian shelf, Trutnev, was in Namibia on a working trip at the end of May, told Interfax.

Responding to a question on the possibility of working on offshore mines, he said: "The company is interested in this. It is an economic question. I believe we don't need to have management interfere in this kind of issues. We need to calculate how much the ship costs, what the content of the diamonds is in the quarry and their possible value and the payback period on the project. A picture will form after this about how attractive the project is."

"There is only one problem. The content [on the sections of the shelf] varies considerably, almost by 100-fold in some sections. Therefore an economic analysis will be quite a rough approximate," Trutnev said.

At the same time Trutnev said that Alrosa would approach such projects carefully because it would require the acquisition of new equipment and a new form of production. "They will think about it. At the moment no decisions have been made yet," he said.

Alrosa also received a proposal to cooperate with Namibia in selling diamonds, he said. To do this, the company doesn't necessarily need to receive a license and develop mines, he said. "A proposal arose to work together in terms of sales. We left De Beers over 10 years ago and Namibia right now is step by step leaving De Beers. Why not consider a joint initiative in sales? This would allow us to save funds and work more effectively," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

The main diamond producer in Namibia is currently Namdeb which is owned by De Beers and the government of Namibia on a parity basis. Last year Namdeb produced 1.57 million carats of diamonds, reducing production by 11%. At the same time, the company's subsidiary Debmarine boosted operations on the Namibian shelf last year.

Alrosa's operations in Africa are currently limited to Angola where the Russian diamond miner owns 33% of the Catoca mine, the fourth largest in the world in terms of production. At the end of May an agreement between Alrosa and Angola's Endiama was signed on the creation of an enterprise to cut rough diamonds at the Luaxe mine. In addition, Alrosa and Botswana Diamonds are involved in geological surveying for diamond mines in Botswana, a region where De Beers is also active. The country is a leader in terms of the value of its mined rough diamonds.

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GIA to unveil new Digital Diamond Story service at JCK

1 Jun

The GIA plans to display its new M2M TM Digital Diamond Story service for natural diamonds. It will also offer a wide range of other services at the JCK Show. 
The M2M TM Digital Diamond Story service tells the digital story of a diamond. The GIA will also introduce its new easy-to-operate instrument to identify mounted and loose natural diamonds, colored stone services at the show, displays of synthetic diamonds and others. 
GIA's Executive Vice President and Chief Laboratory and Research Officer Tom Moses and GIA research scientist Dr. Evan Smith, lead author of a recent Science magazine cover story on diamond geology, will discuss the latest GIA synthetic diamond research and describe GIA’s new detection device for mounted and loose natural diamonds. 
The GIA added that, as usual, representatives at its booth will be available to discuss education offerings and laboratory services for companies and professionals in the gem and jewelry industry; share information about GIA’s Retailer Support Program’s educational materials. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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Diamcor recovers 5.36 ct gem quality green diamond

1 Jun

Diamcor Mining has recovered a 5.36 carat green gem quality octahedron rough diamond from the initial processing of material in the +1.0mm to -45.0mm size fractions currently underway at its Krone-Endora at Venetia Project in South Africa.  
It said the rough diamond had been shipped to Antwerp along with other rough diamonds recovered from the ongoing efforts and processing at the project.

 Photo courtesy of Diamcor Mining

“The significance of this rough green diamond is currently uncertain, however given the rarity and potential high value of green diamonds, an analysis of this diamond will be performed over the coming weeks to aid the company in determining the best course of action to take with respect to this diamond,” said Diamcor.  
“In certain instances, radiation may cause the outer surface of rough diamonds to present with a green colour, as was thought to be the case with two very small, lower quality rough diamonds previously recovered from testing and commissioning at the Project.” 
It said that although an initial analysis may provide some insight into the green rough diamond, it was “probable that the cutting and polishing of this rough diamond, at the company’s discretion will be required to determine if the rough diamond retains its green colour throughout or if the green colouration is limited to the outer surfaces only”. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Kennady Diamonds recovers 737 carats of diamonds during bulk sampling at Faraday 2 kimberlite

