Diamond Industry is Shrinking

rough diamond
large natural rough diamond being inspected

The value of rough diamonds mined globally during 2023 fell by just over 20 per cent, down from $16bn in 2022 to $12.7bn according to the latest Kimberley Process (KP) figures.

The volume of diamonds mined fell by 7.6 per cent to 111.5m carats, and average per carat prices slipped almost 14 per cent from $132.27 to $114.10.

Production in Russia fell by 11 per cent, from 42m carats in 2022 to 37.3m carats, although average price carat actually increased by 14 per cent from $84.77 to $96.64. Exports were down 5 per cent to $3.68bn.

Botswana’s production volume increased slightly to 25.1m carats in 2023 but plunged 30 per cent by value, from $4.7bn in 2022 to $3.3bn.

The global diamond industry peaked in 2017, according to historical KP data, when production hit 150m carats, a 16 per cent leap from 126m carats the previous year.

It held firm at 149m carats in 2018, then slipped to 138m carats in 2019; 107m carats in 2020 (down 22 per cent) and 119m carats in 2021.

Source: Idex

Gem Diamonds unearths 123 carat rough diamond in Lesotho  

Gem Diamonds lowers 2022 guidance despite solid Q3

Letšeng is the world’s highest dollar per carat diamond mine.

Gem Diamonds has announced the recovery of a 123.2 carat type 11 white diamond at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho.  

This is the eighth greater than 100 diamond found at the operation in 2024, the company said.  

Type IIa diamonds are the most valued and collectable precious gemstones, as they contain either very little or no nitrogen atoms in their crystal structure. Boart diamonds are stones of low quality that are used in powder form as an abrasive. 

The prolific Letšeng mine is one of the world’s ten largest diamond operations by revenue. At 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, it is also one of the world’s most elevated diamond mines. 

The Letšeng mine is famous for the production of large, exceptional white quality diamonds, making it the highest dollar per carat kimberlite mine in the world, Gem said.  

Source: mining.com

Sanctioned Alrosa Buys a Gold Mine

Sanctioned Russian diamond miner Alrosa has concluded the purchase of a gold mine in the far east of the country and will invest $276m developing it.

The move comes seven months after the G7 and EU countries introduced the first phase of restrictions on the import of Russian diamonds.

Alrosa’s subsidiary, Almazy Anabara company, has bought 100 per cent of the Degdekan gold ore field in the Magadan region, according to a report by Russia’s Interfax news agency, from Polyus the country’s largest gold producer (also sanctioned).

Alrosa, the state-run miner, already has some gold mining operations, with an output of around 180kg annually.

But this marks a significant expansion, with the projected production of 3.3 tons from 2030.

In 2015 Russia’s State Reserves Commission said the deposit had reserves of 38.3 tonnes of gold.

“The development of the gold deposit will provide an additional synergistic effect for Alrosa’s business and will help increase its financial stability in the long term,” Alrosa CEO Pavel Marinychev said in a statement.

Alrosa sold $4bn of diamonds globally in 2022. The G7 nations, which are now blacklisting its diamonds, account for 70 per cent of diamond purchases worldwide.

Source: IDEX

Russian exports of diamonds to Hong Kong up 18-fold in 5M24


In the first five months of the year, imports of Russian diamonds to Hong Kong increased 18-fold year on year, according to data from Hong Kong’s Statistics Bureau published on its official website on June 30.

Hong Kong has dramatically stepped its imports of diamonds from Russia, purchasing $657.3mn worth of Russian diamonds in the first five months of 2024.

In the period from January to May 2024, Hong Kong’s imports of Russian diamonds soared from $36.5mn a year earlier to $657.3mn. As a result, Russia has become the third-largest supplier of diamonds to Hong Kong, with its share of total diamond imports rising to 12% from just 1% in 2023.

India remains the leading supplier of diamonds to Hong Kong, with imports valued at $2.9bn, followed by Israel with $716.6mn. Notably, both India and Israel, unlike Russia, do not mine diamonds themselves.

The substantial increase in Hong Kong’s diamond imports from Russia highlights a significant shift in the global diamond market. Dubai has also become a major market for the trade in Russian diamonds.

As bne IntelliNews reported, the EU included sanctions on Russian diamond exports as part of the twelfth sanctions package, but due to intensive lobbying by Belgium, where Antwerp is the leading European diamond market and the number-one destination for rough diamonds from Russian miner Alrosa, the sanctions were watered down and will be phased in gradually.

