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   Diamond News Archive

The HRD wants to further develop Antwerp as a world diamond centre, on the one hand by representing the sector in Belgium and abroad to public governments and professional organisations in the sector and on the other hand by supporting the image of the sector and by promoting the activities on the jewellery and gemstones markets in order to optimise the knowledge in and about the diamond sector.

This is why the diamond news agency was developed. The articles you find at AntwerpDiamondRings.com are reproduced from Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).


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» Petra Diamonds reports first profits
Source: AFNS

Petra Diamonds reported its first net profits ever in the second half of 2007—$8.2 million on revenues of $32.1 million, compared with a net loss of $9.5 million on revenues of $8.2 million in the second half of 2006. (All but $400,000 of revenues this year were from rough diamond sales; the $400,000 came from sales of 27.42 carats of polished diamonds. Last year, all company revenues were from rough diamond sales.)

This turnaround was the result of the company’s development from an exploration company into a diamond producing and exploration group. In the past 14 months, the company has grown its production assets by acquiring the Cullinan, Koffiefontein and Kimberley Underground mines from De Beers, adding these assets to its exploration base in Angola (at Alto Cuilo, Luangue), Botswana (Kalahari Diamonds) and operations in Sierra Leone (Kono). Cullinan is expected to add more than 1 million carats per year of gross production and the Kimberley Underground mines are more than 100,000 carats. In Sierra Leone, trial mining continues on two shafts, with 8,640 diamonds totaling 760 carats recovered to date, including a 10.55 carat octahedron.

Group revenue growth of 291 percent was driven largely by Koffiefontein sales, which the company began recording in July 2007 and which averaged $408 per carat. The company also reported a significant increase in the prices from production at its South African fissure mines, Helam, Star and Sedibeng, which averaged $182 carat, up 44 percent. Overall South African production totaled 101,213 carats for the second half of 2007, a 17 percent increase from 86,396 carats in the second half of 2006, and 115,918 carats were sold, a 79 percent increase. In January, the company found a 50.14 carat diamond at Sedibeng, which it sold for $1.3 million.

The company continues to develop "beneficiation" (cutting and polishing locally produced rough in southern Africa). The current goal is to cut and polish 2,500 carats of rough by mid-2008. Group rough production is expected to rise to more than 1 million carats per annum by 2010, compared with a previous management target of 500,000 carats for the same period, Petra Chairman Adonis Pouroulis said.

Date: 2008-03-24 Time: 10.11AM


» Anglo American operating profit $10 billion; diamonds 5 percent of that
Source: AFNS

Anglo American operating profit $10 billion; diamonds 5 percent of that

Date: 2008-03-23 Time: 06.30AM


» Christie’s to auction 101 carat white diamond
Source: AFNS

Christie's will auction a 101.27 carat white diamond from South Africa’s Cullinan Mine (formerly known as the Premier Mine) in Hong Kong on May 28. It is expected to fetch at least $6 million.

This will be the largest diamond ever auctioned in Asia, Francois Curiel, chairman of jewelry at Christie's, said. He said only three other diamonds weighing more than 100 carats had ever been auctioned off, and all those stones were sold in Geneva. The 101.27 carat stone will be on public display as part of Christie's "Spring Masterpieces Exhibition," which includes jewelry and other items worth $342 million.

The Cullinan Mine is owned by Petra Diamonds, which bought it from De Beers.

Date: 2008-03-22 Time: 18.25PM


» DTC Botswana ribbon-cutting set for March 18
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Trading Company Botswana will officially open for business in the country's capital of Gaborone March 18, with the new sorting and aggregation facility to be dedicated that day by outgoing Botswanan President Festus Mogae.

The facility cost 471 million pula ($73 million) to build. It will employ 600 Botswanans to sort some 49 million carats annually of rough diamonds produced by Debswana, the 50-50 joint mining venture of De Beers and the Botswanan government. There are 39 sorting machines in the facility worth a total of 69 million pula ($11 million).

The sorting and aggregation facility will help create 3,000 jobs downstream in Botswana-based polishing plants and related facilities, once it is fully up to speed next year. So far, the Botswanan government has licensed 16 polishing plants to receive their share of domestically produced rough. By 2010, they will be receiving $550 million worth of Botswanan diamonds a year for processing.

Date: 2008-03-21 Time: 11.21AM


» IDMA calls for industry-wide diamond promotion campaign
Source: AFNS

The International Diamond Manufacturers Association called for an industry-wide comprehensive diamond promotion campaign, and offered to coordinate such a program itself. The organization issued the call following a two-day leadership retreat in Israel after the Third International Rough Diamond Conference that was held in Tel Aviv February 11-12. IDMA President Jeffrey Fischer said that the organization "will take a leadership role in developing specific proposals" for comprehensive, industry-wide marketing of diamonds.

The IDMA retreat was moderated by industry analysts Chaim Even-Zohar of Tacy Consultants Ltd. and Charles Wyndham of WWW International Diamonds Ltd. Fischer said participants focused on internal organizational planning, matters of concern to IDMA members and other issues confronting the wider diamond industry.

Fischer said the IDMA is concerned that the current level of rough diamond prices is based on speculation. "As a result, the diamond manufacturing sector is experiencing the collapse of already very thin profit margins. Producers large and small should take note and take appropriate action."

"The diamond manufacturing industry has historically been, and still is, production driven," he added. "Obviously, that needs to change, and soon! We therefore urge our members to face the painful reality that there is over-capacity in production in the various cutting centers, and that a significant contraction and consolidation of the manufacturing base are inevitable. We need our members to wake up to that ugly and painful situation and make the right choices for the sake of the future of their own businesses."

Date: 2008-03-20 Time: 09.15AM


» Valentine’s Day pizza, champagne and a diamond ring for $8,180
Source: AFNS

Favitta's Family Pizzeria, Rochester, New York, had a diamond special for Valentine’s Day - a very pricy special.

Customers could order a heart-shaped pizza, Dom Perignon champagne and a diamond ring from the local Scheer Jewelers.

The tab for the tasty treat and diamond ring: $8,180. Customers could choose from a selection of the rings.


Date: 2008-03-19 Time: 17.19 PM


» Bush family relation in diamond ring dispute
Source: AFNS

Sharon Bush, the ex-wife of President George W. Bush's brother Neil, is being sued for $434,000 by her ex-fiance after she refused to return the 11 carat diamond engagement ring he bought her.

The couple were engaged in October 2006, but the wedding was repeatedly postponed and then cancelled.

The aggrieved ex-fiance is a 78-year-old Chinese billionaire called Gerald Tsai. He alleges that he bought the ring for $243,040 at Saks Fifth Avenue, and is now suing his 55-year-old former bride-to-be for fraud and breach of contract.

Date: 2008-03-18 Time: 12.25 PM


» Alrosa says its rough diamond reserves are worth $109 billion
Source: AFNS

Alrosa, the diamond mining giant controlled by the Russian government, has rough diamond reserves worth $109.3 billion, President Sergei Vybornov told the third annual gathering of rough diamond producers in Tel Aviv.

That is enough for Alrosa to mine for 30 to 40 years, Vynornov said. The company had never disclosed how much its reserves were worth, although the secrecy legally imposed on the company was lifted by the Russian government in 2004.

The Russian government is taking steps to achieve its long-sought goal of increasing its stake in Alrosa from the current level of 48 percent to an absolute majority, and an IPO is also said to be in the works.

Date: 2008-03-17 Time: 09.56 AM


» Madonna’s wedding tiara to shine at ‘Diamond Divas’ exhibition in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

A tiara worn by American megastar Madonna, when she wed the British film director Guy Richie at Skibo Castle in Scotland, will be among the items featured in the "Diamond Divas" exhibition, which will open on April 11 at the Province of Antwerp’s Diamond Museum and run through June 8, 2008.

The Edwardian diamond tiara was loaned to Madonna for her wedding by the London jewellery house Asprey & Garrard, London. An aficionado of fine jewellery, the singer had noticed it when shopping at the company's New Bond Street store. Her choice of tiara was a closely guarded secret, shared only with Richie and a handful of close friends.

Made in approximately 1910, the tiara includes 765 old cut diamonds weighing 78 carats, and another two larger diamonds with a combined weight of 2.50 carats.
Madonna was said to have selected it because she thought it would go well with her wedding dress, which was designed by Stella McCartney.

"Diamond Divas" will feature a variety of stunning diamond jewellery items worn by crowned heads, the stars of stage and screen and tell their stories.


Date: 2008-03-16 Time: 11.50 AM


» Indian diamond trade hit by lower U.S. demand, weak dollar
Source: AFNS

The weak U.S. dollar, fears of recession in the United States and a U.S. decision to end a customs exemption for Indian diamond and jewelry exporters are depressing the Indian diamond trade. The customs exemption was withdrawn last July, after the U.S. government decided that the Indian diamond, gem and jewelry trade was strongly competitive and did not need help provided to developing countries.

The results are said to be especially noticeable in the Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) in Mumbai (Bombay), which is home to more than 130 jewelry companies accounting for 38 percent of Indian jewelry exports of $5.21 billion.

T.P. Gopalakrishnan, executive secretary of the SEEPZ Gems and Jewelry Manufacturers Association, said export orders for the U.S. market are down on slower U.S. demand.

Date: 2008-03-15 Time: 13.10 PM


» Botswana stands up for domestic diamond polishing
Source: AFNS

Botswana is determined to go ahead with its plans to supply domestically produced rough diamonds to its nascent diamond cutting industry, although skeptics say the economics don’t add up.

Ponatshego Kedikilwe, Botswana’s minister of minerals, energy and water affairs, gave a speech at the 13th International Mining Investment Conference (INDABA 2008) in Cape Town, South Africa, defending “beneficiation” and the country’s plans to have the Diamond Trading Company Botswana, a joint venture with De Beers, sell $360 million worth of rough to 16 licensed polishing companies this year, with the goal of creating 3,000 jobs.

But analyst Chaim Even-Zohar of Tacy Ltd. said that polishing costs in Botswana and its like-minded neighbors Namibia and South Africa are around $100 per carat, compared with just $20 per carat in the diamond polishing industry centers of India and China, which will make southern Africa unable to compete in this field.

Date: 2008-03-14 Time: 09.11AM


» Gem Diamonds sells $152 million worth of rough from Letseng
Source: AFNS

Gem Diamonds sold $152 million (U.S.) worth of rough diamonds from Letseng in 2007, an 81 percent increase over $83.9 million in 2006, the company said. By weight, 76,873 carats were sold from Letseng Mine, a 45 percent increase on the 52,998 carats sold in 2006. The company owns 70 percent of this mine, with the remaining 30 percent owned by the country's government.