1 Jun

Kennady Diamonds has announced that it has recovered 737.6 carats of diamonds during bulk sampling at the Faraday 2 kimberlite pipe in Canada. 
A total of 737.6 carats of diamonds (+0.85mm) were recovered from 262.6 tonnes for a sample grade of 2.81 carats per tonne, with 45 diamonds weighing one carat or greater and 12 of which are described as white in color. 
The largest stones include a 4.72 carat white/colorless diamond with minor inclusions; a 4.28 carat off-white transparent stone with noticeable inclusions; and a 3.45 carat brown transparent diamond with noticeable inclusions. 
“We are delighted with this excellent result from Faraday 2, as it confirms the high diamond grade suggested by the 21 tonne mini-bulk sample completed in 2016. Moreover, even with the limitation of the small parcel size, the size distribution and quality characteristics of the Faraday 2 diamonds are better than the diamonds recovered from Kelvin to date," – said Dr. Rory Moore, president and CEO of Kennady. “The Faraday 2 diamond parcel is notably higher in white diamonds compared to Kelvin, with the additional presence of fancy yellow stones extending into the carater size range." 
After all the results of bulk sampling are in, WWW International Diamond Consultants in Antwerp, Belgium will provide an independent valuation of the Faraday diamonds together with revenue models. This work is expected to take place in July through early August. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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De Beers sues SA minerals minister

1 Jun

De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) has reportedly taken the South African minerals minister Mosebenzi Zwane to court challenging his decision not to grant it an exemption to export diamonds to neighbouring Botswana for aggregation. 
Mining Weekly reports that DBCM had previously received exemption yearly. 
However, the minister was said to have refused to grant an exemption despite De Beers “exceeding all the legislated criteria for its 2017/18 levy exemption application and having a track record of never missing an exemption since its enactment in 2008”. 
Diamonds produced by De Beers in South Africa as well as Botswana, Namibia and Canada were aggregated in the southern African country. 
Once the aggregation process was complete, rough diamonds of higher value were then re-imported back to the producing countries, South Africa included, for cutting and polishing. 
About 40 percent of diamonds mined in South Africa by De Beers were allocated to local diamond cutters and polishers, to qualify for the exemption in terms of Section 74 of the Diamond Export Levy Act, Mining Weekly reports. 
De Beers’ South African sightholders were said to provide more than 300 direct jobs in their cutting and polishing factories, representing 80% of the total local employment numbers of the sector. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Russia and India develop cooperation in diamond industry

2 Jun

Memorandum of Cooperation between PJSC ALROSA and Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) was signed in the scope of India-Russia Summit with the participation of the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The official signing ceremony took place in the Konstantin Palace in Saint Petersburg.

The Memorandum was signed by ALROSA President Sergey Ivanov and GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya. The document reflects an upward trend in bilateral cooperation between ALROSA и GJEPC and outlines the main tendencies for the next three years. The parties agreed to support the Special Notified Zone (SNZ) established on the basis of Bharat Diamond Bourse in 2015 for rough diamond trading and initiatives to create preferential tax treatment and expand ALROSA’s activities inside the zone.
The Parties have agreed to support measures aimed at legislative separation of natural and synthetic diamond markets, as well as informing ALROSA about those who violate the principle of separate sale of natural and synthetic diamonds in the Indian market. Besides, ALROSA and GJEPC will exchange statistics and interact within international industry organizations – Diamond Producers Association and World Diamond Council.
“India is the world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing center and one of our key trade partners. Rough diamonds worth USD 752.6 million were supplied to India under direct contracts in 2016. We see great prospects for the expansion of trading activities in this country, including through the Special Notified Zone at Bharat Diamond Bourse. I believe that long-term partnership with such an authoritative organization as The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council will be of great importance for the expansion of ALROSA’s export opportunities in India and development of cooperation with local manufacturers," said Sergey Ivanov.

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China's G&J imports from India up 28%

2 Jun

China’s imports of diamonds and coloured gemstones from India have risen by a significant 28.48% over the last fiscal to reach $ 2.48 bn, according to a statement issued by the Indian Consulate in Shanghai. This makes the country, the second largest supplier to the Chinese G&J industry, with a 33.8% share of the market says a report in gjepc.org. 
Indian exports of diamonds, gems and stones to China, in the first quarter of the calendar year, amounted to $558 mn. Speaking at the a road show by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India for promotion of IIJS 2017, Lin Qiang, President of Shanghai Diamond Exchange is reported to have said that his organisation would actively consider participating at the Show with a large delegation from eastern China region. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asia, Rough & Polished 

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Rockwell’s profitability in doubt if uncertainties are not resolved

