Debswana annual diamond sales jump 64%

Jwaneng, the richest diamond mine in the world by value, is Debswana’s flagship mine, contributing 60% to 70% of the company’s total revenue. 

Sales of rough diamonds by Debswana Diamond Company jumped 64% in 2021, statistics released by the Bank of Botswana showed on Monday, driven by the reopening of key global consumer markets.

The total value of Debswana’s diamond exports stood at $3.466 billion in 2021 compared with $2.120 billion in 2020, the central bank data showed.

Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American unit De Beers and Botswana’s government, sells 75% of its output to De Beers with the balance taken up by the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company.

Debswana sales fell by 30% in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit demand while global travel restrictions impacted trading. Since mid-2020 De Beers has shifted some of its rough diamond viewings to international diamond centres such as Antwerp to cater for customers unable to travel to Gaborone.

“Demand for rough diamonds remained robust, with positive midstream sentiment and strong demand for diamond jewellery continuing over the holiday period, particularly in the key U.S. consumer market,” Anglo American said in a production update last Thursday.

Debswana accounts for almost all Botswana’s diamond exports, with Lucara Diamond Corp’s Karowe mine being the only other operating diamond mine in the country.

Botswana gets about 30% of its revenues and 70% of its foreign exchange earnings from diamonds. The southern African country expects its economy to have grown by 9.7% in 2021, after an 8.5% contraction in 2020.

Debswana’s production increased by 35% to 22.326 million carats in 2021 from 16.559 million carats in 2020, mostly due to higher-grade ore being treated at its flagship Jwaneng mine, Anglo American said.

Russia’s Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds and a competitor of De Beers, reported revenue jumped by 49% to $4.2 billion last year as demand exceeded supply.


Kimberley Process to Hold Hybrid Plenary Meeting

Kimberley Process Rough diamonds. 

The annual Kimberley Process (KP) plenary will take place online and in person from November 8 to 12, with the digitization of certificates featuring at the top of the agenda.

The hybrid format enables the KP to continue its activities despite the restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s Finance Ministry, which is chairing the organization this year, said last week. Those eligible to visit Moscow under Covid-19 rules will be able to attend the physical event.

The meeting will focus on modernizing the KP export and import documents for rough diamonds. The ministry is currently finalizing a pilot program involving an information exchange with one of Russia’s key trading partners and plans to present its findings soon, it said.

The KP will also consider the applications of new countries wishing to join the group, having paused this due to travel difficulties. Since the easing of the situation, the KP has organized missions to Qatar and Kyrgyz Republic, and plans to do the same in Mozambique. The chairmanship and the committee that handles applications for participation in the KP will consider the reports emanating from those visits.

The Central African Republic (CAR) will also be on the agenda, with the KP planning to send an expert mission to the country to evaluate its compliance with rules aimed at preventing the export of conflict diamonds. In addition, the KP will select a new vice chair for 2022, with that country taking over as chair in 2023 from Botswana, which is slated to take the helm next year.

Meanwhile, Russia will work with KP partners to reach a consensus on the location of a future permanent KP secretariat to help streamline the organization’s work.

The KP canceled the 2020 plenary and intersessional meetings because of the pandemic. However, the 2021 intersessional took place in June, focusing on topics including digitization and human rights.


Petra Diamonds mulls selling Williamson mine

Williamson diamond mine

South Africa’s Petra Diamonds is considering selling its Williamson mine in Tanzania, even as it continues to work on bringing the operation back online in the second half of 2021.

Delivering its year-end results, Petra said that Williamson had been classified as a discontinued operation, which will mean an accounting loss of $52.1 million for the company. The mine was mothballed in April last year after diamond prices dropped following the global covid-19 outbreak.

BMO analyst Raj Ray said that while a sale could be viewed positively by the market, he sees potential risks in terms of realizing the value of $84 million (net book value of about $26 million at F2021 year-end) the bank ascribes to the asset, given the recent challenges.

“Recent efforts to procure a $25 million working capital facility with a local bank for the restart have so far been unsuccessful,” Raj wrote in a note to investors.

Petra has faced allegations of human rights abuses at the mine, resulting from the actions of its security guards.

The miner formed in February an internal committee to oversee the investigation, which concluded that “regrettable” incidents did take place at the mine in the past. Shortly after, it reached a £4.3 million (about $6m) settlement with claimants, even though it did not admit liability.

The company is currently engaged in talks with the Tanzanian government over a revised regulatory framework, which would lead to Williamson’s re-opening.

A key issue in those discussions concerns a parcel of 71,654 carats of diamonds effectively placed in limbo after deceased President John Magufuli blocked their export in 2017.

Despite covid-19 and issues at Williamson, Petra has staged a sharp turnaround in fortunes over the past financial year. It cut net debt by two-thirds in the year ended June 30 after a capital restructuring completed in March and rising sales drove strong growth in free cash flow.

