Alrosa Leaves the Responsible Jewellery Council

Rough diamonds Alrosa

Russian miner Alrosa has suspended its membership in the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), both organizations announced last week.

The development came just over a month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The RJC board of directors voted to accept Alrosa’s decision, the standards groups said Friday.

Alrosa exited the RJC board in early March, but remained a member of the organization. RJC received criticism for not removing the company: Last week, luxury group Richemont and jeweler Pandora both stood down from the organization in protest, while RJC executive director Iris Van der Veken resigned over the issue.

The organization defended itself, noting that it was waiting for the outcome of a legal review.

“Beginning on March 3, the [RJC] board immediately began a comprehensive, third-party legal review to ensure it had the appropriate authority, within its constitutional documents, to take action,” the RJC statement continued. “The law firm selected — having concluded its own standard conflict of interest assessment — commenced their review of RJC’s governance, the board’s authorities, training modules and many other documents and processes.”

Sanctions by the US and UK governments during February and March complicated the situation and delayed completion of the review, the RJC explained. The board received the final document in the middle of last week.

“Taking any action prior to the delivery of the legal opinion would have exposed the RJC to significant legal risk,” it argued.

Alrosa — in which the Russian government owns a 33% stake — confirmed its suspension, saying it cared for the industry “as much as it cares for its mining communities.”

The company “believes in the diamond industry and the people who work to make it great all over the globe,” the statement continued. “We are one of the major contributors to the sustainable development of this industry. We will continue to uphold our highest standards of responsible business conduct and business ethics that are an integral part of our culture and principles.”


Lesotho joins the diamond league

Lesotho rough diamonds

The auction came as the Mountain Kingdom explores how to ensure diamond mines are at least 51 percent-owned by locals, which will include the entry of small-scale miners into the sector.

Lesotho’s diamonds are usually auctioned in Antwerp, Belgium. Buyers from as far as the Netherlands and Israel were joined by those from neighbouring South Africa and locals at the inaugural auction.

Launched by Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, the auction sold off diamonds collected from the public and those confiscated by the police in recent months. Of the 493 diamonds auctioned, 140 were voluntarily handed over by the public while 353 were confiscated by the police.

The government offered an amnesty from November 2020 to March 2021 to anyone in possession of undocumented diamonds, allowing them to hand the gems over without fear of prosecution. The auction was held from May 27 to 29.

Mining Minister Serialong Qoo said all revenue from the confiscated diamonds would be forfeited to the state and proceeds from gems voluntarily handed to the government would be paid into the holders’ bank accounts.

“I am very delighted that this day has finally come after it was initially delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a big move as parliament has now embraced the idea of letting Basotho mine with their picks and shovels legally,” said Minister Qoo.

Mining Ministry spokesperson Ms ‘Makananelo Motseko this week said a final report on the auction was being compiled and would be made public.

At the auction, Deputy PM Mr Mokhothu said, “We hope this local auctioning will spell the end for illegal diamond dealing as trade will be done securely and legally. This occasion gives me hope that soon, all of Lesotho’s diamonds will be sold in-country and benefit it economically.”

He also said Lesotho should move towards ensuring that at least 51 percent of shareholding in the diamond mines is held locally while investors would hold the remaining 49 percent.

Source: southerntimesafrica

Lucapa recovers third 100+ carat diamond for 2021

114-carat white diamond recovered at Lulo

Lucapa Diamond Company has discovered a 114-carat white diamond from the Lulo alluvial diamond mine in Angola, Africa.

The 114-carat Type IIa D-colour white diamond is the third diamond mined from Lulo’s mining block 46 (MB46) in the last eight weeks.

Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall said block 46 was the best mined block to date.

Lucapa stated that the new discovery demonstrated the value of Lulo’s Canguige catchment and its adjacent kimberlites.

“To date, MB46 has averaged one 100-plus carat diamond recovered for every ~33,000 billion cubic metres of gravel processed. This is the best occurrence rate for any block mined to date at Lulo, including the prolific MB08,” Lucapa stated.

The 114 carat diamond is the 19th 100-plus carat diamond recovered from Lulo.

Lucapa started commercial diamond production at the site in 2015.

The recovery follows Lucapa’s announcement of discovering a 215-carat diamond from its Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, Africa this week.

Lucapa plans to expand Mothae to a 1.6 million tonnes a year processing capacity, a 45 per cent increase from its current rate.

Source: australianmining

Lucapa finds massive white diamond at Mothae

215-carat diamond

Lucapa Diamond Company has recovered a 215-carat diamond from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, Africa.

The discovery is the largest Type IIa D-colour white diamond recovered through the 1.1 million tonnes a year Mothae plant since mining operations commenced in January 2019.

The stone is also the second 200-carat-plus and fifth 100-carat-plus diamond recovered through the plant.

Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall said the continued recovery of large diamonds at Mothae validated its recent investment decision to expand capacity at the mine.

The company plans to expand Mothae’s processing capacity by around 45 per cent to 1.6 million tonnes a year.

This is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2021.

