Petra Diamonds founder steps down

adonis poroulis

South Africa’s Petra Diamonds is saying goodbye to Adonis Pouroulis, the company’s founder and chairman for 23 years.

The diamond producer, which dropped the role of chief operating officer in November because of management restructuring, said Pouroulis is being succeeded by Peter Hill, who was appointed a non-executive director of Petra and chairman-designate in December.

Hill began his career in the gold division of Anglo American, moving later to Rossing Uranium in Namibia, then to London as mining engineer with then BP Minerals, and later joining Consolidated Gold Fields.

Petra has been seeking to turn around its fortunes after piling up debt to expand its iconic Cullinan mine in South Africa, where the world’s largest-ever diamond was found in 1905.

In September, it reported a 22% drop in annual profit amid falling diamond prices and the company’s investment in Cullinan aimed at reviving the aging operation. The company’s share price collapsed to a record low as it also revealed it was writing down the value of its mines. 

Just when the first signs of stabilization in the sector were starting to appear, the novel coronavirus pandemic forced Petra to halt its production outlook for 2020.

The company closed its mines in South Africa last week for a mandatory 21-day lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of covid-19.

Its remote Williamson diamond mine, in Tanzania, said Petra, continues to be “closely monitored.”


Petra Diamonds H1 Production Up, but Revenue Down

Petra blue rough diamond

Petra Diamonds Limited has announced that while its production for the six months ended December 2019 was up 3 percent to 2,070,240 carats (H1 FY 2019: 2,019,147 carats), revenue for the same period was down 6 percent. Revenue fell to $193.9 million from 1,743,807 carats (H1 FY 2019: $207.1 million from 1,736,357 carats).

The decline in revenue comes from lower diamond prices and the adverse product mix at Finsch and Williamson. This was, however, partially offset by the sale of the 20.08-carat blue diamond from Cullinan for $14.9 million.

The company is currently on track to meet or exceed its FY 2020 production guidance of ca. 3.8 Mcts.

In addition, Petra said it saw growing stability in pricing as the calendar year closed and that demand has continued to improve as the midstream looks to replenish inventory with early indications that rough pricing has improved modestly in the third quarter of 2020. .

Petra reported that its net debt as of December 31, 2019 stood at $596.4 million 

(September 30, 2019: $592.8 million). It also reported a diamond inventory of 992,425 carats valued at $85.2 million compared to $92.4 million for September 30, 2019.

Source: IDEX

Artisanal small-scale diamond mining initiative launched

Petra Rough Diamond

Petra Diamonds has launched an artisanal small-scale mining initiative in South Africa. This follows a process of extensive consultation and cooperation with relevant stakeholders.

These include the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMR&E), as mining sector regulator, the Letsemeng Local Municipality, as elected representatives of the community, and the community itself.

Richard Duffy, CE of Petra Diamonds, comments:

“We regard this initiative as another milestone in the Petra legacy and we welcome the Koffiefontein Community Mining Primary Cooperative (KCM) artisanal miners as partners in our industry to complement our own operations and extract optimal benefit from the diamond reserves in Koffiefontein.

“We wish KCM all of the best with this venture and thank our Government and community partners for their continued support of both the project and the KCM.”

Read more about diamond mining

During this project, the aim is to create a framework within which artisanal small-scale mining can be conducted by community members in a legal and regulated manner.

Petra believes that there is a space for artisanal small-scale miners to co-exist with formalised, large-scale mining, since artisanal small-scale mining can often profitably recover diamonds from resources that would be unprofitable, or at best marginal, for a larger operator due to the capital and overhead costs involved.

A decision was taken to make available some of the Tailings Mineral Resources (TMR), notably the resource generally referred to as the “Eskom dump”, for the benefit of the community of Koffiefontein.

The intention is that properly regulated artisanal mining, which would comply with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, as well as other standards for such operations set by, inter alia, the United Nations, will be conducted on this resource.

Read more about mining in southern Africa

This is the second artisanal small-scale mining initiative put in place by the company, further to Petra’s efforts and involvement in establishing the artisanal small-scale mining sector in Kimberley.

This culminated in the landmark agreement in 2017 between Kimberley Ekapa Mining JV, in which Petra had a majority interest at the time, and other stakeholders, with the result that available TMRs in Kimberley were allocated to two community-based primary mining co-operatives, Batho Pele and Goede Hoop.

Work on the project at Koffiefontein commenced soon after the conclusion of the above agreement, with the intention to take into account the learnings from the initiative in Kimberley and put in place an artisanal small-scale mining dispensation in Koffiefontein that would be able to both optimally exploit the available resource, and accrue maximum benefit to the community.

To this end, the KCM has been officially established and registered as the primary beneficiaries of this project and the infrastructure and processes required to ensure the operation of this venture have been put in place.