2 Jun

Rockwell Diamonds said if uncertainties facing the company are not resolved in its favour, or if further financing to fund such further uncertainties or delays is not forthcoming, its ability to continue as a going concern may be in doubt. 
An auditor’s unqualified opinion had disclosed two uncertainties, namely the completion of the business rescue process implementing the new mining strategy and the timely ramp-up of Wouterspan mine in South Africa, either of which may have a material impact. 
An interim liquidation application lodged by C Rock Mining last November against Rockwell’s three subsidiaries – Rockwell RSA, HC van Wyk and Saxendrift Mine – resulted in a provisional winding-up order being issued by the High Court of South Africa in March. 
However, after a challenge, the three subsidiaries were placed under business rescue last month as opposed to liquidation. 
The immediate effect was that all legal proceedings against the subsidiaries were stayed, and the liquidation process was suspended. 
Joint business rescue practitioners Peter van den Steen and Trevor Murgatroyd of Metis Strategic Advisors were appointed to oversee the affairs of the subsidiaries, work alongside dual-listed Rockwell’s management to right the businesses of the subsidiaries, and prepare a business rescue plan aimed at ensuring a return to commercial operations. 
Meanwhile, the company said its rough diamond revenues declined by 31 percent to C$26.1 million during the fiscal year 2017 compared to C$37.7 million, a year earlier. 
It fourth quarter revenues also dropped 90 percent at C$987,000 compared to C$10.3 million realised during the same period in fiscal year 2016, due to cessation of mining activities at Saxendrift and Remhoogte-Holsloot, with the sole operation, Wouterspan, being in ramp-up phase. 
“Despite the challenges, I am confident we have turned the corner on our way back to profitability. Prospects for revenue will remain under pressure until monthly ROM throughput increases to a steady state of 200,000m3 or higher,” said company chief executive Tjaart Willemse. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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Mountain Province recovers two large diamonds at Gahcho Kue diamond mine

2 Jun

Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. has discovered two large gem quality diamonds at the Gahcho Kue diamond mine, its joint venture with De Beers Canada. 
The two diamonds weighing 84.65 carats and 53.90 carats respectively were discovered in April. 
Mountain Province has also won a bid for April 2017 production of fancy and special diamonds, so the above mentioned stones now belong to the company. They will be part of its upcoming sales in Antwerp, Belgium. 
Mountain Province President and CEO Patrick Evans commented: “The 84.65 carat diamond is the largest gem quality diamond recovered to date and provides further confirmation that Gahcho Kué hosts a population of large, high quality gem diamonds. The 53.90 carat diamond is the highest quality exceptional stone recovered to date and is expected to achieve a record price at tender.” 
Mountain Province expects to provide an updated Life of Mine plan for Gahcho Kué from the operator, De Beers Canada, along with an updated financial model, further diamond pricing analysis and a fluorescence evaluation to be prepared by an external consultant. The report is to be published until August 31, 2017. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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The MoC is the first step towards ALROSA setting up a rough diamond representative office - Praveenshankar Pandya

2 Jun

Mining major ALROSA has sought tax concessions from the Indian government for establishing a sales outlet for diamantaires in Mumbai, according to media reports in India.
The ALROSA Group has been selling rough diamonds in small quantity through exhibitions organised at the special notified zone (SNZ) in the Bharat Diamond Bourse. The bulk is sold through zero-tax centres in Dubai and a low-tax one in Belgium.
While the Indian Government seeks turnover tax through advance pricing of rough diamonds, ALROSA wants to equalise tax rates along the lines of Belgium to increase supply to Indian processors.
ALROSA contributes around eight per cent of India's total annual import of 153.31 mn carats worth $17.08 bn.
"Foreign diamond mining companies seek a business environment that is similar to Dubai and Belgium. Ultimately, the rough diamonds they offer to buyers in both the countries are routed to India, as most investors there are of Indian origin. We have requested the government to bring down taxation to the level of Belgium. The current environment allows the business to go to Dubai and Belgium," said Sabyasachi Roy, executive director, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) to a local newspaper.
The Indian Government has reportedly taken an initial step of signing a Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) with ALROSA on June 1, 2017. This is expected to lead to a congenial tax structure. India is the largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in the world; ALROSA is the largest producer by volume of roughs. Cooperation here would have a big impact on the global diamond industry says the report.
"The MoC is the first step towards ALROSA setting up a rough diamond representative office. For long, GJEPC has been encouraging diamond mining companies to sell roughs directly to the Indian market; the MoC may well be the first step to this goal," said Praveenshankar Pandya, Chairman of GJEPC.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asia, Rough & Polished