“Lucapa has now produced 23 (100-carat-plus) diamonds, four of which are greater than 200 carats (across the two mines) and we, together with the (Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho) as mine partner in Lesotho and Endiama and Rosas & Petalas as mine partners in Angola, look forward to many more such exceptional mining recoveries,” Wetherall said.

The Lesotho Government holds a 30 per cent stake in the Mothae mine, with Lucapa holding the remaining 70 per cent.

Source: Australian mining

Bristow to finally put Rockwell Diamonds saga to bed after firm unveils wind-up plan

Lucapa diamonds

MARK Bristow, CEO of Barrick Gold Corporation, is to finally close the book on Rockwell Diamonds, a company he chaired and which he once attempted to save from bankruptcy.

Rockwell Diamonds announced today the Canadian listing authority had revoked a cease trade order which had been issued as the company had previously failed to produce quarterly numbers with the accompanying management discussion.

The company today filed third quarter numbers and announced its intention to wind up its affairs in which a company owned by Bristow, ‘Bristco’ would mop up the interests of minority shareholders in Rockwell and put them into ‘Amalco’.

Dissenting shareholders would have their interests exchanged on a one-for-one basis for redeemable preference shares of Amalco.

The redeemable preference shares would then be immediately redeemed by Amalco in exchange for half a Canadian cent per share, payable in cash. A meeting of shareholders requiring a simple majority has been arranged for March 2.

Bristow first sought to bail out Rockwell Diamonds, which was once run by his brother, John Bristow, in 2014, in which Mark Bristow bought $1.1m in debentures. In 2016, Bristow embarked on a process of ‘fumigation’ in which he restructured the firm’s board and conducted an overview of its operating activities.

Unfortunately, the company never managed to gain traction at its key asset, the 200,000 cubic metres a month Wouterspan, situated in the alluvial diamond fields region of the Northern Cape province.

There was a proposed $8m recapitalisation of the company in 2017.

The company was subsequently put into liquidation proceedings following attempts by a business practitioner to save it from failure. The company was in and out of court throughout this period with claims of corruption involving contractors.

In 2019, Bristow completed the merger of his Randgold Resources with Barrick Gold, a fabulously successful transaction which as coincided with high gold prices.


Mothae diamonds sell for $7.2 million

lucapa Mothae diamonds

Lucapa Diamond Company and its partner, the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, have provided an update on the first sale of diamonds in 2021 from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho.

The parcel of 4,676 carats of rough diamonds were sold for a total of US$5.6 million or US$1,198 per carat. This is the highest average US$ per carat price achieved by Mothae on the sale of any run of mine production parcel.

The sale included a number of Specials (diamonds weighing >10.8 carats), including the 101 carat D colour diamond recovered following re-opening of the mine in Q4 2020, which is the most valuable diamond recovered to date at Mothae.

Lucapa MD, Stephen Wetherall comments:

“Following a tough 2020, where both of our mines were impacted by the pandemic, our valued teams have shown their resilience and operations have bounced back strongly.

“The good recoveries at both mines and growing demand leading to strengthening diamond prices has seen a strong start to 2021.”

“We look forward to Mothae receiving further value following implementation of the cutting and polishing partnership and to completing the expansion at Mothae this quarter.”

Source: miningreview

Lucara to Sell all High-Value Diamonds through HB Group

lucara sewelo

Lucara is to sell all its larger rough diamonds through the Antwerp-based HB Group in what it describes as a “groundbreaking partnership”.

The Canadian miner has a reputation for high-value type IIa diamonds at its Karowe Mine, in Botswana, and was proud to announce its discovery of the 1,758-carat Sewelo (pictured), the world’s second largest diamond, last April.

It has been stockpiling all +10.8 carats, which account for around 70 per cent of its output, since early March.

Now it has announced a unique, new supply arrangement, with purchase prices based on estimated polished outcome, with a true up paid on actual achieved polished sales thereafter, less a fee and the cost of manufacturing. 

 Lucara says it will benefit higher prices than it currently achieves at tender, regular cash flow, and a more efficient supply chain as well as tax benefits and beneficiation opportunities for the Botswana government.

Eira Thomas, CEO said: “Building on the partnership established for the manufacturing of the Sewelô earlier this year, Lucara is pleased to have now secured a broader supply agreement with HB to purchase all of our +10.8 carat rough diamonds, through to year-end. 

“It is our strong view that the success of our industry in these very uncertain times, requires better alignment between producers, manufacturers, and retailers to establish a healthier, more efficient global diamond supply chain.

We are excited to be working with HB to support this new paradigm.”

Source: IDEX

Virus Likely to Impact Demand at De Beers Sight

Rough diamonds De Beers

De Beers and its clients expect a slowdown in rough-diamond sales at the company’s Botswana sight this week amid concerns about the coronavirus.

“It’s fair to say there will be an impact on rough demand in the short term,” De Beers chief financial officer Nimesh Patel said Thursday in an interview with Rapaport News. “I’d expect we’d see that at the [February] sight.”

The downturn in China’s retail market due to the virus outbreak has left manufacturers uncertain how long it will take them to sell diamonds they cut. Companies that supply to that region have been especially affected.