Source: miningreview

Petra Diamonds’ revenues decline

Petra Diamonds

Petra Diamonds Limited lost some of their lustre, sliding 5.3% to 7.65p after the diamond miner underwhelmed with a trading update.

Revenue in the three months to the end of September – the first quarter of the company’s fiscal year – was down 23% to US$61.6 million from US$80.2 million in the same period of 2018.

The company sold 603,626 carats, compared to 626,541 a year earlier, at prices roughly 4% lower than in the three months to the end of June.

Shaky gems market hits Petra Diamonds

Petra Diamonds Cullinan Diamond Mine

Challenging conditions facing the global diamond industry were underlined on Monday after London-listed Petra Diamonds reported widening losses.

Petra said the industry was dealing with its worst market conditions since the financial crisis that began in 2008, as the company reported a full-year loss of $258m.

The global diamond market is struggling with lower prices and an oversupply of stones. In addition US-China tensions and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have hit demand in the industry’s key markets.

“You need a world that’s firing on all cylinders for diamonds to do extremely well,” Richard Hatch, an analyst at Berenberg said. “It’s a luxury, discretionary spend.”

Shares in Petra dropped to a record low of 7.17p on Monday, according to Refinitiv data. They ended the day down 6 per cent at 7.58p.

Stress is being felt across the industry. Last month De Beers, the world’s second-largest diamond producer, said its sales fell 44 per cent from a year earlier. Shares in other listed diamond producers have also sunk this year with Canada-listed Mountain Province Diamonds down 45 per cent and London-listed Gem Diamonds off by 35 per cent.

Petra’s loss included a non-cash impairment charge of $247m due to what the company said was a “more conservative” assumption for diamond prices. It had reported a $203m post-tax loss a year earlier. Revenues fell 6 per cent to $463.6m.

Petra, which runs the Cullinan diamond mine in South Africa, said diamond prices fell 4 per cent in its September tender from the fourth quarter ending in June.

Richard Duffy, who has been chief executive since February, said it would take between 12 to 18 months for the market to stabilise.

“It is a tough market,” Mr Duffy told the Financial Times. “But when it turns, it tends to turn quite quickly.”

Petra now expects that diamond prices will be flat for the next two financial years, rather than up by 3 per cent, above a long-term US inflation rate of 2.5 per cent a year, as previously forecast.

Petra, which also has mines in Tanzania, said it had discussed with its bankers the possibility it might breach certain covenants on its loans this year and next. It said the banks had “reaffirmed” their support.

Mr Duffy said the company would look to reduce its $595m of net debt by improving the efficiency of its mining operations. The company said it had “sufficient liquidity headroom” for at least 12 months.


Petra Diamonds shares jump on 425-carat discovery at Cullinan

Petra Diamonds 425.10 carat D Colour

Shares in Petra Diamonds jumped more than 8% on Friday after the miner announced it had dug up a 425.1 carat, D colour, Type II gem quality diamond at its iconic Cullinan mine in South Africa.

The discovery comes less than a month after Petra found a 100.83 carat gem-quality white diamond at the same mine, source of the world’s biggest ever diamond, which was unearthed in 1905.

“Earlier in March, Petra had recovered a 100.83 carat, white D-colour type II gem-quality stone”

The company, which appointed last month former gold miner Richard Duffy as chief executive, said both recoveries demonstrated the frequency of such large stones at Cullinan.

Petra, which has been seeking to turn around its fortunes after piling up debt to expand the operation, plans to sell the 425.1 carat diamond during the June quarter.

Diamond miners are struggling across the board, especially those producing cheaper and smaller stones where there is too much supply. In December, some of Rio Tinto’s customers refused to buy cheaper diamonds, while De Beers has been forced to cut prices and offer concessions to buyers.

Petra Diamonds keeps founder Pouroulis as chairman

Adonis Pouroulis Petra Diamonds

South Africa’s Petra Diamonds is keeping founder Adonis Pouroulis as chairman, despite some shareholders voting against his renewal at the 2018 annual general meeting.

The company, which last month appointed former gold miner Richard Duffy as chief executive effective in April, said the appointment of a new chair was “not appropriate” at this time.

Petra said the board and nomination committee had considered the 22.12% vote against Pouroulis’ re-election as chairman in the context of Petra’s ongoing three-year succession plan.

Despite concerns raised by some shareholders, the diamond miner said the current chairman continued to “demonstrate the independence of thought and challenge required for his role, notwithstanding the number of years he has served as a director.”

Pouroulis founded Petra in 1997 and has been its chairman ever since.

The company has been seeking to turn around its fortunes after piling up debt to expand its iconic Cullinan mine, in South Africa, where the world’s largest-ever diamond was found in 1905.