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GJEPC: Government should reconsider GST on rough diamond imports & raw materials for exports

6 Jun

Chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) of India has requested the government to reconsider GST rates on diamonds as this measure is not in sync with equivalence policy. 
Praveenshankar Pandya, Chairman of GJEPC, said that diamonds are the key raw materials for gem and jewellery exports business which are kept out of the purview of taxes even in various Asian countries which are globally competitive. In this sense and according to the Prime Minister’s directives to make gems & jewellery industry in India a global diamond hub, he requested the authorities not to get entangled in procedures for refund and focus instead on popularizing Indian jewellery across the world. 
Pandya added that 95% of the gem industry's output is exported and its representatives are under constant stress from other competitive economies, so an upfront levy of GST on rough imports would invariably cause a major setback to India’s trade significance in the global markets. 
Owing to the thin margins in the segment, each businesses will have to re-evaluate the viability of conducting the cutting and polishing activity in India, in light of the extent of strain GST would bring on its working capital, and, eventually, this may lead to significant volume of flight of capital and employment to other jurisdictions, he warns. 
Pandya requested the Indian Government to reconsider its decision of taxing rough diamond imports under GST, owing to such severe repercussions. He however welcomed the Government’s move of keeping GST rate of 3% on gold and jewellery and this is in line with our representations and recommendations. 
Pandya urged the government to take several steps, which include nil-rated transactions under Diamond Dollar Accounts (DDA), exemption for local rough and polished diamond transactions for the purpose of exports as well as import of gold, platinum and silver for the manufacturing and subsequent export sales of jewellery. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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Russia says Alrosa can cooperate with Namibia in diamond sales

6 Jun

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev said world’s largest diamond miner, Alrosa can establish a joint system with Namibia of diamond sales. 
De Beers currently dominates diamond mining and sales in the southern African country where it established joint ventures with the government. 
However, the Russian official said that can be challenged. 
"De Beers has no exclusive right to mine diamonds in Namibia and cut them,” Trutnev was quoted as saying by Tass. 
“Alrosa can also participate. We made the first step and offered development of the joint sales system to the Namibian party." 
Namibia started independent diamond sales last year through the state-owned Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia). 
However, Namibia Diamond Trading Company, a joint venture between Namibia and De Beers, remains the main vehicle for supplying local cutting and polishing factories. 
Namdia would sell a minimum of $150 million or a 15 percent representative cut-off of all Namdeb Holdings entire range and quality of diamonds into the international market. 
Namdeb produced 1.57 million carats in 2016. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Global demand for diamond jewellery grows marginally to $80 billion as US consumers make history

6 Jun

De Beers said global demand for diamond jewellery increased by 0.3 percent to $80 billion in 2016 from the previous year’s $79 billion, with demand growth from the US offsetting a contraction in India. 
Diamond jewellery demand from US consumers was up 4.4 percent in 2016 to breach the $40 billion mark for the first time while a jewellers’ strike and demonetisation in India led to an 8.8 percent decline in demand in local currency. 
However, demand from Indian consumers started to return to more normal levels in 2017. 
“American consumers continue to express strong desire for diamonds, but their purchasing habits are changing rapidly,” said De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver. 
“While bridal diamond jewellery remains fundamental, we are seeing both single and married women buying for themselves more frequently and more purchases being made online. Meanwhile, products such as multi-diamond jewellery are becoming more popular.” 
Meanwhile, De Beers also said that demand from Chinese consumers leaped 0.6 percent in local currency and had continued to improve this year, with “robust” sales around Chinese New Year contributing to the positive performance in the first quarter. 
Demand from Japanese consumers, it said, declined 2.9 per cent in local currency last year, but growth in US dollars reached 8.1 per cent due to the strength of the Yen. 
Continued oil price weakness slowed demand in the Gulf. 
“Despite some markets facing challenging conditions last year, we see this trend continuing, with improvements in demand from China and India, in particular, emerging in 2017,” said Cleaver. 
De Beers said it was expecting another marginal global growth in diamond jewellery demand in US dollar terms this year. 
“While the US has seen slower GDP growth in the first quarter, which generally signals slower growth in diamond jewellery demand, the outlook for 2017 is for higher consumer confidence and GDP growth,” said De Beers. 
“Retailers in China expect demand to continue to grow at a slightly faster rate, in local currency. In India, the effect of demonetisation in 2017 proved to be less severe than anticipated, with consumption returning to more normal levels in the first quarter.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 
 