Rough that can produce polished with clarity above VS has shown weakness in recent tenders due to the lower Chinese demand, one sightholder said on condition of anonymity. Lower-clarity items destined for the American market have performed better, he added.

“It’s a mixed picture,” the sightholder explained. “People that are strongly focused on the Far East will be reluctant to buy, while those that work with the US and maybe Europe still seem to be going OK.”

De Beers will hold back goods rather than lowering prices, the dealer added, predicting that the sight would be small in value. The miner has kept prices stable for the sale, which began Monday, two sightholders confirmed with Rapaport News.

Another De Beers client expected buyers would take up most of their allocations at this sight, but said the next sale beginning March 30 would be weak if the coronavirus difficulties were still going on.

“I’m hopeful this crisis might not last more than two or three weeks,” he said.

Meanwhile, Patel pointed out that some goods could be rerouted from China to other markets, while certain constant sources of demand, such as weddings, would be delayed rather than disappearing completely. In addition, the midstream has started the year with relatively low inventories due to a reasonably strong fourth-quarter holiday season, putting it in a good position to weather the difficulties, he said.

“We’ve been through periods like this before in the industry,” the executive said. “This is, hopefully, a one-off impact, and the sooner the virus can be contained, and the sooner we can get back to the normal operation of those economies, the better.”


Karowe Yields Massive 549ct. Rough

Lucara 549 carat rough diamond

Lucara Diamond Corp. has unearthed a 549-carat white diamond at its Karowe mine, the fourth-largest stone in the history of the Botswana deposit.

The unbroken stone, which is of “exceptional purity,” is the first large diamond Lucara has recovered using its Mega Diamond Recovery (MDR) equipment, the miner said Wednesday. The unit, which the miner commissioned in 2017, is specifically designed to recover large stones early in the extraction process to reduce the risk of breakage.

The rough stone is worth $15 million to $20 million, according to an estimate by Berenberg investment bank. However, it could potentially sell for more, the bank added.

The diamond came from the high-value EM/PK(S) portion of discovery of Karowe’s lucrative south lobe, Lucara noted. The same area yielded a 176-carat, gem-quality stone earlier this year, and was also the source of the 1,758-carat Sewelô, the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona and the 813-carat Constellation.

“Lucara is extremely pleased to be starting off 2020 with the recovery of two large, high-quality diamonds that build on the positive momentum generated following the completion of a strong fourth-quarter sale in December,” Lucara CEO Eira Thomas said.

Lucara has retrieved six diamonds over 100 carats since the beginning of the year. It will announce its plans for the sale of the 549-carat and 176-carat diamonds shortly.

The miner’s share price rose 4% in early trading Thursday following the announcement.


De Beers Cuts Prices as Rough Sales Slide

De Beers

De Beers’ rough-diamond sales slumped to a 20-month low of $390 million in June amid weak sentiment in the manufacturing sector. Sightholders noted the price cuts De Beers implemented on certain categories were not enough to stimulate demand.

“The reaction to the price adjustments was lukewarm,” observed one Antwerp-based manufacturer who attended last week’s sale in Gaborone. “It’s a case of too little, too late, as polished prices have declined and we’re not seeing the same movement in the rough market.”

De Beers reduced prices by an estimated 4% to 8% on low-quality and smaller stones, sight participants reported. Sightholders who spoke with Rapaport News expected the company would need to make further cuts later this year, but recognized it was unlikely to do so at the next sight.

“We don’t expect a correction in July because that will start a downward spiral,” said one India-based sightholder. “But people will refuse goods. The mood is not good, even after this month’s reduction, as manufacturers are under pressure.”

High inventory

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver noted that rough buyers were cautious in June due to higher-than-normal polished-diamond inventories in the midstream. The sight was the lowest on record by De Beers since October 2017, and sales were down 33% compared to last June.

Manufacturers have cut production by an estimated 20% to 30% this year to reduce those inflated inventory levels, sightholders estimated. They’ve also shifted their production to lower-value goods to keep workers busy at a minimal investment, one India-based sightholder added.

As a result, De Beers’ sales declined 18% to $2.38 billion in the first half of 2019, while Alrosa’s rough sales fell 35% to $1.46 billion in the first five months of the year, according to Rapaport calculations.

Midstream pressure

Meanwhile, Cleaver also noted the challenging environment in China was affecting sentiment in the diamond market, while the US retail environment remained solid. Polished trading at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which ended Sunday, was quiet, dealers noted. Attendance was down amid the mass protests that have taken place in the city during June, but also because Chinese buyers are not looking to make large purchases.

“People are hesitant to buy in a downward-trending market because they don’t yet see a bottom,” explained one Hong Kong-based polished dealer. “The mood is not good.”

US orders are more consistent, observed a Mumbai-based sightholder. US retailers are not making major orders, but he expects that will start to happen in the next month or two. Diamond trading generally remains quiet in July, when most US wholesalers close for the summer vacation.

“We expect the market will stabilize in late July,” he said. “But the problem isn’t from the retail side. It’s the business-to-business (B2B) trading that is low and the manufacturing sector that is under pressure. People don’t want to do business in the rough market.”