Monthly Archives: May 2017

De Beers taps into polished diamonds market with first-time auction

Anglo American’s De Beers, the world’s largest rough diamond producer by value, has decided to begin selling its own polished diamonds in auctions for the first time in its history.

The pilot auction, scheduled for June, will include a wide range of polished stones manufactured directly from the company’s own rough diamonds.

The pilot auction, scheduled for June 29, will include a wide range of polished stones manufactured directly from De Beer’s own rough diamonds.All the polished rocks will carry grading reports from both the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR) — De Beers’ in-house grading unit — and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

“We are interested in testing the level of demand from polished buyers for diamonds that have a clear and attractive source of origin, and that offer the assurance of product integrity that dual certification provides,” Neil Ventura, the miner’s executive vice president of auction sales, said in the statement.

If successful, the process would provide De Beers with more insight into the polished market, while also helping consumers fill gaps in supply or inventory if they were unable to find goods at the company’s rough auctions, he added.

All registered De Beers auction buyers will be eligible to bid in the first sale, which takes place on June 29.

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Henry Sapiecha

Lucara gets almost $18M for fragment of its massive ‘Lesedi La Rona’ diamond

Canada’s Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC), the company that hit the jackpot in 2015 after finding the world’s second-largest diamond, just got $17.5 million for a piece that broke from that rock, the now historic 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona.”

To date, Lucara has sold 145 diamonds for more than $1 million each.The 373.7-carat diamond, sold during the Vancouver-based miner’s $54.8 million recent tender to luxury jeweller Graff Diamonds, was one of 15 large and high value rocks offered by the company.

Just like the 1,109-carat diamond it found in 2015, all the stones sold this week were mined at Lucara’s Karowe mine in Botswana, which has been yielding massive rocks as of late.

Last year, the miner sold one of those mammoths — the 813-carat “The Constellation” — for $63 million, setting a new record for a rough gem.

It wasn’t that lucky when it came to three-billion-year-old “Lesedi La Rona,” meaning “our light” in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana, as the rock failed to sell at a Sotheby’s auction in June last year.

This is the 373.72-carat rock, once part of the second largest gem quality diamond ever discovered. (Image courtesy of Graff Diamonds.)

The gem, second in size only to the Cullinan diamond in the British Crown jewels, was expected to go for at least $70 million. The highest bid, however, was around $61 million, leaving it in Lucara’s hands.

To date, the company has sold 145 diamonds for more than $1 million each, bringing in revenues of more than $528 million, its President and CEO William Lamb said in the statement.

Botswana, the focus of Lucara, is the world’s largest producer of diamonds and the trade has transformed it into a middle-income nation.

Henry Sapiecha

These were the world’s top producing diamond mines in 2016

While diamond industry experts warn that demand is expected to outstrip supply as early as 2019, the largest mines keep producing the coveted rocks at full steam.

Here are last year’s top 10 diamond mines in terms of output and value, based on data compiled by expert Paul Zimnisky.

1. Jwaneng, Botswana

Produced 11,975,000 carats, worth $2,347 million

Jwaneng, the richest diamond mine in the world, is located in south-central Botswana in the Naledi river valley of the Kalahari. It’s 2 kilometres across at its widest point and patrolled by colossal 300-tonne trucks that labour up the terraced slopes.

Nicknamed “the Prince of Mines”, Jwaneng was opened in 1982, as the diamond trade helped Botswana go from being one of the world’s poorest countries to one of Africa’s wealthiest.

2. Jubilee, Russia

Produced 9,231,000 carats, worth $1,431 million

Belonging to ALROSA, the world’s top diamond miner by output in carats, the Jubilee mine (also known as Yubileinaya), has been in production since 1989. It’s among the world’s biggest diamond mines by area.

3. International, Russia

Produced 3,948,000 carats, worth $829 million

Also known as Internatsionalny, this underground mine has been in operations since 1999. ALROSA estimates the deposit will run out of diamonds by 2022.

4. Orapa, Botswana

Produced 7,931,000 carats, worth $753 million

The Orapa mine is the ninth largest diamond mine in the world by reserve and the world’s largest mine by area. It has been in production since 1971. It’s owned by Debswana, a joint venture of De Beers and the Botswana Government.

Currently Orapa is mining at a depth of 250 metres and is expected to reach 450 metres by 2026.

5. Debmarine, Namibia

Produced 1,169,000 carats, worth $585 million

De Beers’ Debmarine uses a fleet of five specialized marine mining vessels to screen material recovered from the ocean floor.

These deposits are then airlifted by helicopter for further processing on shore. It’s Namibia’s largest diamond producer, accounting for 70% of the country’s output of these stones.

6. Catoca, Angola

Produced 6,700,000 carats*, worth $570 million

This diamond mine is the world’s fourth largest. It’s owned by a consortium of international mining interests, with Endiama (the state mining company of Angola) having a majority stake.

* = Figure not officially confirmed

7. Nyurbinskaya, Russia

Produced 5,001,000 carats, worth $565 million

The Nyurba Mining and Processing Division (MPD) is one of the youngest enterprises of ALROSA. It operates at the Nakyn ore field, which includes the Nyurbinskya and Botuobinsky open-pits, and two same-name alluvial placers.

8. Diavik, Canada

Produced 6,658,000 carats, worth $539 million.

Operated by Rio Tinto, which owns 60% of the mine, Diavik began production in 2003 and has an annual output of some 6-7 million carats of predominantly large, white gem-quality diamonds. It’s Canada’s largest diamond mine in terms of carat production. Dominion Diamond owns the remaining 40%.

9. Ekati, Canada

Produced 5,200,000 carats, worth $463 million

The Ekati Diamond Mine (named after the Tlicho word meaning “fat lake”) is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. Located about 300km north-east of Yellowknife, near Lac de Gras in Canada’s North-West Territories, is run by Dominion Diamond Corporation (DDC)

10. Mir, Russia

Produced 3,191,000 carats $463 million

Although open pit mining at this operation ended in 2004, ALROSA built a series of underground tunnels, which have continued to yield high-quality rough diamonds. The remaining pit is so huge it creates a vortex potentially strong enough to suck helicopters into its depth

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Henry Sapiecha