In January 2008, the company sold $3.1 million worth of Letseng diamonds, $68,000 per carat. Recently, the 493 carat "Letseng Legacy" sold in Antwerp for $10.4 million, $21,000 per carat, and a 215 carat D- flawless diamond sold for $8.3 million, $38,600 per carat. In January, a 25 carat D-color diamond was sold for $5 million, $40,000 per carat, and a 26 carat pink diamond was sold for $2.6 million ($99,000 per carat).

Gem Diamonds held an auction in January for 15,000 carats of rough produced at the Cempaka Mine in Indonesia, in which the company holds an 80 percent stake (the balance is held by the Indonesian government). Average price per carat was $331, an increase of 52 percent over prices achieved prior to Gem Diamonds’ acquisition of the mine.

The first auction of diamonds from Gem Diamonds' wholly owned Ellendale Mine in Western Australia, which it acquired from Kimberley Diamond Co., brought in $14 million from 63,500 carats, at an average of $220 per carat, an increase of 22 percent over prices achieved prior to the acquisition.

Gem Diamonds spent $404 million in 2007 on acquisitions in Australia (buying Ellendale from Kimberley Diamond Co.), Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia (acquiring BDI Mining, which holds the 80 percent stake in Cempaka), which are all now under the company’s control. The Letseng Mine’s processing capacity increased with the construction of a second processing plant, and early stage operations in central Africa achieved progress.

Date: 2008-03-13 Time: 18.50 PM


» BHP Billiton diamond sales up 6.4 percent
Source: AFNS

BHP Billiton reported $418 million (U.S.) in sales of diamonds and other specialty products in the second half of 2007, up 6.4 percent from $393 million in the second half of 2006. Underlying earnings before interest and taxation on the diamonds and specialty products were $72 million, a decrease of $6 million or 7.7 percent compared with the corresponding period.

This was mainly due to increased exploration activity on diamond targets in Angola, lower value per carat diamonds and unfavorable exchange rate movements for the Canadian dollar and the South African rand against the U.S. dollar, the company said.

BHP Billiton added that these negative effects were partly offset by higher diamond sales volumes and lower unit costs at Ekati, the company's mine in Canada's Northwest Territories, which in turn was due to the processing of higher grade material, a move to underground mining and increased cost efficiencies. The company said it has begun production at the Koala Underground mine in Canada.


Date: 2008-03-12 Time: 10.00 AM


» Angolan rough diamond production 9.7 million carats in 2007
Source: AFNS

Angola produced 9.7 million carats of rough diamonds in 2007, an official of the state-owned diamond mining company Endiama said at the 13th International Mining Investment Conference (INDABA 2008) in Cape Town, South Africa.

Organized mining produced 8.6 million carats of the total, while the remaining 1.1 million carats were produced by "artisanal" diggers.

The country had expected to reach the 10 million carat mark in 2006. In 2005, more than 6 million carats were produced. Production has been rising steadily since the end of a 27-year-long civil war in 2002.

Date: 2008-03-11 Time: 08.45 AM


» Russian government increasing stake in Alrosa again
Source: AFNS

The Russian government is increasing its stake in the monopoly rough diamond producer Alrosa again, from the current level of 48 percent to an absolute majority.

The company is issuing new equity to make this possible, and the stability and governmental commitment implied by the change has prompted Standard & Poor's Ratings Services to raise its long-term credit rating for the firm from BB - to BB.

Another advantage for Alrosa in the Russian national government's takeover is that starting in 2009, the company will no longer have to pay royalties to the autonomous Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), a minority shareholder that claimed 5 billion rubles ($202.3 million) in royalties from Alrosa last year.

Alrosa's production is likely to be steady or ecline slightly over the next few years, and its free capital will likely be tied up in a switch from open pit to underground diamond mining, Standard & Poor's said. Despite the Russian government's dominant interest in Alrosa, the firm is not key to the Russian state and has been allowed to run its business affairs autonomously, the rating agency said.


Date: 2008-03-10 Time: 10.00 AM


» De Beers sales down 3 percent in 2007
Source: AFNS

De Beers S.A., the Luxembourg-based holding company at the corporate heart of the De Beers Group, reported sales of $6.836 billion in 2007, down 3 percent from $7.03 billion in 2006. The company’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization totalled $1.216 billion, off 1 percent from $1.232 billion in 2006. However, "underlying earnings" increased 14 percent to $483 million, compared with $425 million in 2006.

Rough diamond production totaled 51.1 million carats, approximately equaling the record level of 2006. Debswana, the joint venture between De Beers and the government of Botswana, remains the group’s major producer, having contributed 33.6 million carats in 2007. In South Africa, De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) increased production to 15 million carats, mainly due to improvements to the diamond recovery process at Venetia Mine, where the quantity of carats found increased 9 percent. Production from off-shore operations in Namibia increased, resulting in Namdeb, the joint venture between De Beers and the Namibian Government, increasing production 4 percent to 2.2 million carats.

"Effective cost management at the group's African mining operations offset the impact of slightly lower sales, which were constrained by supply to the Diamond Trading Company (DTC)," the company said. "Reflecting strong confidence in the long-term fundamentals of the diamond market, the group invested $1.12 billion in expansion capital during the year, principally for construction at the Snap Lake and Victor mines in Canada (and) the Voorspoed mine and SASA offshore mining vessel in South Africa.

The company pointed to a number of new sources of rough diamonds. Snap Lake, which is located in Canada's Northwest Territories, started producing diamonds in late 2007. Full production of 1.6 million carats annually is expected this year. By the middle of 2008, the Victor mine is scheduled to start production; once it is fully commissioned, it will produce 600,000 carats of diamonds a year. The The Voorspoed mine in South Africa is scheduled to commence production in the final quarter of 2008, and is expected to produce 700,000 carats annually. Boteti Exploration Company, a joint venture between De Beers, African Diamonds Plc and Wati Ventures, has filed for a mining licence for AK06, a kimberlite in the Orapa region of Botswana with an estimated reserve of 11.1 million carats.

On the exploration front, in 2007 De Beers decided to spend $126 million on a new exploration program in the Democratic Republic of Congo and existing early and advanced programs, particularly in Angola, Botswana and South Africa. De Beers identified 45 new kimberlites in 2007, and its 2008 drilling and evaluation program will focus on these high-potential targets. Meanwhile, the company sold its 50 percent stake in Gope Exploration Company (Pty) Ltd to Gem Diamond Mining Company Ltd for $17 million; sold its Koffiefontein mine in South Africa to Petra Diamonds Ltd in July 2007 for 82 million rand ($12 million); and agreed to sell the Cullinan Diamond Mine to a Petra-led consortium for 1.03 billion rand ($150 million).

Date: 2008-03-09 Time: 08.45 AM


» Rio Tinto rejects $1.47 BHP Billiton offer for the company
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto has rejected BHP Billiton's $1.47 billion offer for the company, the second time it has turned down a BHP Billiton buyout bid in less than a year. Under the new proposal, each Rio Tinto share would be exchanged for 3.4 BHP Billiton shares, and BHP Billiton would end up with all of the issued share capital of Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Limited.
Rio Tinto said this offer "significantly undervalue(s) Rio Tinto" and is not being in the best interests of its shareholders.

"BHP Billiton's offers, while improved, still fail to recognize the underlying value of Rio Tinto's quality assets and prospects. Our plans are unchanged, and will remain so unless a proposal is made that fully reflects the value of Rio Tinto. Accordingly we are forging ahead with our strategy of operating and developing large-scale, long-life, low-cost assets to generate significant value for shareholders," Rio Tinto Chairman Paul Skinner said

A merged company would have total nominal, incremental earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization of $3.7 billion per annum within seven years, BHP Billiton said.

Both companies have significant diamond holdings -Rio Tinto has a 60 percent share of the Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories, and BHP Billiton has an 80 percent share of the Ekati Mine, also in the Northwest Territories. Additionally, Rio Tinto wholly owns the Argyle Mine in Western Australia and 78 percent of the Murowa Mine in Zimbabwe.


Date: 2008-03-08 Time: 13.11 PM


» Penny calls lack of new mines a key challenge to diamond industry
Source: AFNS

Israel's two-day Third International Rough Diamond Conference kicked off on Monday with around 400 participants from diamond-producing companies and countries across the world hearing speeches on the subject of "Producer Strategies." In a wide-ranging speech, De Beers Managing Director Gareth Penny spoke of the challenges facing the company and the wider industry. These include no new diamond mines being discovered for many years, despite a rising demand for diamond jewelry; rising input costs, such as oil; electricity shortages in South Africa; the weakness of the US dollar; and rising debts.

In addition, he said the retail environment was weak with stores not creating an exciting atmosphere to encourage consumers to buy, and the large-scale discounting that took place in the United States before the critical sales season had even begun. He also said there was increasingly sophisticated competition from other luxury goods providers; the issue of synthetic diamonds; and the constant need to ensure consumer confidence.

He said the diamond industry should concentrate efforts on emerging markets, such as China and India; strive to improve the retail environment to drive up sales; improve liquidity by looking at financial instruments and possibly also change the international currency of the diamond business from the US dollar to another currency. He also called on the industry to bear more of the cost of advertising and lessen the burden on De Beers, particularly since the company now only controls around 40 percent of global rough supplies.

Amongst the initial speakers was Eli Izhakoff, World Diamond Council president who said that just 10 years ago a rough conference would not have taken place in Israel. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Fischer, president of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, said the industry was undoubtedly undergoing hard times with prices for rough goods increasing.

Cibjo President Dr. Gaeatno Cavalieri spoke of a number of factors that are going to influence the rough diamond market in years to come. "What we are seeing is a convergence of different developments, which include an increase in the number of corporations involved in rough diamond mining, a growing insistence on the part of the governments of diamond producing countries that more added value remains at home, and a greater awareness on the part of jewellery consumers about ethical and fair trading practices," he stated.

Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, spoke about the fragmentation of the supply of rough diamonds due to the Diamond Trading Company’s diminishing share of the rough market. On the issue of beneficiation in Southern Africa, Avi Paz, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange, said he understood and supported the concept, but warned that rough should “reach polishing centers that have a competitive edge like Israel.”

Israel Diamond Institute Chairman Moti Ganz has disputed claims that there is not enough rough in the pipeline. "There is no shortage of rough. But even more than that – we also have plenty of polished…Manufacturers have accumulated stock in an unprecedented volume of $14 – 17 billion," he said.