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Diamond coin collection showcased at the Perth Mint

8 Jun

Rio Tinto and The Perth Mint have showcased a A$1.8 mn one-of-a-kind coin collection featuring three coloured diamonds from the Argyle Diamond Mine, says a press note from Rio Tinto Diamonds. 
Known as The Australian Trilogy, the beautiful collectable comprises three precious metal coins each hand crafted with a pink, purple pink and violet diamond unearthed from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia, the note adds. 
Unveiled by the Premier of Western Australia, the Honourable Mark McGowan MLA, The Australian Trilogy is issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965. The Perth Mint will only release one of The Australian Trilogy 2017 Collection. 
A managing director with Rio Tinto’s copper and diamonds business, Andrew Kite said “We are delighted to collaborate with our Select Atelier, The Perth Mint and our Authorised Partner, John Glajz, on the exclusive release of this distinctive investment piece. It is a beautiful symbol of the unique treasures of Western Australia and the extraordinary provenance of Australian diamonds and precious metals.” 
Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine produces virtually the world’s entire supply of rare pink diamonds, and yet less than 0.1 per cent of the diamonds produced by the Argyle mine are pink. 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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Diamond prices stable in May as diamond dealers assess the market

8 Jun

Polished diamond trading was sluggish in May, with dealers waiting for this week’s Las Vegas shows to get better deals and assess the pulse of the market, according to Rapaport's monthly report. Suppliers held prices firm for new polished production they hoped to sell in Las Vegas, but were willing to reduce prices on leftover old stock. Buyers avoided making large inventory purchases before the show. 
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1-carat, GIA-graded diamonds declined 0.3% in May and was down 1.7% since the beginning of the year. 
The report notes that rough diamond prices firmed 1% to 2% during the month, with De Beers and Alrosa limiting supply, and manufacturers raising polished production. Rough prices increased an estimated 4% since the beginning of the year. 
Chinese demand has been supporting the market as consumer spending in mainland China improves, while US demand has been restrained ahead of the Las Vegas shows. US jewelers are also adapting to a changing consumer environment, which is impacting their inventory requirements. 
Disappointing first-quarter sales at Signet Jewelers and Tiffany & Co. highlighted shifts in the retail environment and a slowdown in jewelry demand. The major jewelers noted a highly promotional environment as department stores tried to win back customers and independent jewelers were liquidating at deeper discounts. Consumers are increasingly looking for better deals online and avoiding crowded shopping malls. 
There is opportunity for savvy independent jewelers to gain market share. Jewelers that are investing in social-media marketing and innovation and adapting to changing consumer needs are doing well. Those stuck in the old way of doing business are struggling. 
Diamond companies that can demonstrate an ability to add value to such jewelers in this changing marketplace will have a successful show, setting themselves up for the end-of-year holiday season. 

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South Africa, Venezuela ink diamond mining deal

8 Jun

South Africa and Venezuela have reportedly signed an agreement on the setting up of joint ventures in mining, particularly diamonds, in Orinoco Mining, south Venezuela. 
The work area was said to cover 10,000 hectares and it holds about 40 million carats of diamonds. 
Diamond Loupe, citing El Universal, reports that South African deputy minister of mineral resources, Godfrey Oliphant, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Víctor Cano, signed the agreement, with a focus on environmentally friendly technology. 
Meanwhile, Venezuela's Minister for ecological mining development, Jorge Arreaza thanked South Africa for helping the South American country end its eight-year absence from the Kimberley Process. 
"South Africa has also been very supportive of Venezuela's reincorporation into the Kimberley Process,” he was quoted as saying. 
“Thanks to them, we are here today to develop joint diamond projects, projects where the Venezuelan state maintains a sovereign majority of the shares of joint ventures or strategic alliances." 
Venezuela rejoined the Kimberley Process last November after it stopped issuing export certificates in 2005 and unilaterally removed itself three years later as an active participant in the diamond watchdog. 
It exported 23,472 carats of rough worth $882,130 in 2005, according to KP data. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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ALROSA’s revenue from diamond sales in May grew 33% up to USD 472.1 million