Petra ended fiscal 2021 with net debt of $228 million, down from just under $693 million last year. Net profit reached $196.6 million, reflecting a $213.3 million gain after the successful debt restructuring.

Revenue rose 65% to $402.3 million on the back of higher sales of exceptional stones.

As for fiscal 2022, Petra reaffirmed production guidance of 3.3 million-3.6 million carats, with capital expenditure of $78 million- $92 million.


Lucara Secures $220M in Financing to Take Mine Underground

Karowe Mine in Botswana
Karowe Mine in Botswana 

Lucara Diamond Corp. said it has secured $220 million in financing to help take the Karowe Mine in Botswana underground and extend its life by about 20 years.

Karowe is responsible for producing some of the most significant diamonds recovered in recent years, including the 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona,” which Graff bought for $53 million, and a 1,758-carat diamond that Louis Vuitton is turning into jewelry.

The credit-approved senior debt facilities include two tranches: $170 million to go toward the development of the underground mine and $50 million to support the ongoing operation of the open pit.

The underground expansion has an estimated capital cost of $514 million and is expected to take five years. The balance of development capital for the project is expected to come from cash flow from the mine’s ongoing open-pit operations.

In a statement announcing the financing, Lucara President and CEO Eira Thomas called securing the financing “an important achievement for Lucara and a strong endorsement of our underground expansion plans.”
She said the loans will supplement the cash flow from the open-pit portion of Karowe for the next five years and will extend the life of the mine from 2025 to at least 2040.

The five lenders on the $220 million financing facility for Lucara are: ING Bank N.V., Natixis, the London branch of Societe Generale, Africa Finance Corp., and Afreximbank. Thomas described them as having “significant mining and metals track records and experience in Africa.”

Closing on the facilities is subject to completion of definitive documentation and the satisfaction of certain terms and conditions, including Know Your Customer (KYC) checks.

The target closing date for the financing package is mid-2021, with financing expected to be in place by the second half of the year.

Lucara made the financing announcement the day before it released its first-quarter 2021 results.

Revenues totaled $53.1 million, or $579 per carat sold, for the miner in Q1. Net income was $3.4 million.

That is a significant improvement over Q1 2020, when the onset of the pandemic limited sales to $34.1 million and caused Lucara to record a loss of $3.2 million.

First-quarter 2021 results also are up when compared with 2019, when Lucara reported revenues of $48.7 million, or $512 per carat sold. Net income for the latter, however, was higher at $7.4 million.

The company said overall, the diamond market started 2021 in its healthiest position in five years following strong holiday seasons in the United States and China, and careful rough supply management by producers, which has helped to recalibrate polished inventories.

Source: nationaljeweler

Alrosa to Sell 242ct. Rough Diamond

The 242-carat rough diamond. (Alrosa)

Alrosa will auction a 242.31-carat diamond in Dubai later this month, one of the largest gem-quality rough stones the Russian miner has unearthed in the past decade, it said Friday. The opening price will be in excess of $2 million.

The March 22 sale will mark Alrosa’s 100th large-diamond auction. The company rarely trades Russian-mined rough diamonds of this magnitude — those that can produce a 100-carat polished stone or larger — because the law grants the state the right to examine and buy them.

“Even when it is possible to put them on sale on the market, we prefer to cut and polish the diamond[s] in-house,” said Evgeny Agureev, Alrosa’s head of sales. “Thus, today we are especially pleased to present this exceptional lot as part of our 100th international auction.”

Viewings will take place at Alrosa’s sales office in Dubai from March 14 to 21. Rough diamonds weighing 190.74 and 136.21 carats will also be available, as will several other stones above 10.8 carats.


Lucapa’s Lulo diamonds fetch US$5.9 million


Lucapa Diamond Company and its partners have announced the results of the first diamond sale of 2021 by Sociedade Mineria Do Lulo (SML) from its Lulo alluvial mine in Angola.

The rough diamond parcel of 4,273 carats was sold for a total of US$5.9 million (A$7.7 million) or US$1,375 (A$1,793) per carat.

Lucapa MD, Stephen Wetherall comments: “As with the first sale of Mothae diamonds in 2021, prices achieved by SML at this sale continued to reflect the positive industry mood, and with sales from both operations in 2021 already totalling A$15 million, it has been a solid start to the year.”

Source: miningreview

Lucara recovers 341 carat white diamond

341 carat white diamond found at the Karowe mine in Botswana

Canada’s Lucara Diamond has found an unbroken 341-carat white gem-quality rock at its prolific Karowe mine in Botswana, with analysts estimating it could fetch more than $10 million.

The Vancouver based miner said the diamond was recovered over the Christmas period from milling of ore coming from the south western quadrant of Karowe’s South Lobe.