Russian diamond sanctions watered down again

Afraid of losing the diamond business completely to the growing rival markets in Asia and the Middle East, the EU has watered down the restrictions on trading Russian diamonds again last week.

The EU has extended the “sunrise period” for sanctions on Russian diamonds by six months and included an important concession for goods that predate the new rules, according to a statement released by the EU on June 24.

The EU also said the update “fine-tunes” the import ban on Russian diamonds included in the twelfth package and is included as part of the fourteenth sanctions package. Earlier in June, De Beers called for a one-year extension to the sunrise period for the G7 sanctions on Russian diamonds, but it is up to the individual countries to rule on the implementation of the ban.

The mandatory traceability programme for imports of rough and polished natural diamonds will now take effect on March 1, 2025 instead of September 1, 2024. This extension is intended “to allow more time to set up the G7 traceability scheme,” the EU explained reports Rapport.

This decision comes in response to calls from diamond trading powerhouse De Beers and other industry leaders to extend the interim period during which importers can use alternative documentation to prove that diamonds are not of Russian origin. Once this period ends, importers into the EU must use a traceability-based certification scheme to verify imports of diamonds over 0.50 carats.

Additionally, the EU has introduced a “grandfathering” clause to exempt diamonds that were already located in the EU or a third country other than Russia – or were manufactured in a third country – before the new rules were implemented. The EU ban on direct imports of diamonds from Russia began on January 1, 2024, while the ban on goods processed outside Russia started on March 1, 2024.

The EU said that these pre-existing diamonds no longer provide revenue to Russia.

“We are extremely pleased that, after months of intense negotiations, we have succeeded in pushing the needle to allow regularisation of so-called ‘grandfathered stock,’” said the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). “Sanctioning these goods and prohibiting their trade would impose an unfair and severe financial burden on diamond companies without significantly impacting Russia’s revenues.”

The extension and concession aim to balance the need for stringent sanctions with the “practical realities of the diamond industry,” providing additional time and clarity for businesses to adapt to the new regulations.

Moreover, temporary imports or exports of jewellery, for example for trade fairs or repairs, will not fall under the ban. In addition, the EU has delayed the prohibition on jewellery incorporating Russian diamonds processed in third countries until the European Council, the EU’s executive arm, “decides to activate” it, the EU statement said.

The US currently has the strictest limits on Russian trade, requiring self-certification for diamonds of 1 carat or lower, falling to 0.50 carats on September 1. Larger diamonds are not covered by the sanctions.

Source: Intellinews.com

Botswana GDP shrinks most since 2020 as diamond output plunges

Botswana’s economy contracted by the most since the peak of the pandemic in early 2020, after diamond production plunged.

Gross domestic product shrank an annual 5.3% in the first quarter, compared with growth of 1.9% in the prior three months.

The downturn was primarily influenced by a decrease in real value added of the diamond traders and mining & quarrying industries of 46.8% and 24.8% respectively, Statistics Botswana said in a report Friday.

Botswana is the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds by value, with the revenues making up the bulk of the southern African country’s budget receipts. The decline is likely to make meeting its fiscal targets for this year difficult. The central bank already warned last week that the government would probably miss its economic growth forecast of 4.2% because of weaker mining output.

The global diamond industry almost came to a standstill in the second half of last year as De Beers and Russia’s Alrosa PJSC — the two biggest miners — all but stopped supplies in a desperate attempt to stem a slump in prices. That hit earnings at De Beers, which mines more than three-quarters of its diamonds in Botswana.

Earlier this year De Beers said it expects any recovery in the beleaguered diamond market to be slow and gradual as the industry continues to suffer from weak economic growth in key markets such as China and the US.

Source: Mining.com

Petra Diamonds cuts targets and costs in tough market

Petra Diamonds revised on Thursday its guidance for the next two fiscal years and appointed a new finance leader as part of its plans to lower expenses and debt in a clear sign the diamond market remains in bad shape.

The South African miner had anticipated in December that the sector was beginning to recover. Six months later, Petra has instead cut its production targets. It now expects to produce between 2.8 million and 3.1 million carats in fiscal 2025 and between 2.9 million and 3.3 million in fiscal 2026. This represents a reduction of 18% and 19%, respectively, on the prior target-ranges’ midpoint.