Ganz called on producers to refrain from the use of tenders and auctions, which he said hurts manufacturers and in the long-run the producers themselves. Ganz said that rough diamonds have no value without the manufacturers, and that these must receive a rough supply on a regular basis and in a stable variety of qualities and sizes. Ganz also delivered a clear message to manufacturers: no customers, don't polish. He said that manufacturers must stop purchasing rough and polishing diamonds for stock. "All industries, worldwide, have moved to manufacturing by demand…Only the diamond industry has failed to join this global trend," he said.

Ganz implored rough producers to support the promotion of diamonds as a luxury product. "Every rough producer should take part in the generic advertising of diamonds. This task must not be left in the hands of a single rough producer," he said. In Ganz’ view all producers should act as De Beers does – to spend 3 percent of sales turnover on advertising. "In the long-run this investment will be repaid, as the awareness of diamonds increases in the consumer market," he added.

The second day of the conference on Tuesday looks at the issues of future sources of rough supplies; governmental policies towards the diamond sector; supply strategies, demand and pricing forecasts; and financing and valuing the diamond pipeline.

Date: 2008-03-07 Time: 09.00 AM


» End of De Beers monopoly transforming diamond market, analyst says
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ voluntary transformation of its business model has ended its status as the diamond cartel, with uncertain consequences for the entire diamond industry, analyst Chaim Even-Zohar said at the 13th International Mining Investment Conference (INDABA 2008) in Cape Town, South Africa.

Other diamond mining companies do not know how to cope with this change, but are moving toward an auction system, Even-Zohar said. Diamond polishing companies do not know how to cope with these changes and may face uncertain supply. The trend toward "beneficiation," or polishing of diamonds in the countries where they are mined, is not economically justifiable, he said.

Overall, the trend on the world diamond markets is to move toward a demand-driven market rather than a supply-driven one. The diamond trade missed the boat on economic expansion just after the turn of the millennium and is now facing a poorer consumer economy where other luxury items are outperforming diamonds, Even-Zohar said.

The controls put in place to stop the trade in conflict diamonds have made it easier to estimate the true size of the world diamond market, Even-Zohar said. In 2007, that amounted to $12.5 billion worth of rough diamonds, which were sold for $19 billion after polishing, $30 billion at the wholesale level and $70 billion at the retail level. A single stone takes a little more than two years to traverse the entire pipeline, Even-Zohar estimated.


Date: 2008-03-06 Time: 16.30 PM


» Tiffany to offer $94,000 diamond cell phone.
Source: AFNS

U.S. fine jeweler Tiffany & Co. will offer a diamond encrusted cell phone to the Japanese market, starting in February.

The handset will reportedly retail for $94,000, and will be set with 400 diamonds with a total weight of 20 carats.

The cell phone will be compatible with Japan’s ultrafast Softbank Mobile cell phone network.


Date: 2008-03-05 Time: 14.15 PM


» Huge coal reserves attributed to Botswana
Source: AFNS

Botswana, long known for its diamond mining industry, has enormous reserves of coal as well, according to new estimates.

Some 212 billion metric tons of coal are said to be under the southern African country, which would be two-thirds of all reserves in Africa and would far outstrip the coal reserves of neighboring South Africa. Asenjo, a 50-50 joint venture between the Australian company Aquila Resources and Jonah Mining, which is itself a 50-50 joint venture between Sam Jonah’s Jonah Capital and Sentula Mining, formerly Scharrig Mining, has announced plans to begin large-scale mining of land containing up to 6.7 billion metric tons of coal.

Botswana is heavily on dependent on diamonds for its GDP, government revenues and foreign currency reserves. The country is the world’s largest single source of rough gem diamonds by value, contributing about 30 percent of international supplies. Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswanan government, dominates the sector with its four giant mines.

Date: 2008-03-04 Time: 13.34 AM


» Stornoway and Shear report high diamond counts in northern Canada
Source: AFNS

Stornoway Diamond Corporation and Shear Minerals Ltd. reported “significant micro and macrodiamond counts” ranging from 29 to 138 diamonds per kilogram at four kimberlite dykes found in 2007 at their Churchill diamond project in Nunavut, northern Canada.

“The partners are optimistic that Churchill has the potential to host an economic diamond resource,” Shear President and CEO Pamela Strand said. She added that future work will include prospecting, geophysics and drilling in favorable spots to examine grade variability and search for higher potential zones. Prospecting on the property in 2007 also identified 16 new “outcrop and sub crop” kimberlite discoveries.

The Churchill Diamond Project is owned 41.86 percent by Stornoway and 58.14 percent by its operator, Shear. It includes the diamond rights to more than 2 million acres near the communities of Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut.

Date: 2008-03-03 Time: 17.19 PM


» Shanghai Diamond Exchange transactions exceed $1 billion mark
Source: AFNS

More than $1 billion worth of business was done via the Shanghai Diamond Exchange in 2007, a 53.4 percent increase over 2006, due to lower taxes on diamonds and a booming consumer market, according to the Diamond Administration of China.

This included $909 million worth of diamond imports and exports, a 58.7 percent increase. Imports alone more than doubled to $440 million, a 109.6 percent increase. Polished diamonds made up 98.9 percent of all diamond imports.

Internal transactions on the diamond bourse totaled $56.3 million, a 56.3 percent increase. As of the end of the year, the exchange had 209 members. The exchange joined the World Federation of Diamond Bourses in 2004.

Date: 2008-03-02 Time: 10.23 AM


» Namibia’s Namdeb attacking problem of rough diamond theft
Source: AFNS

Namdeb, the 50-50 joint diamond mining venture between De Beers and the Namibian government, investigated 21 cases of rough diamond theft in 2007, spokesman Hilifa Mbako said. Twenty employees were arrested by the company’s internal police unit. Another 10 employees were not arrested due to insufficient evidence but were internally disciplined.

The company recovered more than 400 carats of stolen rough diamonds worth a total of N$2.5 million (U.S.$336,000), including a single 23.1 carat rough stone.

Employee theft was a major reason why the company produced 72,000 fewer carats than expected in the course of the year, for a total of 2.176 million carats. The target figure for 2008 is 2.306 million carats, 1.262 million carats of which are slated to come from land-based mining and the rest from offshore mining.

Date: 2008-03-01 Time: 18.50 PM


» Lonrho Mining gets green light for alluvial diamond mining at Lulo, Angola
Source: AFNS

Australia’s Lonrho Mining said the Angolan government has given it approval to start its alluvial diamond exploration and mining joint venture at the Lulo concession. The company plans to start alluvial operations in April.

Lonrho Mining said it has completed 70 percent of its airborne magnetic and radiometric survey over the 1,000 square kilometer target area, and the whole thing should be done by February 7, with a report due by the end of the month. The preliminary data are of exceptionally high quality, and the geological structures appear very well defined, the company said. The survey is targeting kimberlite pipes within the survey area, of which 27 are known to be between the Lulo and Cacuilo Rivers.

In addition, construction of the Cacuilo River base camp has begun, and is due for completion in March. A diamond recovery plant is scheduled for completion on the site by mid-April, depending on logistical considerations.

The company is planning a geological mapping survey of the Cacuilo River picro-ilmenite rich terrace gravels. After that is done, the firm will begin excavation of a 6,000 ton bulk sample, which should be by the end of March.


Date: 2008-02-29 Time: 17.25 PM


» Zimbabwe mine nationalization threat on hold
Source: AFNS

Foreign owners of Zimbabwean mines, including diamond mines, can breathe a little easier now that the threat by President Robert Mugabe to nationalize a 51 percent stake in all mines appears to be on hold.

A bill introduced in the Zimbabwean parliament in 2007 would have carried out Mugabe’s threat, but it has been allowed to lapse now that Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, has dissolved the parliament ahead of elections planned for March 29. The foreign owners would have been reimbursed for only a 26 percent stake in the mines, under the bill.

The only diamond mine with significant production in Zimbabwe at the moment is Murowa in the southwest, which is 78 percent owned by Rio Tinto.

Date: 2008-02-28 Time: 10.23 AM


» Diavik production up 21 percent to 11.9 million carats in 2007
Source: AFNS

The Diavik Diamond Mine produced 11.9 million carats of rough in 2007, up 21.4 percent compared with 2006. Production in the fourth quarter from the A154 South pipe totaled 2.9 million carats, up 16 percent from 2.5 million carats in the final quarter of 2006.

Management said that surface mining will continue on the A154 South pipe, as work continues on schedule to prepare the new A418 open pit for ore release by the end of March. Mining of the A154 North pipe will resume when it can be accessed via the underground workings, which is all according to plan.

Diavik's joint venture partners, Rio Tinto (60 percent) and Harry Winston Diamond Corp. (formerly Aber Diamond Corp., with 40 percent) have said they will invest $563 million (U.S.) to prepare for underground mining. The money will be spent over the next two years to construct approximately 20 km of underground tunnels and surface works. Underground production will begin in 2009, and will replace open pit mining by 2012. Mine life is expected to continue beyond 2020, in accordance with the 16 to 22 years originally projected in the Diavik mine feasibility study.

Exploration continued in 2007, but the total number of kimberlite bodies discovered to date on the Diavik property remains at 68. The mine is located 300 km northeast of Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories.

Date: 2008-02-27 Time: 06.30AM


» Canadians pledge support to CIBJO-UN education fund
Source: AFNS

The Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA), which is a broad-based, full service trade organization serving all sectors of the Canadian jewelry industry, has pledged a sum of U.S. $10,000 to the new Education Fund set up in 2007 by CIBJO, the World Jewelry Confederation, in cooperation with the United Nations. The aim of the fund is to promote projects in which the jewelry business serves as a facilitator for sustainable economic and social development.

Notice of the decision by the board of directors of the Canadian Jewellers Association to make the donation was made by CJA Chairman Morris Robinson to Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri, the president of CIBJO. Mr. Robinson said the donation is not only a tangible indication of CJA's support for CIBJO and its program, but also of the Canadian jewelry industry's strong belief in the principles of corporate responsibility and in the ideal that the jewelry industry can act as a positive force in disadvantaged regions of the world.

Dr. Cavalieri expressed his thanks to the CJA board. "The Canadian Jewellers Association has once again demonstrated its sense of commitment to our industry and to the communities in which we operate. CJA is essentially investing in all of our futures, for in the modern business environment our success as industry will depend not only getting our goods to the market, but also in showing that we are contributing positively to the wellbeing of the regions in which we are active," he said.

