Archive | Diamond Mining

‘Material, newsworthy’ diamond finds on the rise – analyst – by Henry Lazenby ( – October 3, 2017)

VANCOUVER ( – There has been a marked increase in the number of publicly reported special diamond finds in recent years, with 61 of 66 press-released diamond finds in the last nine years taking place in the last five years, noted independent diamond industry analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky in a new report published Monday.

The New York-based analyst dissected available press releases over the last nine years, looking for diamond producers reporting finds considered “special enough” that the company that discovered them subsequently issued a press release to announce the occasion.

For publicly traded companies, securities laws generally require notifying the public when a ‘material’ event occurs. “In this case ‘material’ typically means information that will have an impact on the company’s stock price, or the announcement will likely change the perceived value of the company’s stock. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe diamond output levels plummet (African Independent – September 29, 2017)

Zimbabwe’s diamond output from its major mines in the eastern part of the country has fallen to shocking levels from 12million carats a year during the peak to just less than a 1million carats a year amid reports that the government-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Development Company ZMDC is struggling to meet targets after taking over from private players early this year.

In addition to failure by the company to meet targets, it has also emerged that the diamond alluvial deposits were now exhausted, with the company now exploring ways to start underground mining of the product to boost production.

The government took over the production of the precious stones from private players after accusing private companies of pillaging resources and consequently remitting too little to treasury. Despite having secured mining equipment from Belarus, the ZMDC, the sole miner of diamonds at Marange diamond fields, is struggling to increase production to desired results. Continue Reading →

Diamond Dealers Cling to the Old Days – by Thomas Biesheuvel and Franz Wild (Bloomberg News – September 28, 2017)

Ashit Mehta was stunned. Without notice, the representatives of Dutch bank ABN Amro marched into the offices of his global diamond empire, confiscated $150 million of rocks, locked them in a vault and left with the key.

What began on that overcast December day in 2012 turned out to be just the start of the problems for the secretive family-run diamond trading houses that have defined the Belgian city of Antwerp for centuries.

They make up the invisible link between African mines and jewelry stores in New York, London and Hong Kong, and are being squeezed like rarely before. The banks whose loans they relied on to buy gems are pulling out of a business they no longer think is worth the risk in the post-financial crisis age of increased regulation and scrutiny. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond investors OK $1.2B US sale to Washington Companies (CBC News North – September 19, 2017)

Shareholders expected to receive $14.25 US per share in cash when acquisition closes

The Canadian Press: The Canadian head office of Dominion Diamond is to remain in Calgary after its shareholders voted on Tuesday to approve its $1.2-billion US sale to Washington Companies.

Larry Simkins, president of the Montana-based acquirer, attended Dominion’s special meeting. He said afterwards it wouldn’t make sense to relocate the 100 employees of Dominion in Calgary after the head office was moved from Yellowknife earlier this year.

“It just moved here and the last thing we would do is uproot families and move them back to Yellowknife or some other place,” he said. Investors in the Northwest Territories diamond producer voted more than 99 per cent in favour of the deal announced in July. Continue Reading →

Northwest Territories Mining – The Drive Beyond Diamonds: Whati Road Could Deliver Polymetallic NICO Mine and More – by John Curran (Aboriginal Business Quarterly – Summer 2017)

For the entire issue:

There’s no denying the importance of the mining sector for the NWT’s economy, but at the same time this key industry has become completely dependent on a single commodity in recent times: Diamonds. Over the years, gold, lead, zinc, silver, tungsten, radium and many other minerals have been mined around the territory, but those days are currently in the rearview mirror. As the recent downturn has shown us, economic dependence on a single item plucked from the ground is never good – even something as lucrative as diamonds.

When prices for rough gems dropped a couple of years back and NWT mines were forced to trim operating costs, the territory has been suffering through the miners’ belt-tightening ever since. Despite the decline, diamond mining remains the dominant industry in the NWT.

“Resource projects, such as the diamond mines, provide the GNWT with a significant portion of corporate income tax, fuel tax, and property tax revenues and the projects’ employees provide payroll tax and personal income tax revenues,” said Andrew Livingstone, Senior GNWT Cabinet Communications Advisor. “Over the past three years, diamond mines contributed 41 per cent of the GNWT’s corporate income, fuel, property and payroll tax revenue.” Continue Reading →

Africa is rich in diamonds but still poor (Deutsche Welle – September 18, 2017)

For months now, Africa’s rough diamonds have been increasing in value but the sale proceeds do not reach the people. Instead, they benefit metropolitan elites and the mine companies, which are usually foreign-owned.