The diamond is the 54th stone over 200 carats recovered at Karowe since it began commercial operations in 2012.

The find builds on previous historic recoveries which include the 342-carat Queen of the Kalahari, the 549 carat Sethunya, the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona found in 2015, and the 1758 carat Sewelô, recovered in 2019.

Beyond Sewelô, the only larger diamond ever unearthed is the 3,106 carat Cullinan Diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905. The Cullinan was later cut into smaller stones, some of which now form part of British royal family’s crown jewels.


Petra Diamonds’ investors back restructuring

Petra Diamond’s Finsch mine in South Africa

Struggling Petra Diamonds (LON: PDL) said on Wednesday its investors have approved plans to restructure the business, a move that aims to provide the miner with a more stable, deleveraged capital structure to ensure its short and long-term viability.

Over 95% of shareholders voted in favour of a resolution that includes reducing authorized share capital of the company by cutting the nominal value of all ordinary shares from 10p to 0.001p.

It also involves an increase to Petra’s authorized share capital through the creation of 8.5-million ordinary shares and the authorization for directors to allot ordinary shares up to £88,447 ( just over 8.8-million ordinary shares).

Hefty debt
Petra Diamonds’ weak financial position, a product of stagnant demand and heavy borrowing to expand its mines, particularly the iconic Cullinan, pushed it to put itself up for sale in June. Petra reversed the decision in October, opting instead for the debt-for-equity restructuring approved Wednesday.

The company noted it expected to complete the reorganization in the first quarter of 2021.

Petra’s shares slumped by more than 80% last year as the covid-19 pandemic battered the global diamond sector, with mines forced to shut down while consumer demand continued to fall.

The diamond miner, which has three operations in South Africa and one in Tanzania, is also dealing with allegations of human rights abuses at its Williamson mine in Tanzania, resulting from the actions of its security guards.


Lucapa 100 carat diamond bonanza continues


Lucapa Diamond Company has recovered the 16th 100 plus carat diamond from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola, Africa.

The 127 carat gem quality white stone is the third 100 plus carat diamond delivered this year.

Lucapa recovered the stone from the flood plain area in Mining Block 24 the first 100 plus carat diamond produced in this mining block.

It was found during Lucapa’s dry season operations.

“The recovery of this 127 carat stone, which is Lulo’s 16th 100 plus carat diamond recovered, continues to showcase the exceptional nature of the lulo alluvial deposit and highlights the potential of the mining campaign planned for these previously untouched and expansive leziria areas along the Cacuilo River,” Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall said.

The discovery was preceded by a 46 carat pink coloured diamond recovered at the Lulo mine last week. It was cut and polished into three diamonds.

Meanwhile, the largest stone in carat found at Lulo was a 404 carat diamond the largest recorded gem in Angola, which was discovered in 2016.

Source: australianmining

Botswana Diamonds acquires Sekaka from embattled Petra

Botswana Diamonds

Botswana Diamonds (LON:BOD) said on Monday it had completed the acquisition of Sekaka, the exploration vehicle that belonged to embattled rival Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL) and which held three prospecting licenses in the country’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

In one of its licenses, Sekaka had singled out the KX36 kimberlite pipe, which is situated about 70 km from Gem Diamonds’ Ghaghoo mine, and 260 km north-west of Botswana’s capital Gaborone.

Sekaka also had a recently built, fit-for-purpose bulk sampling plant on-site that includes crushing, scrubbing, dense media separation circuits and X-ray recovery modules within a secured area.

The acquisition includes an extensive database, built up over 15 years of exploration.

Botswana Diamonds believes the information contained in the database will provide substantial support to its future kimberlite exploration activities in the mining-dependent country, the world’s second-largest diamond producer.

“We are delighted that this acquisition has now closed. This paves the way to explore commercial development options for KX36 and begin to evaluate the extensive database in conjunction with ours to discover more kimberlites in prime diamond real estate,” chairperson John Teeling said in a media statement.

Diamond exports from the southern African nation dropped 42% to $1.49 billion in the first nine months of this year as production fell 29% to 12.3 million carats due to covid-related restrictions.

Botswana’s mining sector provides a fifth of the country’s GDP and 80% of its foreign exchange earnings.

Mounting woes
Petra Diamonds, the former owner of Sekaka, has been struggling for over two years. Its weak financial position pushed it to shed non-core assets and put itself up for sale in June.

The company reversed the decision in October, opting instead for a debt-for-equity restructuring. The deal would leave existing shareholders with just 9% of the company.

Petra is also dealing with allegations of human rights abuses at its Williamson mine in Tanzania, resulting from the actions of its security guards.

It recently reported a 36% fall in revenue and a net loss of $223 million (168.7 million pounds) for the year ended June 30, as the coronavirus pandemic deepened the company’s financial woes.