The company also said it expected total carat recovery to be at the lower end of its target range of 2.74 million to 2.78 million for the current fiscal year.

These downgrades, announced in an investor day presentation, coincide with Petra’s plan to reduce operating costs by $30 million annually starting in the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2025. Total capital spending will be reduced this year to $100 million from the total spent in 2023, which was $117.1 million.

“We have worked hard to deliver an updated business profile in response to ongoing market challenges and to further enhance our resilience to future market and capital cycles,” chief executive Richard Duffy said in a statement.

Petra’s revisions come just a day after the world’s largest diamond producer by value, De Beers, posted disappointing results for its latest sales for the second time this year, and as Anglo American (LON: AAL) plans to sell it off. 


Petra announced it had appointed Johan Snyman to take on the role of chief financial officer starting from October 1. Snyman will replace Jacques Breytenbach, who will leave his position as CFO and director at the end of September due to personal reasons. 

“[Snyman] has played a crucial part in the progress of Petra since joining in January, and I am excited to collaborate with him in his new capacity,” Duffy said.

The new CFO joined Petra this year as financial controller, having worked as vice president for financial reporting at AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU). He has also previously held various financial roles in the mining sector.

Expansions unaffected

Despite the challenging market, Petra remains committed to expanding its Finsch and Cullinan mines in South Africa, it said, and it is projecting production to reach between 3.4 to 3.7 million carats by 2028.

Cullinan is Petra’s flagship mine and the source iconic diamonds, including the famed 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, which was cut to form the 530-carat Great Star of Africa. They are the two largest diamonds in the British Crown Jewels.

Petra finds 39.34-carat blue diamond at Cullinan mine
The Cullinan mine is also a source of rare blue diamonds.

Petra’s planned output increase, equivalent to 15% to 17% over three years, will require about $100 million annually. Duffy stated the plans will be financed internally.

Cullinan mine-life can be potentially extended beyond 2048. Finsch, South Africa’s second largest diamond operation by output, could be producing until around 2038.

Shares in Petra experienced high volatility in London after the announcements and were last down 1.96% to 40 pence. This leaves the miner with a total market capitalization of £78.63 million (about $100m).

Source: Mining.com

Gahcho Kué diamond mine surpasses spend threshold with NWT and Indigenous businesses

Naturally fluorescing rough diamond parcel from the Gahcho Kué mine. Credit: Mountain Province Diamonds

De Beers Group and Mountain Province Diamonds announced that their joint venture Gahcho Kué diamond mine has surpassed the C$2 billion spending threshold with Northwest Territories and Indigenous business.

The milestone represents 61% of the total C$3.2 billion spent on the project since 2015 when construction began. Local businesses supply welding, transportation logistics, trucking, passenger and cargo flights, labour, and camp catering. The venture has a stated goal of sourcing at least 60% of its requirements for the project from local businesses.

According to the NWT Bureau of Statistics, diamond mining is the largest contributor to the territory’s gross domestic product – C$588 million out of C$4.25 billion in 2023.

Key elements of the economic contribution of the Gahcho Kué mine include:

Gahcho Kué has a tiered contracting structure that gives preference to Indigenous and NWT businesses.
Since 2006, C$5.3 billion has been spent with local and Indigenous business in the Northwest Territories and northern Ontario by Gahcho Kué and De Beers Group’s wholly owned Snap Lake (NWT) and Victor (Ontario) mines. (Snap Lake and Victor are now in active closure).
In 2023, 69% of the Gahcho Kué mine spend was with NWT and Indigenous companies, totalling C$228 million, the highest amount spent with NWT businesses since construction.
In 2023, C$90 million was spent with companies operated by the mine’s impact benefit agreement (IBA) communities.
From 2006 to 2023, Gahcho Kué and Snap Lake mines have contributed a combined C$26.5 million in social investment within the NWT.
Gahcho Kué has also made significant payments to Indigenous communities in terms of six IBAs and has paid resource royalties to the government of the NWT.
Gahcho Kué was officially opened in 2016 and now provides 663 full-time equivalent jobs, including 245 jobs held by NWT residents.

The mine is located about 280 km northeast of Yellowknife, NWT, on the traditional territories of Tlicho, Dene and Metis peoples. De Beers is the 51% owner and operator. Mountain Province retains the remaining 49%.