Last week Tanzanian police struck a blow against international diamond smuggling. A consignment of diamonds worth around 28 million euros ($33.4 million) was seized at the country’s main airport. Petra Diamonds, the biggest listed diamond company in the world, based in the tax haven of Jersey, had registered a consignment of 14 kilos (30 pounds.) However, according to the Tanzanian authorities, it actually weighed 30 kilos. The rough diamonds from the Williamson mine were intended for export to Belgium for processing.

The Williamson mine in the north of Tanzania is a joint venture. 75 percent belongs to Petra Diamonds, 25 percent to the Tanzanian government. Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, has declared that combating corruption in the mining sector is a priority for his government. His anti-corruption platform played a large part in helping him to power in 2015. Continue Reading →

Diamonds Are The Latest Industry To Benefit From Blockchain Technology – by Pamela Ambler (Forbes Magazine – September 10, 2017)

Blood diamonds from the commodity rich country of Central African Republic (CAR) have made their way to the online marketplace of Facebook. This is according to an investigative report by Global Witness, an NGO that works to fight natural resource exploitation.

Illegal digital activities were unveiled through a social media profile for a fictitious buyer. The organization found that messenger platforms such as WhatsApp have also been used as a tool to smuggle conflict stones into the international supply chain.

To stem the flow of conflict diamonds, the United Nations came to a landmark decision in early 2000 called the Kimberley Process. A three-step verification method was introduced wherein mining countries were required to provide a declaration of each stone. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 4-Tanzania orders review of Petra Diamonds contract in mining crackdown – by Fumbuka Ng‘wanakilala (Reuters U.S. – September 7, 2017)

DAR ES SALAAM, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Tanzanian President John Magufuli has ordered a review of a Petra Diamonds Ltd contract and asked senior public officials to resign over the outcome of an investigation into the mining sector, he said on Thursday.

One minister quit his post as requested, state-run television reported. The moves are the latest attempt by Magufuli to tighten control over the mining industry to boost government revenues and stamp out alleged corruption. “I have endorsed all the recommendations of the parliamentary probe committees for the review of the Williamson diamond mine contract,” Magufuli said in a televised broadcast.

London-listed Petra has a 75 percent stake in the mine, while the government owns the rest. The company’s shares fell as much as 3.5 percent, but had trimmed losses to trade down 1 percent at 90 pence by 1516 GMT. Continue Reading →

Underground expansion could extend Ekati mine life by 7 years, says new report – by Melinda Trochu (CBC News North – September 8, 2017)

First diamond mine in the Northwest Territories could stay open until 2042

Further expansion of underground mining operations at the Ekati diamond mine could keep the mine in business until 2042, according to a preliminary economic assessment released by Dominion Diamond Corporation on Wednesday. Dominion operates the mine, and owns a controlling interest.

The Fox Deep project would expand the mine by developing an underground operation below the mined-out Fox open pit. It follows on the recently-approved Misery Deep project, which is already expected to expand the life of the mine from 2033 to 2035.

Tom Hoefer, executive director of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, says Yellowknifers should be doing a happy dance. “A year ago we thought that Ekati had a life to 2021,” says Hoefer. “And so with their work on other pipes and now adding Fox in they’ve created a very exciting future for the N.W.T.’s mining industry.” Continue Reading →

Russia Has a Gem of an Idea to Take on India – by Yuliya Fedorinova, Olga Tanas and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – September 6, 2017)

Russia wants its biggest diamond miner to work more closely with the country’s top gem cutters so the industry can better compete in a market that’s dominated by Indian manufacturers.

As part of a plan to boost the competitiveness of Russian diamonds, the government wants Alrosa PJSC to offer more favorable terms to cutters including Kristall Production Corp., Russia’s largest, according to Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev. The producer, which digs more gems out of the ground than any other firm, is mostly state owned.

“Cooperation currently is rather limited and it has to expand,” Moiseev said in an interview in Moscow. Alrosa has largely shunned cutting and polishing to focus on mining, where it can get bigger margins. Continue Reading →

Resource-rich NWT begins rewriting its mining rules in an effort to attract investment – by Ashley Renders (Financial Post – August 30, 2017)

Miners are one of the biggest private employers in the territory, but existing projects are close to the end of their lives and exploration interest has declined

Residents of the resource-rich Northwest Territories began consulting on a new Mineral Resource Act on Monday, a made-in-the-North piece of legislation aimed at making the territory more attractive for mining investment.