The creation of the CIBJO Education Fund was agreed upon in November 2007 at a special session of the CIBJO Executive Committee, which took place at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. With the support of the UN Development Program and the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), of which CIBJO has been a member since 2006, it was decided to initiate, coordinate and support educational programs that will advance sustainable jewelry industry projects.

CIBJO and the Canadian Jewellers Association have traditionally enjoyed a close relationship. The CJA hosted the 2006 CIBJO Congress which took place in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Date: 2008-02-26 Time: 18.25PM


» DTC’s Shine denies targeting Indians when cutting sightholder list
Source: AFNS

Varda Shine, managing director of De Beers’s Diamond Trading Company, denied that the company had deliberately targeted Indian companies when it recently cut its list of sightholder clients from 93 down to 79 for the new two-and-a-half-year contract period ending in 2011.

She dismissed claims that up to 150,000 jobs could be lost in the Indian industry, and said that the quantity supplied to India will actually be the same as or even greater than before.

The collapse of the U.S. housing market and fears that the country is falling into recession, potentially affecting the rest of the world, will pose challenges for the diamond industry this year, Shine said. However, she said rising demand in emerging markets like China and India will help compensate, while super-rich U.S., Russian and Chinese customers are driving demand for large white, blue and pink diamonds.

Rough diamond supplies will remain stable this year since no new sources have been found, Shine said.

Date: 2008-02-25 Time: 11.21AM


» Tahera suspending mining at Jericho, northern Canada
Source: AFNS

The bankrupt Canadian diamond mining company Tahera Diamond Corporation said January 23 that it would suspend mining activities at the Jericho Mine in Nunavut in approximately two weeks to preserve cash and fuel at the mine while the company restructures.

In the next two weeks, Tahera is making "a concerted effort … to maximize high-grade ore stockpiles," the company said. After that, the company plans to continue ore processing and diamond recovery for approximately two months or until the high-grade ore stockpiles are exhausted.

Nuna Logistics has agreed to provide site services as required once mining has been suspended and while ore processing continues. Tahera will assess all its options with a view to continuing operations at Jericho.

The mine is located approximately 360 km southwest of Cambridge Bay, in the Kitikmeot region of western Nunavut. It started operations in early 2006 and officially opened in August 2006. Approximately 100 people work at the mine, of whom 35 or so are Inuit.

Date: 2008-02-24 Time: 09.15AM


» Survey finds diamonds or roses as the best Valentine’s Day gifts
Source: AFNS

According to the results of a nation-wide survey conducted online in the United States via Harris Interactive by Teleflora, the world's leading floral service, both men and women are in agreement about gifts to give on Valentine’s Day. 84 percent of women ages 18-34 selected diamond jewelry or roses as the gifts that come to mind when they think about this romantic day. Surprisingly to some, 77 percent of men in that same age group are in agreement.

No matter what the age, diamonds or roses never goes out of style, suggested the survey, considering that 72 percent of men and 76 percent of women ages 45-54 selected diamond jewelry or roses as gifts that first come to mind for celebrating Valentine’s Day.

When given a list of the best Valentine's Day gifts to receive, women selected roses as the best gift to receive (32 percent); diamond jewelry as the second best gift (29 percent); jewelry other than diamonds as the third best gift (26 percent); roses other than flowers as the fourth best gift (24 percent).

When given a list of what men would want to give their significant other on Valentine's Day, 53 percent selected roses, followed by flowers other than roses at 39 percent, and 34 percent of men would give jewelry and 26 percent of men would specifically give diamond jewelry to their loved ones this Valentine’s Day.

Date: 2008-02-23 Time: 17.19 PM


» Diamonds brighten 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Source: AFNS

Hollywood's biggest stars came out to support the 14th Annual Screen Actors GuildAwards and diamonds once again proved to be the clear choice as the most glamorous accessory to sparkle on the red carpet.

Hollywood's leading ladies from television and film proudly donned their most sophisticated diamond looks, with the big trends of the evening being diamond power earrings, showcasing large diamond studs, diamond drops, and diamond chandelier earrings; boldly adorned stacked diamond bracelets and cuffs; and diamond Right Hand Rings. Diamond broaches also made a grand appearance.

To highlight the evening's best all-diamond looks, actress Ana Ortiz, from the nominated cast of the television series, "Ugly Betty" showcased an amazing half a million dollar diamond look by Kwiat, including beautiful diamond cluster earrings, a vintage diamond and platinum bracelet, and a diamond and platinum flower broach worn in her hair.

Presenter and actress, Kate Beckinsale also stole the red carpet wearing Van Cleef & Arpel's private museum collection pieces, including stacked diamond bracelets on both wrists, bold diamond stud earrings, a 1919 Art Deco diamond Right Hand Ring, and a breathtaking diamond broach.

Female nominee and award presenter Marion Cotillard wore a Happy Spirit diamond Right Hand Ring and Happy Diamond pave pendant necklace by Chopard.

Date: 2008-02-22 Time: 12.25 PM


» Jewellers of Europe publishes trade directory
Source: AFNS

A trade group called Jewellers of Europe has published a directory with more than 60,000 names and addresses of jewelry and watch retailers in Europe, 90 percent of whom are independent dealers, 9 percent retail chains and 1 percent boutiques.

The only countries included in the initial edition are France, Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy, but more countries will be added in the future. More than 150 jewelry and watch brands are listed in the directory, which is available as a searchable, customizable online database at www.jewellersdirectory.eu. More than 40,000 of the jeweler listings can be searched by the names of the brands they carry, Filip Van Laere, founder and CEO of Jewellers of Europe, said.

There are more than 100,000 retail jewelers serving European consumers, who number 50 percent more than their U.S. counterparts, Van Laere said.

Date: 2008-02-21 Time: 09.56 AM


» De Beers suspends South African mining due to power shortages
Source: AFNS

De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), the South African arm of the De Beers group, said it has ceased rough diamond production at its six mines, Venetia, Finsch, Kimberley, Cullinan, The Oaks and Namaqualand, due to a severe national power shortage in South Africa.

The mines have been put on "survival load," using just enough electrical power to avoid risk to employees and property and to maintain safe working conditions, in the case of De Beers’ underground Finsch and Cullinan Diamond Mines.

All major mining operations that are major clients of the South African electrical utility, Eskom, have been requested to immediately reduce consumption of power from the national grid to an absolute minimum as the utility struggles with such problems as depleted coal stockpiles, load losses and wet coal. It is not known how long the crisis will continue.

DBCM said its mining operations will be managed in a state of operational readiness to resume later. Therefore essential ventilation, pumping and lighting, and all safety related services will continue, while regular operations will cease. The company added that it is strictly following all health and safety guidelines, including the safe evacuation of all underground personnel except essential staff.

DBCM had already cut its power demands on Eskom from 707 gigawatt hours in 2006 to 681 gigawatt hours in 2007, Managing Director David Noko said. The company recently signed an "Energy Efficiency Accord" issued by the South African Department of Minerals and Energy and said it was aiming for a 2–3 percent reduction in the use of energy per year over the next seven years, for a total 15 percent improvement by 2015.

Date: 2008-02-20 Time: 11.50 AM


» BHP Billiton diamond production up 31 percent in second half of 2007
Source: AFNS

BHP Billiton produced 1.865 million carats of rough diamonds in the second half of 2007, a 31 percent increase from the second half of 2006. In the fourth quarter of 2007, production totaled 843,000 carats, which was a 10 percent decrease from the final quarter of 2006 and an 18 percent decrease from the third quarter of 2007.

The higher production for the second half of 2007 was "due to higher recoveries and grade," the company said. "Although production increased, it included a higher proportion of lower value carats." The drop in the final quarter was "due to lower recoveries and grade," the company added.

BHP Billiton said that as the Ekati Mine in Canada's Northwest Territories, in which it owns an 80 percent stake, transitions from open pit mining to underground mining, the mix of ore processed will change from time to time.

During the fourth quarter of 2007, the company began production at its 80 percent owned Koala Underground mine in Canada. Exploration continued on diamond targets in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Date: 2008-02-19 Time: 13.10 PM


» Indian net polished diamond exports stagnant in 2007
Source: AFNS

India's net polished diamond exports (total exports minus imports of polished stones) increased 2.7 percent in dollar terms to $6.42 billion from April through December 2007, compared with $6.25 billion during the same period of 2006. In rupee terms, Indian polished exports shrank 8.8 percent during this period compared with the same period the preceding year, according to the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

This is despite the fact that the total export figure for polished diamonds (before $3.62 billion in imports are subtracted out) jumped some 29.9 percent to $10.04 billion.

Therefore, for April through December 2007, net polished exports from India were actually some $448 million less than net imports of rough diamonds into India during this period, which totaled $6.87 billion. This would seem to imply that Indian diamantaires are holding onto increasing stockpiles of unsold rough that they cannot profitably cut and export, amid a weakening U.S. market.

Date: 2008-02-18 Time: 09.11AM


» Russia’s Severalmaz to start selling rough diamonds
Source: AFNS

The Russian diamond mining company Severalmaz, which produces rough diamonds from the Lomonosov deposit near Akhangelsk in Russia's northwest, will start selling rough diamonds to selected domestic and foreign clients by the end of March, now that the government has lifted export quotas.

The company, which is 95 percent owned by the Russian government-owned diamond mining monopoly Alrosa, has set up its own "Severalmaz Selling Organization" and has instructed potential clients to start a prequalification process via its website, www.severalmaz.ru.

Severalmaz may run auctions or sell the diamonds directly. Stones weighing more than 10.8 carats each have to be sold at auctions in Moscow, under Russian law.

The Lomonosov deposit, which was discovered in 1980, may be worth up to $12 billion. Ownership has been disputed in the past between the Russian authorities and the Canadian company Archangel Diamond Corp., in which De Beers has a controlling interest.

Date: 2008-02-17 Time: 18.50 PM


» Diamdel holds first online auction
Source: AFNS

De Beers subsidiary Diamdel held its first online auction for rough diamonds on January 28. The company said it had a good response from its customers, with auction attendance, participation and results "all exceeding expectations."

Diamdel made all 16 lots available for viewing to potential buyers in several of the world’s major diamond centers before the auction. During the auction, the lots were sold to 14 buyers from around the world, with bidders actively participating in Antwerp, Tel Aviv, India and the Far East. No details about quantities or prices were disclosed.

"We are delighted that the first auction has worked so well and in particular how we have been able to meet the needs of clients from around the world at market-determined prices," Diamdel Managing Director Neil Ventura said. "We are still reviewing the learning from the auction and will be talking to the participants in order to ensure the future auctions are equally successful."