In 2023 the project mined 3.3 million tonnes of kimberlite and recovered nearly 5.6 million carats (on a 100% basis). Guidance for 2024 is 4.2 million to 4.7 million carats.

Source: Mining.com

Lucapa Offloads Mothae Diamond Mine

Lucapa today (25 June) announced the sale of its 70 per cent stake in the Mothae mine, in Lesotho, to a local contractor for a nominal sum.

The Australian miner said it wanted to to focus on its core assets in Africa, where it has a 40 per cent stake in the Lulo alluvial mine, in Angola, and in Australia.

Mothae has produced over 150,000 carats since it started commercial production in 2019, bringing in more than $100m in revenue.

Lucapa says it will sell its stake in stake in Mothae Diamonds (Pty) Ltd to Lephema Executive Transport (Pty) Ltd, which has provided it with long-term contract mining services, for A$10,000 (US$6,660).

Mothae Diamonds, which owns the site, will pay Lucapa A$1m (US$666,000) in outstanding technical services payments.

“This agreement is the result of a period of offer and negotiation involving Lucapa and several interested parties,” said Lucapa managing director and CEO Nick Selby.

“(Lephema) Executive has a successful history with the Mothae Diamond Mine, having provided long-term contract mining services. Lucapa wanted to, as far as possible, see

this mine continue to operate and Executive are best placed to achieve this.

“The signing of this agreement is a key step towards Lucapa streamlining its portfolio and executing the new strategy which will focus on assets in Australia and Angola”.

Mothae has indicated resources of 180,000 carats and inferred resources of 960,000 carats, according to December 2023 figures provided by Lucapa, with a modelled per carat value of $606.

Lucapa said in its sales material that Mothae has recovered 13 +100ct diamonds (largest Type IIa gem 213cts), and 10 diamonds valued at over $1m.

Source: IDEX

Russia Seeks New Markets as “Illegal Unilateral Restrictions” Bite

Russia is seeking to strengthen ties with Brazil, India, China, and South Africa and other BRICS countries in response to tighter sanctions on diamonds from the G7 and EU.

Setting an agenda for “equal and fair interaction between the parties involved in all segments of the global diamond trade” was the focus of a roundtable discussion at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum earlier this month.

Russia currently chairs BRICS (the initial letters of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Later additions are Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates).

“The only universal mechanism for regulating the global diamond trade, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), is being undermined by the attempts of numerous countries to introduce unilateral trade barriers,” said BRICS in a statement.
Alrosa CEO Pavel Marinychev said: “New cooperation mechanisms will ensure the stability of the global diamond market and preserve the system of the free global trade of diamond products based on the core principles of the Kimberley Process.”

Russia warned back in November 2023 that sanctions on it diamonds would have a “boomerang” effect – harming the countries that imposed them more than Russia itself.

Nikolayev Aysen, head of Russia’s Yakutia republic, where state-controlled diamond miner Alrosa is based, told the BRICS audience: “Given the illegal unilateral restrictions that certain Western countries have imposed on Russian diamonds, it is crucial for us to support the efforts of ALROSA, which aim to diversify international supply markets. For example, this will make it possible to maintain the sustainable socioeconomic development of Yakutia.”

Source: IDEX

US Jewelers Warn Congress over Sanctions

US Capitol building at sunset, Washington DC, USA.

US jewelers have warned Congress of the harm that new sanctions on Russian diamonds will cause for the entire retail sector.

The trade association Jewelers of America (JA) met with with a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate to voice concerns over the 1 September restrictions that will require all goods of 0.50-scts and above to enter G7 countries via Antwerp for verification.

They say a single import channel will “cause maximum damage to the global diamond and jewelry supply chain, while having minimal effect on Russia’s diamond revenues”.

JA is urging all its members to lobby Congress and explain that the way the restrictions are being implemented will hurt jewelry businesses.

“JA has been working tirelessly behind the scenes and this visit to Washington, D.C. was a critical step to ensure we minimize unnecessary disruptions to the U.S. diamond industry,” said JA president & CEO David J. Bonaparte.

He and fellow JA representatives also called for a “grandfathering” clause to cover goods imported before 1 March (when the 1.0-cts and above restriction was imposed) and for clearer guidance on whether the current size limit applied only to individual, loose diamonds or to the total weight of all diamonds in finished jewelry.

Source: IDEX