Archive | Diamond Mining

Dominion Diamond to explore strategic options, including sale (Reuters U.S. – March 27, 2017)

Canadian diamond miner Dominion Diamond Corp (DDC.TO) (DDC.N), which is being pursued by Washington Cos and Stornoway Diamond Corp (SWY.TO), said it would explore strategic alternatives, including a sale.

U.S.-listed shares of Dominion, which has a market cap of C$1.41 billion ($1.06 billion), were up 7.3 percent at $13.70 in premarket trading on Monday. Dominion’s largest shareholder, M&G Investments, last week asked the company to run a formal sales process and open its books to interested parties.

Washington Cos, a group of privately held North American mining, industrial and transportation businesses founded by billionaire Dennis Washington, revealed its $1.1 billion unsolicited bid in March. Continue Reading →

COMMENT: New chapter for Canadian diamonds? – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – March 22, 2017)

“It’s been 10 years since Falconbridge and Inco were snapped up by Glencore
(then Xstrata) and Vale, respectfully. Canadians are still stinging from
the loss of our world leadership position in nickel production. We still
produce it, but the profits go elsewhere. Those profits include not only
cash from the metal sold but the innovation and proprietary technology
that generate worldwide acclaim.”

This writer has a fondness for Canadian diamonds, as do many CMJ readers. The stones are beautiful, world famous and conflict free – an excellent accomplishment for a sector that didn’t exist 35 years ago.

But could the Canadian diamond industry go the same way our nickel producers did – into foreign ownership?

The Washington Companies have expressed interest in acquiring Dominion Diamond Corp., owner of Canada’s first producer, the Ekati mine, and 40% owner of the Diavik mine (along with Rio Tinto). WashCorps made an offer on March 19 of US$13.50 per share for Dominion in a deal worth US$1.1 billion. Continue Reading →

Attawapiskat could have more prosperity, but not by getting local diamond mines to shut down – by Joseph Quesnel (Financial Post – March 22, 2017)

Attawapiskat First Nation — an isolated Northern Ontario reserve — played a prominent role in the Idle No More indigenous protest movement that erupted in 2012. Then Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence complained to the media about unacceptable housing conditions on her reserve. The movement was energized by Chief Spence’s decision to declare a hunger strike to raise awareness of the ongoing First Nation housing and infrastructure crises.

Attawapiskat’s band council was subjected to a government-commissioned audit in 2012 that found little proper documentation for millions of dollars spent by the band government.

Attawapiskat has largely fallen out of the news. But, a few weeks ago, diamond producer De Beers announced it was shelving plans for an expansion of a diamond mine located nearby. The company had planned to draw five or six more years of production from the mine. However, without Attawapiskat support, the company will not proceed. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond, Stornoway held merger talks: sources – by Nicole Mordant and John Tilak (Reuters Canada – March 20, 2017)

VANCOUVER/TORONTO (Reuters) – Dominion Diamond Corp DDC.TO DDC.N and fellow Canadian diamond miner Stornoway Diamond Corp SWY.TO have held talks about a potential merger in recent months, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

World No. 3 diamond miner Dominion, target of a $1.1 billion bid by U.S. billionaire Dennis Washington, and Stornoway, a small miner with a diamond mine in Quebec, declined to comment. The people declined to be named as the discussions are private.

One of the people said the talks were still ongoing. The talks include Stornoway’s chief executive officer and president, Matt Manson, becoming CEO of the merged group, one source said, adding that the discussions on an all-share merger started in January. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond in play following Washington Cos. takeover proposal – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – March 20, 2017)

Dominion Diamond Corp. is expected to attract interest from the world’s largest diamond miners after being put in play Sunday by a $1.1-billion [U.S.] hostile takeover proposal from conglomerate The Washington Companies.

Yellowknife-based Dominion owns stakes in the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines in the Northwest Territories, and caught the eye of the private Montana-based company controlled by billionaire Dennis Washington, who made his fortune in construction and now owns tugboats, trains and copper mines.