Details of future Diamdel E-auctions will be announced soon to customers registered at the company's website, www.diamdel.com, the company said.

Diamdel is De Beers' direct marketing channel to clients too small to qualify for Diamond Trading Company sites, but it was drastically scaled back last year and offices in most major cutting centers except India were shut down.

Date: 2008-02-16 Time: 10.00 AM


» Display of 'Diamond Divas' to dazzle at Antwerp exhibition
Source: AFNS

An exhibition that combines celebrity with stunning diamond jewellery will afford Antwerp the opportunity of continuing its long tradition of assembling spectacular displays of diamond jewellery. Called ‘Diamond Divas’, the exhibition will show items worn by royals, high society, stars of stage and screen. Organised by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, it opens on April 11 at the Antwerp Diamond Museum and will run through June 8, 2008.

Each item of jewellery that will be shown at the Diamond Divas exhibition comes with its own legend, sometimes concerning its owner and on other occasions the event for which it was created. Among the many items that will be shown are bracelets from the “Art de Cartier” collection owned by Gloria Swanson, a star from Hollywood’s silent movie era who was famous for her extravagant life style; a tiara owned by Doris Duke, the billionaire tobacco heiress who died under mysterious circumstances at age 80 in 1993, and whose life was the inspiration for the 1999 movie starring Lauren Bacall, called “Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke”; the “snake” necklace owned by Maria Felix, a leading lady from Mexico’s silver screen; the famous “Moon of Baroda” necklace, which has as its centrepiece a 24.04-carat canary yellow pear-shaped diamond, which was worn by Marilyn Monroe at the premiere of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

To put together the exhibition, ADWC turned to high end jewellers, auction houses and private collections from around the world. In doing so, it drew from its experience of organising similar exhibitions, including “From the Treasury” and “Living Diamonds”.

Diamond Divas will be held under the Patronage of HRH Princess Mathilde.

The Diamond Divas exhibition runs from April 11-June 8, 2008, at the Diamond Museum of the Province of Antwerp, Astridplein 19-23, 2018 Antwerp (10:00 AM-5:30 PM/10:00 PM on Thursday). The entrance fee is € 12.50, and it also includes entry to the photography and fashion museums in Antwerp. Info and photo gallery on www.diamonddivas.be

Diamond Divas is a cooperation with the Diamond Museum of the Province of Antwerp, sponsored by Antwerp Diamond Bank, KBC, ABN AMRO, SNCB, Roularta Media Group Lifestyle Magazines, De Standaard and the City of Antwerp. Diamond Divas is supported by the Province of Antwerp.

Date: 2008-02-15 Time: 08.45 AM


» Diamond-studded cases offered for BlackBerry, iPhone
Source: AFNS

A company called Case-mate is offering cases accessorized with 18K gold and diamonds for the popular handheld electronic communication devices BlackBerry and iPhone. The cases retail for $20,000 each.

The “BlackBerry Curve” case is set with 3.5 carats total weight of diamonds and 15 grams (0.5 oz.) of 18K gold. It was on display at the recent CES trade show in Las Vegas.

The “Diamond Case” for the iPhone also contains 3.5 carats total weight of diamonds set in 18K gold. Each of these products boasts 42 individual small diamonds, all VVS1 clarity and H color.

Date: 2008-02-14 Time: 10.00 AM


» Diamdel launches rough diamond auctions on website
Source: AFNS

Diamdel, the De Beers subsidiary that supplies the secondary market has entered the Internet sphere with the sale of rough diamonds on a new website, www.diamdel.com. The site’s diamond trading portal will enable registered buyers and sellers to trade in rough diamonds at Diamdel E-auctions.

Diamdel continues to supply rough diamonds directly to clients, but from January is also selling them on the website.

Diamdel aims to regularly sell in-demand stones. The diamond firm said that demand for some of its output is now so high that it feels the best way to sell the stones is via an online auction which will set the market price for the goods.

The highpoint of Diamdel E-auctions in January is a 750-carat rough diamond, Diamdel assortments and DTC goods.


Date: 2008-02-13 Time: 08.45 AM


» Shanghai World Diamond Congress website online
Source: AFNS

The Shanghai Diamond Exchange has started a website for the 33rd World Diamond Congress of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) at www.wordldiamondcongress2008.com.

The biannual event will be held May 12 to 15 at the Portman Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Shanghai, one of the city’s leading business hotels.

“Never before have we been online so early and completely for a World Diamond Congress,” WFDB President Ernest Blom said.

The website enables participants and people accompanying them to register for the congress, consult the preliminary agenda, book hotel rooms and tours and indicate dietary needs. Two locally based liaison officers have been appointed by the Shanghai Diamond Exchange: Ling Shen, tel. +86-21-62170066, email: wdc2008@highteam.com, and Sunny Ma, tel. +86-21-52895838, email: sunny.ma@knprsh.com.

Date: 2008-02-12 Time: 13.11 PM


» Tahera, owner of Jericho Mine, goes bankrupt
Source: AFNS

Tahera Diamond Corporation, owner of the Jericho Diamond Mine in Canada’s Nunavut territory, said January 16 that it had been granted bankruptcy protection by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The order gives the company and its subsidiary protection from creditors under Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) for an initial period of 30 days, expiring on February 14, which can then be extended or terminated at the court’s discretion. One of the company’s creditors is the U.S. fine jewelry firm Tiffany & Co.

While under CCAA protection, Tahera management will remain responsible for day-to-day operations under the supervision of a court-appointed monitor, PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc., which will also be responsible for assisting management with the development and filing of a restructuring plan, liaising with creditors and other stakeholders and reporting to the court.

The company had said in December that it needed to raise C$36.7 million (U.S.$35.9 million) to continue operations, including transporting supplies north to the mine along the seasonal ice road that serves Canada’s Far Northern diamond mines, including Ekati and Diavik in the Northwest Territories. While CEO Peter Gillin said he is optimistic that the company can sort out its financial problems, analyst said he thinks it is the end of the line for the company.

Rio Tinto, which holds a 60 percent stake in Diavik, and De Beers, which is developing its own Canadian diamond mines, are said to be interested in buying the Jericho Mine.

Date: 2008-02-11 Time: 09.00 AM


» Canada ice road seen opening at end of January
Source: AFNS

The 600-kilometer ice road that provides a resupply route for the diamond mines in Canada's far-north is on track to open around the end of January.

The road starts in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, and leads to the neighboring Arctic territory of Nunavut, providing the only terrestrial supply route for the diamond mines, including Diavik, owned by Rio Tinto and Harry Winston.

The ice highway also provides a supply link for BHP Billiton's Ekati mine, Tahera Diamond's Jericho mine and De Beers’ Snap Lake mine.

The ice road has been in existence for more than two decades, and originally served the former Lupin gold mine in Nunavut. Its importance has grown in the past 10 years or so as the Canadian diamond mining industry has expanded.

The road is used by transport trucks during the two-month season, and usually opens around the end of January or start of February. Mild temperatures in 2006 closed the road early, but in 2007 the mines had the benefit of a 73-day supply season when almost 11,000 loads were transported.

Preparation work involves the use of converted amphibious military vehicles that can float if they fall through the ice.

Date: 2008-02-10 Time: 16.30 PM


» U.S. dollar causing Indian industry to hemorrhage profit, jobs
Source: AFNS

The Indian diamond industry has lost 100,000 jobs and suffered a decline in manufacturing due to the continued strength of the rupee against the U.S. dollar, according to the country’s trade organization, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

The industry has undergone some 45 billion rupees ($1.14 billion) worth of capital depreciation during the current fiscal year, while accumulating 8 percent more in inventory in value terms. But diamond companies’ stockpiles are depreciating in the current climate, the trade organization said.

The GJEPC has suggested a number of steps the Indian government can take to help the diamond industry, including giving the industry the same help it gives to other small-to-medium exporters, such as a 2 percent interest subsidy on loans; convincing banks to lend diamond companies money in dollars instead of rupees; and not taxing diamond companies for foreign exchange hedging.

Date: 2008-02-09 Time: 14.15 PM


» Rio Tinto posts fall in diamond production in 2007
Source: AFNS

Diamond production at diversified miner Rio Tinto in the fourth quarter fell 18 percent to 7.807 million carats due to substantially lower production from its main Argyle mine in Australia. For the whole year, Rio Tinto's diamond output dropped 26 percent to 26.023 million carats.

Rio Tinto owns the Argyle mine, and holds a 60 percent stake in the Diavik mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories and a 78 percent share in Murowa Diamonds in Zimbabwe.

Production in the fourth quarter at Argyle slumped 25 percent to 5.995 million carats, while output in 2007 dropped 36 percent to 18.744 million carats.

Meanwhile, Rio Tinto's share of output at Diavik jumped 18 percent to 1.766 million carats in the fourth quarter of last year, and by an even higher 22 percent to 7.166 million for all of 2007.

Rio Tinto's Murowa mine share produced 46,000 carats of diamonds in the final quarter of last year, a rise of 18 percent from the same quarter of 2006.

Date: 2008-02-08 Time: 13.34 AM


» DTC Botswana creating jobs, growth in local diamond industry
Source: AFNS

As the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana prepares to start operations, it has placed classified ads in local newspapers for 18 jobs in human resources, finance, information technology and corporate communications and public affairs. Kago Mmopi, a Botswana citizen who has worked as an executive with Orange Botswana and Barclays Bank, has been named corporate communications and public affairs manager.

The move of the DTC’s rough diamond sorting and aggregation operations to Botswana, and its agreement to provide $500 million worth of suitable stones a year to local diamond polishing companies starting in 2010, are expected to create 3,000 downstream jobs.

All but one of the 16 companies granted diamond polishing licenses by the Botswana government are up and running, according to the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources. Lazare Kaplan Botswana is the only company not yet operating; the others are Teemane Manufacturing Company, Eurostar Botswana, Leo Schachter, Diamond Manufacturing, Safdico Botswana, Ascot Diamonds, Suashish Diamonds, Pluczenik Diamond Company, Rand Precision Cut Diamonds, Yerushalmi Bros. Diamonds, H&A Cutting Works, Zebra Diamonds, the Dalumi Group and DDA.

Date: 2008-02-07 Time: 17.19 PM


» HRD Antwerp appoints Emile Schoeters as new Senior Manager of HRD Diamond Lab
Source: AFNS

HRD Antwerp NV, which provides grading, gemmological, educational, technological and research services to the international diamond and jewellery industries, has named Emile Schoeters as the new Senior Manager of the HRD Diamond Lab. He replaces Anita Dillen, who left the organisation at the end of 2007.