8 Jun

Public Joint Stock Company ALROSA, the world leader in diamond mining, has announced diamond sale results for May and the first five months of 2017. In May 2017, the Company sold rough and polished diamonds worth USD 472.1 million, which is 33% higher compared to a year earlier. Revenue from rough diamond sales amounted to USD 467.6 million, polished diamond sales – USD 4.5 million. In January–May 2017, ALROSA’s rough and polished diamond sales exceeded USD 2.13 billion − 5% below the same period in 2016. Rough diamonds were sold for USD 2.09 billion, polished diamonds – for USD 44.3 million. Commenting on a 5-percent reduction of the cost of diamonds sold in January-May this year from the same period a year earlier, ALROSA Vice President Yury Okoemov reminded that early in 2016 the Company sold a substantial part of high-priced rough diamonds from previously accumulated stocks. This year, the share of small-size, inexpensive rough diamonds in total sales is higher, which, above all, is related to the composition of stock as at the start of the year. He also noted a revival of demand for inexpensive rough diamonds in India, which showed a noticeable slowdown late last year as a result of a monetary reform in this country.

 

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Lev Leviev to take part in emerald mining in Zambia

13 Jun

Billionaire Lev Leviev has bought half of one of Africa’s biggest emerald mines. 
Bloomberg has cited Kombadayedu Kapwanga, managing director Leviev’s Namibian unit, as saying that businessman bought into the Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt province which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
A spokesperson for Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a listed company controlled in which Leviev is the biggest shareholder, didn’t return phone calls and emails seeking comment. A spokesperson at LLD Diamonds, Leviev’s jewelry business, didn’t return calls either. Leviev used his Israel-based diamond unit to purchase half of Grizzly, Kapwanga said, without providing further details. 
The Zambia company registry shows Gemcanton is jointly owned by two companies: British Virgin Islands-based Frango Finance Ltd. and Wolle Mining Limited. Grizzly was previously 85 percent owned by Abdoulaye Ndiaye, according to the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Ndiaye is a Zambian who is originally from Senegal, and Grizzly has been digging emeralds in Zambia since 1997, according to Gemcanton. 
Zambia produced 74.7 metric tons of emerald and beryl, a less-valuable grade of the stone, in 2016, a 42 percent increase from 52.8 tons in 2015, according to the Finance Ministry. 

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Gem Diamonds recovers two more large diamonds from Lesotho mine

14 Jun

Gem Diamonds said it has recovered a “high-quality” 104.73 carat, D-colour Type IIa diamond and a 151.52 carat Type I yellow diamond from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho. 
This, it said, followed the recoveries of an “exceptional” 80.58 carat D-colour Type IIa diamond and a 98.42 carat D-colour Type IIa diamond in May, as well as a 114 carat D colour Type IIa diamond in April from Letšeng. 
Letšeng had produced four of the 20 largest gem-quality white diamonds ever recorded since 2006 when Gem Diamonds took over its ownership. 
“The Letšeng mine is well-known for the production of large, top colour, exceptional white diamonds, making it the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world,” said Gem Diamonds. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Gaborone, Botswana, Rough&Polished 
 

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Dominion Diamond and JamesAllen.com sign a mine-to-consumer market agreement for CanadaMark certified diamonds

14 Jun

Dominion Diamond Corporation and R2Net, which owns JamesAllen.com, have signed an agreement which is aimed to bring CanadaMark certified diamonds directly to consumers. 
JamesAllen.com will be the exclusive online retailer of CanadaMark certified diamonds, and each of the Dominion's stones listed on its website will bear unique serial number, and will have an official certificate of origin from either Ekati or Diavik diamond mines. 
"We are excited to partner with Dominion, continuing on our path of transforming the diamond industry by giving consumers a better diamond-buying experience – in this case, full transparency of their diamond's journey from the mine to their or their loved one's finger,” said R2Net’s co-founder and CEO Oded Edelman. 
The CanadaMark diamonds are tracked at every stage from the mine to the polished stone through independent, audited processes. The program is a hallmark guaranteeing Canadian origin, and works with clients to assure end consumers that their diamond is responsibly mined in Canada. 
“We are thrilled to partner with JamesAllen.com to offer increased transparency for diamond buyers, with a complete view into their diamond's source from mine all the way through to the gift box," said Jim Pounds, Dominion’s Executive Vice President, Diamonds. 
JamesAllen.com is the fastest growing online retailer of engagement rings and loose diamonds, and Dominion is Canada’s largest independent diamond producer. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

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De Beers Auction Sales set for first third-party polished diamonds auction