Washington held takeover talks with Dominion that stretched over three weeks, but broke down earlier this month. Washington went public Sunday with a plan to buy the diamond miner for $13.50 a share, a 36-per-cent premium on Dominion’s Friday closing price. Dominion stock prices jumped 20 per cent yesterday on news of the offer. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond Surges on Offer by Billionaire Washington – by Scott Deveau (Bloomberg News – March 20, 2017)

Dominion Diamond Corp. headed for the biggest gain in eight years after billionaire Dennis Washington went public with a $1.1 billion offer for the Canadian company after weeks of private talks hit an impasse.

Closely held Washington Cos. made the proposal to acquire Toronto-based Dominion Diamond for $13.50 a share on Feb. 21. Dominion’s board has stalled on the offer, Washington Cos. said in a statement Sunday. The bid carried a 36 percent premium to Dominion’s closing price on Friday. The stock rose 24 percent to $12.29 at 9:48 a.m. in New York Monday.

Washington Cos., which has interests in mining, marine and rail transportation and heavy equipment distribution, said it has a long track record of making businesses grow throughout North America, with expertise in the mining industry and the Canadian market. The company said Dominion’s board has refused to let it perform due diligence, which might lead to an increased offer. Continue Reading →

Sierra Leone pastor finds huge diamond in Kono (BBC News – March 16, 2017)

A Christian pastor has discovered one of the world’s largest uncut diamonds in Sierra Leone’s Kono district. The diamond, weighing 709 carats, is now locked up in Sierra Leone’s central bank in Freetown. It is one of the 20 largest diamonds ever found.

Freelance, or artisanal, miners are common in Sierra Leone’s diamond-rich areas, reports the BBC’s Umaru Fofana.

But there are questions over whether the community will benefit from the gemstone, he adds. Pastor Emmanuel Momoh’s discovery, which has not yet been valued, is the biggest diamond to be found in Sierra Leone since 1972, when the 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone was dug up. Continue Reading →

[Manitoba] Let the diamond rush begin – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – March 7, 2017)

Diamonds have been discovered in Manitoba for the first time in the province’s history, ending decades of speculation and opening up the possibility of a resurgence of diamond exploration.

An informal group of prospectors called the Lynx Consortium has found small micro-diamonds — less than one millimetre in diameter — in the Knee Lake region near Oxford House. The discovery comes after a brief flurry of diamond exploration in the province 15 years ago came up empty.

Ruth Bezys, the president of Manitoba Prospectors and Developer Association and the wife of Mark Fedikow, one of the prospectors who found the diamonds, said it is an exciting development. Continue Reading →

De Beers fights fakes with technology as China’s lab-grown diamonds threaten viability of the real gems – by Celine Ge (South China Morning Post – March 5, 2017)

The spread of synthetic diamonds in China, originally designed for industrial purposes such as oil drilling, is posing such a threat to the global diamond market that it has forced dominant player De Beers to invest tens of millions of dollars on methods to identify the man-made stones that look exactly like the real thing.

A team of scientists at the mining giant are dedicated to fundamental research into the difference between synthetic and natural diamonds, while others work around the clock developing high-tech machines capable of screening out these tiny, “fake” gemstones, a popular investment among jewellery makers, particularly for those in China and India.

“They want to be confident in the diamonds they are buying for their business or selling to jewellery retailers,” Jonathan Kendall, president of De Beers’ International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research, told the South China Morning Post in an interview. For years, Kendall has led a team of researchers in London in the fight against synthetic diamonds being sold as real ones. Continue Reading →

Matt Manson our Mining Person of the Year – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – March 1, 2017)

There’s something to be said for being first. And Matt Manson, The Northern Miner’s choice as Mining Person of the Year for 2016, bears the distinction of guiding Stornoway Diamond through a daunting, decade-long journey to open Quebec’s first diamond mine — Renard — in the province’s remote Otish Mountains.

Along the way, through two industry downturns and without a major mining company as partner, Manson capably managed virtually every aspect of the mining game: property acquisition and company consolidation; grassroots exploration; feasibility studies and mine permitting; project financing; mine and infrastructure construction; community relations; building and leading a workforce; production ramp-up; and product marketing.