Mr. Schoeters joins HRD Antwerp from Agfa-Gevaert, where he served as a key manager. He holds both a doctorate in nuclear physics and an MBA, and comes with extensive experience as a team leader in an international science-based business environment.

In his new role Mr. Schoeters will be responsible for the daily management of the HRD Diamond Lab, and for the formulation of the laboratory’s business strategy. Among the challenges that he will face right at the outset is expanding and optimising the lab’s grading capacity. This is necessary to meet the growing demand for HRD Antwerp diamond certificates, which reached unprecedented levels in 2006 and 2007.

“With his excellent managerial skills and experience, and his strong scientific background, we are confident that Emile is ideally suited to head the HRD Diamond Lab,” said Georges Brys, general manager of HRD Antwerp. “The almost exponential rise in demand for our grading reports has provided us with a tremendous opportunity for growth. Emile, who is intimately familiar with the demands of a science-based enterprise in a market environment, is the right person to take the HRD Diamond Lab further into the future.”

HRD Antwerp NV is the recently created subsidiary of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the private foundation formerly known as the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD). HRD Antwerp operates six services : HRD Diamond Lab, the first ISO-certified diamond lab, which issues one of the world’s most respected diamond certificates; HRD Precious Stones Lab; HRD Education; HRD Graduates Club; HRD Equipment and HRD Research. The HRD Diamond Lab is NBN EN ISO/IEC 17025- certified.

Date: 2008-02-06 Time: 10.23 AM


» DTC lifts suspension of suspended sightholders in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

In a statement released January 22, the Diamond Trading Company confirmed that it had lifted the suspension of rough diamond supplies to four Antwerp-based DTC sightholders, who had been named in a judgment by Antwerp Court of First Instance, in the so-called Brenig case. The suspension had first been imposed on January 8.

According to the statement, the DTC said it had conducted interviews with the sightholders concerned, and considering each separate case on its merits it was lifting its suspension of supply. Where relevant, the DTC stated, it will need confirmation that appropriate remedial action has been taken.

In its statement, the DTC thanked the sightholders concerned for “their prompt and full cooperation in assisting the DTC with its enquiries.”

Date: 2008-02-05 Time: 18.25PM


» Blue Hope Diamond glows red in ultraviolet light
Source: AFNS

The famous 45.52 carat blue stone known as the Hope Diamond glows red when viewed under ultraviolet light, Jeffrey Port, curator of the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C, said.

Port and other scientists studied the stone and other examples of very rare natural blue diamonds loaned by diamond dealers and reported on their finds in the journal Geology.

Port said the red color the Hope Diamond displays under ultraviolet light comes from trace amounts of the element boron, which makes the stone appear blue in normal light. The unique mix of boron and nitrogen now known to exist in the Hope Diamond could help researchers determine whether the Hope Diamond was cut from a much larger rough stone from India that also yielded part of the pre-Revolutionary French crown jewels, he said.

Date: 2008-02-04 Time: 11.21AM


» Diamond tennis tourney to feature Justine Henin and other stars
Source: AFNS

The annual Diamond Games in Antwerp February 11-17 will feature tennis stars Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open, and Justine Henin, who is top-ranked.

Other players among the top 20 in the sport who will take part in the Diamond Games are Anna Chakvetadze of Russia, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Tatiana Golovin of France.

The diamond-studded tennis racket that is the tournament’s top prize is worth 1 million euros ($1.49 million). To win it, a player must triumph in any three out of five years. Amelie Mauresmo of France won the trophy last year but will not compete this year. The 2008 version of the racket has stones cut this year embedded in it.


Date: 2008-02-03 Time: 09.15AM


» Tiffany sponsoring ‘Fair Trade Diamond’ feasibility study
Source: AFNS

TransFair USA has received a $100,000 grant from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation to explore the feasibility of a “Fair Trade Certification” for diamonds. The company will do research to see if “fair trade” can provide a mechanism to help the most disempowered and disenfranchised people in the diamond supply chain through a transparent and equitable system.

The first step in this process is a feasibility study to determine with the help of experts whether it is possible to develop and pilot a standards and certification system for the entire industry. The study is beginning in the early months of 2008.

TransFair USA seeks to reward firms that take the lead on socially and environmentally responsible sourcing in the industry by allowing them to participate in sourcing and certifying their supply chains.

Fair Trade certification for any product requires identifying viable sources and supply chains; delivering impact to worker or farmer communities; solving the social and environmental problems that have traditionally plagued the industry and its stakeholders; creating long-term development opportunities and solutions to poverty in the sector; a pricing mechanism to promote development and a more equitable model of trade; and viable global markets for the products.

Date: 2008-02-02 Time: 17.19 PM


» Canadian miner begins diamond mining in Namibia
Source: AFNS

Canadian diamond miner, Dahava Resources Limited, has started limited production at its Lower Orange River project in Namibia. Exploration and production sampling have produced promising results indicating commercially viable diamondiferous gravel deposits, the company said.

Dahava has announced in the past that diamond grades for the gravels in its project area have historically varied between 0.3 to 2.7 carats per hundred ton.

Grades and value from the area tested at between 1.3 to 1.78 carats per hundred ton. The average size is 2.02 carats, with the stones being mostly gem quality.

Date: 2008-02-01 Time: 12.25 PM


» Major diamond find reported in northern Canada
Source: AFNS

Some 862 rough diamonds have been found at a property in Nunavut in Canada’s Far North owned by Vancouver, British Columbia-based Diamonds North Resources Ltd.

On January 8, the company announced that it found 550 diamonds in an 81.75 kilogramg sample from the Tuktu-1 kimberlite on its wholly owned Amaruk property in the Pelly Bay Diamond District of Nunavut. More than 90 percent of the diamonds recovered from the 0.30-millimeter mesh and above are white, with the majority being clear octahedral crystals forms, the company said.

The news more than doubled the company’s stock price. Diamonds North has discovered 22 kimberlites to date on the Amaruk property, and there are 500 compelling geophysical targets that remain to be tested. Tuktu-1 is located on a 1.2 hectare area.

The company said it views these results as very significant “because it is generally considered highly positive to recover one diamond per kilogram of kimberlite.” Tuktu-1 has yielded nearly 7 diamonds per kilogram, comparable to initial results from some of the top diamond producing kimberlites in Canada.

On January 14, the company announced further high diamond counts from the Qavvik-3 and Qavvik-4 kimberlites at Amaruk. A 72.8 kilogram sample from Qavvik 3 yielded 183 diamonds, and a 65.7 kilogram sample from Qavvik-4 yielded 129 diamonds. These kimberlites are part of the Qavvik kimberlite cluster, which is approximately 15 kilometres from Tuktu-1.

The diamond count for Qavvik-3 is 2.5 diamonds per kilogram, and for Qavvik 4 it is 2 diamonds per kilogram.

Date: 2008-01-31 Time: 09.56 AM


» De Beers to start paying out $295 million settlement of U.S. lawsuit
Source: AFNS

Individual consumers and members of the diamond trade are eligible to claim part of a proposed $295 million settlement of a series of class action lawsuits against De Beers in the United States, according to the “Diamonds Claims Administrator.” The payout is subject to final court approval on April 14.

The lawsuits allege that De Beers charged anticompetitive prices for the rough diamonds it sold, monopolized the rough diamond market and disseminated false and misleading advertising. They are not to be confused with the $10 million De Beers agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Justice in 2004 to settle its antitrust claim. The company has been trying to settle all outstanding U.S. and European antitrust claims in the past few years as it moves into the retail diamond jewelry business and rehabilitates its corporate image.

The $295 million will be distributed to two groups, or classes, of purchasers: the “Direct Purchaser Class” and the “Indirect Purchaser Class.” The Direct Purchaser Class includes persons or businesses, other than Diamond Trading Company sightholders, who purchased any gem diamonds directly from De Beers or one of its diamond mining competitors between September 20, 1997 and March 31, 2006.

The Indirect Purchaser Class includes persons or businesses who purchased gem diamonds, diamond jewelry, or other products containing diamonds from someone other than De Beers or one of its mining competitors between January 1, 1994 and March 31, 2006. Indirect purchasers include consumers and resellers (businesses that purchased gem diamonds and diamond products for resale).

“This Proposed Settlement will provide a cash benefit to consumers who purchased diamonds or diamond jewelry, and broad injunctive relief addressing the conduct alleged in the complaints,” Josef Cooper of the San Francisco-based law firm Cooper & Kirkham, co-counsel for the consumer subclass said.


Date: 2008-01-30 Time: 11.50 AM


» Turkey aiming to launch diamond and precious stones bourse
Source: AFNS

Recognizing the growing popularity of diamond jewelry, Turkey plans to open a diamond bourse later this month. The eventual aim is to create a regional trading center for diamonds.

The market will start operations in the trading of rough and polished diamonds within Istanbul Gold Exchange, said the exchange’s vice president Oguzhan Aloglu.

There is rising domestic demand from Turkey's young people and a move away from traditional jewelry, as well as the possibility of attracting customers in the region, particularly from Dubai and Israel. The latter is a major diamond trading center.

Turkish weddings, like their Indian counterparts, usually feature the giving of gold jewelry, however with gold prices rising dramatically, consumers are looking to add value by including diamonds.

Aloglu estimates Turkish rough diamond sales at approximately $600 million, with diamond jewelry sales of approximately $1.2 billion, according to comments he made to Reuters. Turkey buys mostly semi-polished or polished diamonds from Belgium, Dubai and Israel.

Aloglu predicted the rapid growth of diamond polishing companies and business, but said a 20 percent import tax, also known as a special consumption tax, on diamond imports might be an impediment. He said the industry was working to find a way to end the tax.

Turkey became a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in August.

Date: 2008-01-29 Time: 13.10 PM


» WFDB mourns death of diamantaires in Namibian plane crash
Source: AFNS

Ernest Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, and WFDB Secretary General Michael Vaughan have issued a statement expressing shock and sadness over the tragic death of five Israeli diamantaires in a plane crash that occurred over the weekend in the Namibian capital of Windhoek.

"We offer our condolences to the families of Shlomo Zilberberg, Shmuel Tzuri (Zigdon), Amit Cohen, Ilan Adadi and Avichai Avaro, who lost their lives in this tragic accident," Blom and Vaughan stated . "The international diamond community always cares for the welfare of its members and in times of a disaster of this proportion bows its head in mourning with the families and the Israeli diamond business community."