14 Jun

De Beers Auction Sales said sellers and buyers of responsibly sourced, exceptional polished diamonds will transact anonymously via its platform for the first time on 29 June when it conducts an exceptional polished stones auction. 
The separate auctions for third-party exceptional polished stones would occur on the same day as the first auctions of De Beers’s own polished diamonds, manufactured directly from its own rough. 
It said all exceptional stones available for auction would be more than two and a half carats in weight, or of fancy colour, and verified by De Beers’s own International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research’s labs to confirm they are natural and untreated. 
About 50 exceptional polished stones would be available at the first auction, including a 7.21 carat, D colour, flawless pear-shaped diamond, a 1.57 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow, internally flawless, cushion cut diamond, a 5.53 carat Fancy Yellow, VS1, cushion cut diamond and a 20.64 carat Fancy Light Yellow, VS2, cushion cut diamond. 
“This platform for exceptional third party diamonds, and the auctions of De Beers Group’s own polished diamonds, offer buyers new opportunities to purchase attractive, responsibly sourced diamonds that have been validated by De Beers as being natural and untreated,” said De Beers Auction Sales executive vice president Neil Ventura. 
“While both polished auction initiatives are still in the pilot stage, we look forward to the learnings we will receive from these first events so that we can continue to innovate and enhance our offering to our customers – both buyers and sellers.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Gaborone, Botswana, Rough&Polished 
 

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ALROSA and DMCC Discuss Cooperation Prospects

15 Jun

ALROSA President Sergey Ivanov and Executive Chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) Ahmed Bin Sulayem agreed upon enhancing cooperation in diamond trade, according to a press release from ALROSA distributed on Wednesday. At a working meeting in ALROSA’s headquarters in Moscow, Sergey Ivanov and Ahmed Bin Sulayem discussed options for expanding ALROSA’s trading activities at the Dubai Diamond Exchange, a trading platform within DMCC. The parties also agreed to step up fight against undeclared synthetic diamonds. “Dubai is one of the world’s leading diamond trading centers. In 2016 alone, ALROSA sold rough diamonds worth USD 259.5 million to companies- residents of the United Arab Emirates. ALROSA’s affiliate Arcos East DMCC has been successfully operating at the Dubai Diamond Exchange, and we are certainly interested in wider cooperation with our partners from DMCC,” noted Sergey Ivanov. ALROSA President accepted the invitation to attend the Dubai Diamond Conference 2017 and visit DMCC.

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Dominion Diamond reports fiscal 2018 first quarter results

15 Jun

Dominion Diamond Corporation announced its fiscal 2018 first quarter production results for the diamond projects Diavik and Ekati Diamond Mine. 
According to the company, consolidated carats recovered increased 17% to 2.15 million carats in Q1 fiscal 2018 from 1.83 million carats in Q1 fiscal 2017 due primarily to production from the high-grade Misery Main pipe at the Ekati mine, with stable production at the Diavik Diamond Mine. 
According to Dominion’s assessment, the diamond market has become more positive than in recent months and overall prices have improved from early fiscal 2018 levels after a slight dip associated with the residual effects of the November 2016 demonetization of the Indian rupee. 
In India, there has been a recovery of demand in the retail jewelry market following demonetization, and a noticeable rise in activity in the lower-end price ranges, notably from the larger jewelry chains, Dominion noted. It is expected there will be a full return to normal trading activity as work resumes at the Indian diamond polishing factories after the May break. This is the most active time of year for purchases by the jewelry manufacturing segment, as it prepares for the end of year sales season. 
The diamond jewelry retail industry in the United States failed to meet market expectations in the first quarter of calendar 2017. The level of optimism in the market has since increased, except with regards to the outlook for the larger retailers. Traffic is less buoyant in the cheaper diamond ranges than at calendar year-end 2016, however, bridal goods have been more resilient, and the higher end of the market, while slow, is improving. 
The improvement in mainland Chinese demand early in the quarter has persisted and there is increased activity in Hong Kong and Macau, both of which had suffered a retail downturn in recent months, Dominion said. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

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De Beers, Namibia launch “most advanced” diamond exploration vessel