Manson, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, earned a B.Sc. degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1987, and came to Canada to pursue graduate studies and complete a PhD at the University of Toronto in 1996. Continue Reading →

The future of forever: A report from De Beers’s new diamond mine (The Economist – February 25, 2017)

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, CANADA – GAHCHO KUÉ is too far north for trees. In the few snowless months, its surroundings in Canada’s Northwest Territories resemble a sprawling archipelago, as much lake as land, dark ponds stretching flat to the horizon.

Wolverines roam, as well as bears, foxes, hares and caribou, though the herds have dwindled. There are no roads, no pipes, no electricity cables. So it seems strange when, flying over the tundra, a giant truck appears, then another, then a steel factory, rows of trailers and a big grey pit, deepening by the day.

De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond company, marked the opening of its Gahcho Kué mine in September. Local indigenous leaders prayed for the mine, beating drums. Bruce Cleaver, the firm’s chief executive, and Mark Cutifani, the boss of its parent company, Anglo American, stood by a ceremonial fire, flames tilting in the wind. Continue Reading →

De Beers new diamond mine set to reach full commercial production – by Barbara Lewis and Susan Taylor (Reuters U.K. – February 22, 2017)

LONDON/TORONTO – Gahcho Kue diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories is set to reach full commercial production over the next six weeks, the heads of Anglo American (AAL.L) unit De Beers and its Canadian partner Mountain Province Diamonds MPV.TO said on Tuesday.

First diamond production at the Arctic mine, the world’s largest and highest grade new diamond mine, began last year and has been gradually ramping up.

Output will be an average of 4.5 million carats per year over the anticipated 13-year life of the mine in which operator De Beers has a 51 percent stake, with the rest held by Mountain Province Diamonds. Continue Reading →

Forget the ring: Lab-grown diamonds are a scientist’s best friend – by Sarah Kaplan (Washington Post – February 13, 2017)

At a drab office park in a Washington suburb, in an unmarked building’s windowless lab, Yarden Tsach is growing diamonds.

Not rhinestones or cubic zirconia. Diamonds. Real ones. In a matter of eight weeks, inside a gas-filled chamber, he replicates a process that usually takes billions of years in the bowels of the planet. Carbon atom by carbon atom, he creates nature’s hardest, most brilliant and — if decades of advertisements are to be believed — most romantic stone.

No outsiders get to witness this genesis, though. WD Lab Grown Diamonds, where Tsach is chief technology officer, guards its approach as zealously as its address. These are the measures a company takes when it’s a target — of fierce competitors, potential jewel thieves and a traditional industry that would very much like it to go away.

“Everything is after us,” Tsach says. He doesn’t mean it as a joke. Continue Reading →

A diamond may be forever — for some — but for millennials it’s looking like not so much – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – February 11, 2017)

A diamond pendant is draped over a white t-shirt-clad 20-something woman as she runs through a corn field and swims with her clothes on while purring, “There was a moment in there that goodbye was inevitable … maybe we won’t ever get married and maybe we will.”

In another ad, the male narrator explains, “There was a time I panicked: Was this too much too fast … Who knows if we’ll ever slow down, I’m not thinking about that right now,” after a woman brushes her three-ring diamond necklace over his lips.

Those little doubting soliloquies from a couple of new sepia-toned diamond ad spots may seem like the antithesis of marketing in an industry that has been injecting itself into marriage proposals since the 1940s, when DeBeers launched its famous “a diamond is forever” campaign and solidified a steady stream of demand for the precious gem. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto gives shelved diamond mine to central Indian state – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – February 7, 2017)

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) said Tuesday it’s handing its shelved and massive Bunder diamond deposit in India to the state government of Madhya Pradesh, where the mine is located.

The company, which spent almost $120 million on the asset discovered in 2004, had planned to invest an extra $500 million to develop it. But Rio decided last year to mothball it due to regulatory hurdles, local opposition and weak diamond prices.

The Madhya Pradesh government will take ownership of the assets, including all the land, plant, equipment, and diamond samples recovered during exploration, Rio said in the statement. Continue Reading →