As one of the largest private employers in the territory, mining is an important part of the economy and makes up one quarter of the region’s GDP. But existing projects are moving closer to the end of their lives and interest from exploration companies dropped, and then stagnated, years ago.

Part of the reason is that mining laws and unsettled land claims have created uncertainty for investors. The government hopes to “redefine” its relationship with the industry through a modern piece of legislation that clearly explains how mining is supposed to be done in the territory. Continue Reading →

De Beers boss Bruce Cleaver: How to sell diamonds to the Snapchat generation – by Jon Yeomans (The Telegraph – August 26, 2017)

As boss of diamond miner De Beers, Bruce Cleaver is used to a few funny questions. “You always get people asking about how they can get a cheap diamond,” he says. “I have to keep saying ‘it’s not about a cheap diamond! It’s about buying a diamond that you love’.” This is a message Cleaver is keen to repeat: it is about quality, not quantity.

For decades, De Beers was the diamond industry. Thanks to its slogan, “a diamond is forever”, and a vice-like grip on global supply, the company dictated how diamonds were sold. But since 2000, it has retreated due to competition concerns, and is now majority owned by the FTSE 100 miner Anglo American. The financial crisis – a “very, very traumatic event for the diamond industry; you almost couldn’t give a diamond away”, says Cleaver – pushed De Beers into becoming a slimmer operation.

As competition mounts, the miner is also facing an existential battle to convince fickle millennial shoppers that they should still buy diamonds. Can Cleaver keep De Beers relevant? Continue Reading →

‘Hey gorgeous’: Meet 2 women sick of sexism and discrimination in mining – by Jamie Malbeuf (CBC News North – August 15, 2017)

Some women stay silent and endure unwelcome situations, others quit the industry

The crass, sexist attitudes that lead to a camera being planted in the women’s washroom of the Ekati diamond mine don’t surprise some women with experience working in the mining industry. On July 27, a camera hidden in the women’s washroom of the mine was brought to a camp administrator’s office for safe-keeping until security could arrive. But by the time they got there it was missing.

Ekati is about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. Workers live at the mine, typically working shifts of two weeks on and two weeks off. RCMP and mine security are still investigating the camera incident, but two women with experience in the industry say the conditions that make an episode like this possible are all too common.

Kari Lentowicz worked at a mine in Saskatchewan for more than 12 years before she said she couldn’t take it anymore. “It was just a hard environment to work in,” said Lentowicz. “The men far outnumber the women and as far as mining goes, they really hardwire that gender disparity in there, into their camps.” Continue Reading →

How De Beers is being stymied in hunt for fresh diamond sources – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – July 31, 2017)

De Beers, which is building a R20bn underground mine at Venetia in SA, is hampered in its hunt for fresh diamond sources by the country’s regulatory environment despite itching to spend millions of dollars here.

De Beers spends $35m a year on exploration in SA, Canada and Botswana but is running into headwinds in SA, which the miner reckons is one of the more prospective regions for new diamond sources.

There is an adage in the diamond industry that the best place to find kimberlites, the carrot-shaped ancient volcanic pipes bearing diamonds, is near other kimberlites. SA was a leading source of diamonds for nearly a century. However, De Beers’s efforts at securing diamond prospecting permits using an enormous century-old database has become nearly impossible. Continue Reading →

[Rio Tinto] How Much for That Fancy Red Diamond? It’s Kind of a Secret – by Micah Maidenberg – New York Times – July 26, 2017)

When the mining company Rio Tinto shows its latest batch of rare naturally colored diamonds — stones with hues of pink, red and even “deep-gray violet” — executives are delighted to go on about their beauty and scarcity.

But details about pricing? That is when the lips draw shut. “It’s quite confidential,” said a laughing Arnaud Soirat, the chief executive of Rio Tinto’s copper and diamond group. Welcome to the exclusive world of the colored diamond trade, a market where the buyer pool is slim, the supply is constricted and a carat can fetch $1 million or more.

On Wednesday, Rio Tinto came to Manhattan to introduce its latest and best colored diamonds, in the start of a tour that will include a stop in Hong Kong and another one in New York. The company’s latest cache, 58 stones, sparkled in glass cases on the 21st floor of a Chelsea skyscraper. With names like the Argyle Liberte and Argyle Isla, the total weight of all the stones was 49.39 carats, suggesting a collective value in the tens of millions — even though they all could fit in a pants pocket. Continue Reading →