16 Jun

De Beers has launched the world’s “most advanced” diamond exploration and sampling vessel off the coast of Namibia. 
The inauguration follows five months of successful sea trials, the group said. 
The mv SS Nujoma, which was built to the tune of $157 million in Norway, would enable Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between Namibia and De Beers, to explore diamond deposits and secure diamond supply in the country well into the future. 
The vessel was the first in the company’s fleet of five other vessels to be dedicated to exploration and sampling. 
“Offshore diamond mining is becoming increasingly important in meeting global demand for diamonds as many of the major onshore deposits have now been discovered,” said De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver. 
“The mv SS Nujoma will allow even more of Namibia’s high quality offshore diamonds to be discovered and mined, ensuring a strong future for Namibia’s diamond industry, as well as the global diamond market.” 
The vessel incorporates a range of unique technologies that allows it to sample faster, take larger samples and collect more information per sample than any other diamond sampling vessel. 
It was also capable of sampling at more than double the speed of its predecessor. 
Debmarine Namibia, which was the only company in the world to mine diamonds offshore, produced around 1.2 million carats in 2016. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Botswana Diamonds engages liquidator over Maibwe JV project

16 Jun

Botswana Diamonds said it has approached the liquidator of the Maibwe joint venture with several possible options to get the project moving. 
Work on Maibwe had been delayed owing to the liquidation of main shareholder and operator BCL, said company managing director James Campbell at a mining conference in Gaborone, Botswana. 
Maibwe was made up of three parties BCL, a Botswana state owned copper/nickel producer which was given 51 percent in return for a $1 million investment; Future Minerals, a local Botswana group (20 percent) who first acquired the licences and Siseko Minerals (29 percent), which was 51 percent-owned by Botswana Diamonds. 
Though 10 prospecting licences are held by Maibwe, comprehensive work had been successfully carried out on PL 186. 
“We received tantalizing results after a drilling programme on PL186 in 2015, sadly we couldn’t work on it because of the liquidation of BCL, but we are in discussions with the liquidator as well as our joint venture partners to try and get the project moving,” said Campbell. 
“We believe that is in the great interest of the country and of course the joint venture partners on the project 
Work on PL186 had managed to identify four diamond bearing kimberlite pipes forming a cluster within close proximity to each other. 
The pipes were identified through a series of ground-magnetic surveys at 50m spacing and 800m of diamond core drilling from which 305kg of sampled material returned diamonds. 
Future Minerals and Siseko, were said to have agreed that Botswana Diamonds would fund a verification drilling programme. 
Campbell confirmed that Botswana Diamonds had since drilled verification holes and was in the process of analysing the samples. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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Large Israeli diamond contigent at June HK Show

16 Jun

At the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair this year, 47 Israeli companies will exhibit in the Israeli Diamond Pavilion under the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI) umbrella, while 6 others will be located elsewhere in the Fair, says a press note from IDI. 
The show runs June 22 – 25, 2017 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, with the diamond pavilion located in Hall 3BC. A lounge adjacent to the diamond area will feature dedicated Get Diamonds stations which allow a search (also available in smart phones) in English and in Chinese of all Israeli exhibitors’ goods offered. 
In addition, IDI will launch a special website (which will go live on June 21) with full details of all the Israeli companies participating in the show, including background and contact information, as well as a map of the Israel Diamond Pavilion. 
IDI Chairman Shmuel Schnitzer said, “We are optimistic about Asia as we have been seeing a definite rise in demand for diamond jewelry in these markets, especially in China. We believe that the long-term prospects for Asia as a market for polished diamonds from Israel are excellent and it remains a key target for our industry." 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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De Beers to hold sight next week without SA rough diamonds – report

16 Jun

De Beers is expected to hold its sightholder sales next week at the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) in Gaborone without rough diamonds from neighbouring South Africa. 
South Africa's minerals minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, had been refusing to grant an exemption to De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) to export diamonds to Botswana for aggregation. 
DBCM had since approached the local courts to force the minister change his position. 
The Patriot newspaper quoted Botswana Chamber of Mines chief executive, Charles Siwawa, as saying that it was surprising that such a decision with far reaching implications on the relationship between the two neighbouring countries had been made by the individual minister. 
"The decision could affect bi-lateral relations between the neighbours. It should not have been unilateral at ministerial level,” he said. 
“One would expect that it would be reached after both governments engage at a high level where one would forewarn the other to make necessary preparations going forward." 
Siwawa said although blocking supply from South Africa for aggregation in Botswana would not stop operations at DTCB, although it would disrupt the diamond mix in the process. 
Diamonds produced by De Beers in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Canada were aggregated in Gaborone like they used to be in London. 
Once the aggregation process was complete, rough diamonds of higher value were then re-imported back to the producing countries, South Africa included, for cutting and polishing. 
About 40 percent of diamonds mined in South Africa by De Beers were allocated to local diamond cutters and polishers. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

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