The five diamantaires and their local pilot, who also was killed, were on their way to the north of Namibia for a short weekend safari. Reportedly, the Israelis were employed by Nam-Gem, a Namibia-based diamond company.

Date: 2008-01-28 Time: 09.11AM


» Strong demand and shortages to boost diamond prices this year
Source: AFNS

Prices of rough diamonds, particularly high-quality stones, will rise further this year as demand surpasses supply, said World Federation of Diamond Bourses President Ernie Blom.

Rough prices will increase due to shortages, increased demand from countries such as China and India, he said.

Blom pointed out that De Beers had already increased prices by 3.5 percent across all its goods at the first sight of the year, which could set a precedent for other diamond suppliers. In addition, the surge in the number of junior diamond miners that listed on stock exchanges last year, or planned to float in the first part of this year, indicated that there was a strong market for the stones.

Blom noted that the shortage of diamonds would not affect all goods, stressing that there was an oversupply in the lower-value range.

Blom’s comments were supported by South African diamond industry analyst James Allan, who predicted "modest" price increases in 2008, of around 5 percent across all types of goods.

Allan believes U.S. demand for polished diamonds will fall this year, as economic indicators regarding growth and the job market decline. To a certain extent, however, the falling American demand would be offset by rising demand from India, China and the Middle East.

"They are not close to the U.S. at the moment, but, in a couple of years time, they will be major consumers of diamonds," he told Mining Weekly Online.

Date: 2008-01-27 Time: 18.50 PM


» Belgium post sharply higher polished exports in 2007
Source: AFNS

The Belgian diamond industry reported strong polished diamond export figures for December and 2007 as a whole, according to statistics released by the AWDC Diamond Office.

Polished exports for December in terms of volume rose 11.20 percent to 719,773.79 carats, and in terms of value by 15.51 percent to $886.4 million. For all of last year, polished exports increased by 7.20 percent to 9.36 million carats, and by 13.01 percent to $10.7 billion.

Meanwhile, polished imports in December showed a 5.75 percent increase to 616,955.82 carats, and by 14.62 percent to $718.6 million. For all of 2007, polished imports showed a 4.96 percent increase to 9.74 million carats, and an 11.06 percent rise to $9.99 billion.

In imports and exports of rough diamonds, Antwerp showed a large rise in price per carat both for December and the year as a whole. Rough exports showed a 0.14 percent increase in volume in December terms to 13.14 million carats, and a 16.13 percent jump by value to $1.07 billion. For all of 2007, there was a 5.17 percent rise in volume to 142.9 million carats, and a 15.28 percent increase in value to $11.4 billion.

Rough imports in December were down 2.26 percent in volume on December 2006 to 9.34 million carats, but 19.31 percent higher in value at $803.5 million. For the whole of 2007, rough imports were down 1.71 percent in volume terms to 133.6 million carats, but 10.52 percent up by value to $10.2 billion.

Date: 2008-01-26 Time: 10.00 AM


» Astronomers discover largest diamond in the galaxy
Source: AFNS

The largest diamond in the known galaxy has been discovered by astronomers at Harvard University.

Called 'Lucy' and located 50 light years from the Earth, the diamond planet is the heart of an extinct star that used to shine like the Sun, and weighs at least 10 billion trillion trillion carats.

The astronomers said that Lucy is a crystallized white dwarf, the remaining hot core of a dead star. They added that in five billion years, our Sun will also die and turn into a similar diamond which will forever sparkle in the center of the solar system.

Date: 2008-01-25 Time: 08.45 AM


» Severalmaz to sell diamonds from Lomonsov this year
Source: AFNS

Severalmaz, a mining company 90 percent owned by Russian diamond giant Alrosa, will begin selling rough diamonds in 2008, according to Interfax.

Severalmaz is developing the Lomonosov diamond deposit in the Arkhangelsk region which was discovered in 1980, Interfax reported.

Severalmaz predicts that around $12 billion of diamonds will be recovered from the deposit, with more than half expected to be of gem quality.

"In 2008 we plan to start up operations at a number of points in phase two of the Lomonosov project, which will enable the company to attain a qualitatively new level of production operations," Severalmaz President Nikolai Abramov told Interfax,

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS). Article may be reproduced provided that credit is given to AFNS.

[AFNS] MOSCOW, RUSSIA 09 January 2008– Severalmaz, a mining company 90 percent owned by Russian diamond giant Alrosa, will begin selling rough diamonds in 2008, according to Interfax.

Severalmaz is developing the Lomonosov diamond deposit in the Arkhangelsk region which was discovered in 1980, Interfax reported.

Severalmaz predicts that around $12 billion of diamonds will be recovered from the deposit, with more than half expected to be of gem quality.

"In 2008 we plan to start up operations at a number of points in phase two of the Lomonosov project, which will enable the company to attain a qualitatively new level of production operations," Severalmaz President Nikolai Abramov told Interfax.

Date: 2008-01-24 Time: 10.00 AM


» DTC’s sales in South Africa seen falling by 2 million carats
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Trading Company (DTC) predicts future sales in South Africa of around 12-million carats annually, down from approximately 14-million carats following the sale of four of De Beers Consolidated Mines' local operations. In value terms, the forecast fall amounts to around $700 million.

But, noted DTC Managing Director Faried Sallie, while De Beers own output will be down, South African rough production should remain steady. This is because De Beers has sold several of rough diamond producing resources to new operators. De Beers has sold its Kimberley underground mine as well as diamond-containing dumps around Kimberley in the past two years in addition to its Koffiefontein and Cullinan mines.

De Beers winding down on operations has caused a good deal of anxiety in the veteran mining town, and the diamond company is keen to avoid leaving a vacuum in its wake. In a bid to expand diamond operations around Kimberley, the DTC SA offices are being moved to the historic diamond area from Johannesburg. The move is aimed at encouraging sightholders to establish factories in Kimberley.

DTC Sa also is mulling the setting-up of a diamond academy in Kimberley to teach the skills needed in cutting and polishing plants.

Date: 2008-01-23 Time: 08.45 AM


» Angola summit expected to approve industry code of conduct
Source: AFNS

A senior Angolan official said a world diamond summit due to take place in the country in November 2009 will approve a code of conduct for the diamond industry. Aimed at diamond producing states, the code of conduct will target the use of diamonds in prolonging conflicts.

Alberto Françony, director of planning and development at state diamond company Endiama, said the conference would also discuss issues relating to environmental protection and areas around diamond mines.

The summit, due to be held in Luanda, the Angolan capital, will also include technical meetings, a diamond fair and meetings between government officials and the heads of diamond companies. The Angolan delegation is predicted to be 250 strong, while 400 foreign visitors are expected to attend.

Date: 2008-01-22 Time: 13.11 PM


» Endiama to float on new Angolan stock exchange
Source: AFNS

Endiama, the Angolan state-owned diamond company, is among 27 companies planning to list on the Angolan Stock Exchange and Derivatives (BVDA). The BVDA is due to start operations in the first quarter of this year.

The 27 companies include several banks, insurance corporation Ensa and oil company Sonangol.Endiama is involved in diamond mining, prospecting and trading in Angola.

The establishment of the BVDA is meant to help diversify means of financing the Angolan economy and enhancing transparency in financing public and private firms. In the opinion of the Angolan government, the existence of a capital market in the country, through a stock exchange, would enable investors to render lucrative their financial assets, placing them at the disposal of both the state and the private sector.

Date: 2008-01-21 Time: 09.00 AM


» Diamond training school established in Ghana
Source: AFNS

Diamond training institute has been opened in the Accra, the capital of Ghana, to teach members of the Ghanaian diamond and jewelry industries about diamond identification, manufacturing, and grading, according to the Ghana News Agency.

Called the Natural Diamond Training Institute, the new school is offering a two-month course for high school graduates during which they learn how to identify, cut and polish rough diamonds.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, the school’s director, T. Raj Maheswaran, said that the students were also being taught marketing of diamonds, so that they could develop the entrepreneurial skills to establish their own companies.

Date: 2008-01-20 Time: 16.30 PM


» Monroe Minerals says Angolan diamond site may lack diamonds
Source: AFNS

Canada-based Monroe Minerals Inc. said that there may not be enough diamonds at its Cangandala Project diamond exploration program in Angola to be worth further prospecting.

This preliminary conclusion comes from “deficiencies in both the nature of the potential source of diamonds and the depositional environment of the Cuanza River in the Cangandala Concession, along with [a] lack of enthusiasm shown by local garimpeiros [artisanal miners],” the company said. “Although diamonds have been, and will continue to be found by local garimpeiros, there may not be substantial resources within the confines of the project area that can be mined on a commercial scale.”

Field exploration at Cangandala ended in December. Since heavy rainfall made transport impossible, only half the program was completed, and any further field program must await the end of the rain season in Angola next May, the company said.

Monroe is engaged in the exploration and development of gem-quality diamond properties in southern Africa and in putting together an international portfolio of uranium projects.

Date: 2008-01-19 Time: 14.15 PM


» India fears impact of changes to DTC sightholder list
Source: AFNS

India’s Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) fears the country’s diamond industry will be hit badly by the Diamond Trading Company's (DTC) axing of eight sightholders from its list.

The DTC has cut 25 sightholders from its list overall. In addition to the eight firms in India, it has cut three Indian-owned firms in Antwerp.

The GJEPC said it predicts a 25 percent shortage in rough diamonds to the country after March following the DTC's decision. It has the DTC to “review and reconsider its decision-making process.”

In 2006, the DTC supplied rough diamonds worth $1.7 billon to India out of a total of $8 billon of rough imports.

The GJEPC estimates around 150,000 diamond workers will lose their jobs due to the shortfall in rough diamonds and a fall in exports caused by the weakening of the US dollar against the Indian rupee. GJEPC chairman Sanjay Kothari said India would have to develop alternative rough sources and would request the Indian government to promote local mining.

Date: 2008-01-18 Time: 13.34 AM


» Rosy Blue mulls commodities investment
Source: AFNS

Rosy Blue (India) Private Ltd, the Mumbai-based subsidiary of the Antwerp-headquartered Rosy Blue Group of Companies, is reportedly moving into commodities and is also planning to set up a diamond cutting and processing plant near Palanpur, according to the Indian newspaper Business Standard.

Rosy Blue is considering either a castor seed processing or an isabgul plant in Banaskantha in Gujarat. It has sought 50 acres of land from the state government for the purpose, said the Indian arm of the Rosy Blue group.

“Diamonds being the core business for us, we thought of getting into a second or third leg business,” said Russell Mehta, chief operating officer of the group in India. “Moreover, as a corporate social responsibility, we came across the idea of buying 50 acres of barren land from farmers. Though the company is yet to decide whether it would set up a castor seed processing plant or an isabgul plant, ultimately we intend to generate some more job opportunities in the region.” Mehta said company shareholders would meet soon to make investment decisions.

Mehta added that Rosy Blue would also be establishing a manufacturing plant via one of its shareholders, Banaskantha Industries Private Limited, near Palanpur.

“As of now, we are satisfied with our diamond cutting and processing capacity. Yet, the new plant is again an effort to generate more employment in that region,” he said.

Via a joint venture with jewelry retailer company Popley & Sons, Rosy Blue also aims to enter the Gulf market.

Date: 2008-01-17 Time: 17.19 PM


» Rio Tinto says it may suspend $60 million investment over proposed Zimbabwe law
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto says it may reconsider a planned U.S. $60 million in a diamond project in Zimbabwe if the Mugabe government moves to implement its Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Bill. Rio Tinto holds 56 percent of Rio Tinto Zimbabwe, which owns and operates the Murowa diamond mine.

The Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Bill has already been passed by the Zimbabwean parliament, but it is still President Robert Mugabe's signature to become law. The requires all foreign owned companies to have a major shareholder who is local.

Rio Tinto also expressed concern about Zimbabwe’s foreign exchange regulations, which requires mining companies to source foreign exchange at the official rate, which currently is Zim. $30 000 to one U.S. dollar. The rate available on the open market is more than Zim. $2 million to one U.S. dollar.

Rio Tinto had intended to invest U.S. $60 million in a new diamond mining venture, but it may be changing its mind. "It seems there will be no change in the pricing regime in the foreseeable future and further decisions about the mine's future may have to be made in light of the proposed empowerment laws," the company said in an official statement.

The Zimbabwe parliament is also considering the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill. It will give the government the authority to purchase 51 percent of foreign companies holding in local mines that produce “strategic fuels and minerals. According to the proposed law, up to 25 percent of the 51 percent could be taken without money changing hands, and the remaining 26 percent would have to be paid for under a five-year plan.

Date: 2008-01-16 Time: 10.23 AM


» Celebrity engagement and personal jewelry stars diamonds
Source: AFNS

The popularity of diamonds remains undiminished among celebrities who received engagement, wedding or other personal jewelry in 2007, one list reveals.

Actress Brittany Murphy got two platinum Neil Lane engagement rings from new husband Simon Monjack. One contained a 5 carat yellow diamond center stones surrounded by a circle of smaller white stones, and the other features a 6.5 carat cushion cut diamond set on a diamond-encrusted band. Model-actress Elizabeth Hurley received an engagement ring with a 15.09 carat Asscher cut diamond in the center. The white gold band, which was set with smaller pave diamonds, came from Chopard’s “Haute Joallerie” collection at Chopard; the same jeweler made Hurley’s white gold wedding band, which is set with 20 square-cut 3.91 carat diamonds.

Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks received a Jacob & Co. engagement ring set with a 15 carat cushion cut diamond from Nick Cannon, although she stopped wearing it in October. Ivana Trump received a platinum engagement ring from Rossano Rubicondi. The ring’s center stone is a 12 carat emerald-cut diamond. It was designed by Ivana’s daughter Ivanka Trump, whose name is associated with Diamond Trading Company sightholder Dynamic Diamonds.

Actor Charlie Sheen gave his fiancé Brooke Mueller a platinum engagement band set with an 11 carat, radiant cut fancy yellow diamond. Comic actor Eddie Murphy gave his fiancé Tracey Edmonds an 8 carat fancy yellow diamond engagement ring from Cartier in July. Actress Kate Walsh received a Neil Lane engagement ring set with a Jubilee-cut diamond in May. Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt received a heirloom engagement ring set with a large center diamond surrounded by 10 smaller white diamonds from fiancé Ross McCall.

Australian singer Delta Goodrem received a diamond solitaire ring from Brian McFadden, and actress Heidi Montag received a platinum engagement ring with a lemon amethyst center stone surrounded by small diamonds from actor Spencer Pratt, who co-stars with her on “The Hills.”

Date: 2008-01-15 Time: 17.08 PM


» Diamond finds at Arkansas park reach 1,000 for the year
Source: AFNS

A 48-year-old handyman named Denis Tyrrell found the 1,000th diamond unearthed in the Crater of Diamond State Park at Murfreesboro, Arkansas so far in 2007.

Tyrell spotted the light brown, rectangular, 3.48 carat rough stone in a hole he had already filled in. This brought the total number of stones he has found at the park to 131, yet he still lives in a tent at a local rock shop, according to a news report.

The last time more than 1,000 diamonds were found in the state park in a single year was 1994, park interpreter Kim Garland said. The largest diamond ever found at the park was a 16.37 carat white diamond dubbed the Amarillo Starlight, which a Texas tourist found in 1975, three years after the park opened.

Date: 2008-01-14 Time: 15.25 PM


» Diamond Fields International produces 18,139 carats of undersea diamonds
Source: AFNS

South Africa’s Diamond Fields International Ltd. (DFI) and joint venture partner Bonaparte Diamond Mines NL produced 42,827 diamonds weighing 18,139 carats, at an average size of 0.42 carats per stone, in joint undersea diamond mining areas off the coast of Namibia. With the end of the Southern Hemisphere winter, diamond production improved in October, with the recovery of 4,864 diamonds weighing 1,894 carats. Production in September totaled 1,618 carats.

DFI recently sold a parcel containing 1,889 carats of the offshore Namibian rough, resulting in gross revenue of $388,303 at an average price of $205.55 per carat. Total joint sales of diamonds produced through October 21 were 17,455 carats sold for $3,799,772, at an average price of $217.69 per carat.

Exploratory sampling conducted by Napoleon turned up seven new diamond deposits, “which will support joint mining operations through 2008-2009,” DFI President and CEO Roger Daniel said. At the ML111 joint operations area, which is thought to contain an “indicated” resource of 63,000 carats, the companies found 451 diamonds weighing approximately 160 carats total in 290 positive samples taken this year. This represented a 68 percent increase in the number of samples with diamonds in them and an 85 percent increase in the number of samples in which more than one diamond was found.

Date: 2008-01-13 Time: 08.45 AM


» Gem Diamonds to mine in Central African Republic next year
Source: AFNS

London-based mining firm Gem Diamonds will start rough diamond production from an alluvial site in the Central African Republic in the second half of 2008, John Brook, general manager of Gem Diamond Centrafrique, said.

Brook said the firm wants to establish that there are at least 500,000 carats of stones at the site, which is located along a forested riverbank near the town of Berberati, 300 km southwest of the capital Bangui. The intention is to produce 100,000 carats of rough a year.

The grade of the ore at the site ranges from 100 carats per hundred tones (cpht) in the riverbed down to 20 cpht on some terraces on the banks. The company has invested $8 million in equipment at the site so far and has $4 million in operating costs a year. Freelance diggers are active on the 800 square km concession, which Gem Diamonds started exploring in April, but Brook said they do not pose a problem.

The government of the Central African Republic owns a 25 percent stake in the site, similar to the situation at one of Gem Diamonds’ other mines, Letseng in Lesotho, where the company owns a 70 percent stake and the government holds the balance. The firm also owns the Cempaka Diamond Mine in Indonesia and mines diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Central African Republic officially produces 500,000 carats of rough a year, but government officials think two to three times that amount is smuggled out of the country. Diamonds from the poor and politically unstable country are renowned for their high quality.

Date: 2008-01-12 Time: 13.11 PM


» Harry Winston sales up 22 percent to end of October
Source: AFNS

Harry Winston Diamond Corporation reported a 22 percent increase in sales, to $176.5 million, in the three months ending October 31, with the growth all in rough diamond sales from the Diavik Diamond Mine, rather than from its fine jewelry stores. The company reports in U.S. dollars although it is based in Canada; formerly known as Aber Diamond Corp., it has adopted the name of the U.S. fine jewelry company Harry Winston, which it bought out and turned into a wholly owned subsidiary.

On the down side, the company reported a $40.6 million foreign exchange loss, primarily resulting from the revaluation of future income taxes. As a result, the Company posted a net loss of $7.4 million, compared with net earnings of $18.8 million the prior year. Otherwise net earnings would have been $33.2 million.

Harry Winston holds a 40 percent stake in the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Its 60 percent partner in the mine, Rio Tinto, has approved a two-year capital program to complete the development of an underground mine, which should secure the future of the mine beyond 2020, Harry Winston said. Harry Winston is arranging credit for the estimated $218 million more it will have to contribute to complete this project, on top of the $77 million it contributed last year.

Harry Winston’s mining revenues increased 35 percent to $122.7 million in the quarter. The company held three primary rough diamond sales during this period, and continues to expand its rough diamond sales network, now conducting sales at offices in Belgium, Israel and India. Mining earnings from operations were $70 million, up 72 percent. The company’s 40 percent share of the Diavik production amounted to 1.249 million carats in the quarter ending September 30, compared with 1.132 million last year, and in the first nine months of the year the company’s share was 3.6 million carats, compared with 2.934 million carats last year.

Harry Winston’s retail diamond jewelry business reported sales of $53.8 million in the quarter ending October 31, compared with $54.5 million for the comparable quarter of the prior year. International sales increased 16 percent to $34.4 million as a result of increases in existing store sales and sales from three new salons, which helped offset the effects of a robbery at the Paris Salon and a 22 percent decline in U.S. sales, which fell to $19.4 million. The retail jewelry segment reported a loss from operations of $3.6 million, compared with a loss of $3.5 million last year. As of October 31, the company operated 16 salons, compared with 12 salons last year. In addition, during the quarter the company opened a new watch manufacturing facility in Geneva.

Date: 2008-01-11 Time: 17.19 PM


» Demand will continue to outstrip supply on world markets
Source: AFNS

Demand will outrun supply in the world diamond market over the next few years, analyst James Allan of the South African firm Allan Hochreiter said. While supply is growing 1 percent a year, demand is growing 4 to 5 percent, meaning that every year $650 million worth of demand is being added to the $13 billion rough diamond market, he said. That annual growth in demand is about half the size of total South African production, he noted. Since 2002, diamond prices have gone up 35–40 percent, he added. This makes investment in diamonds and diamond companies a good idea, he said.

While China is adding to the growth in demand for diamonds, the effect is not yet as substantial as the hype might lead one to think because China still accounts for only 3 percent of the world diamond market, Allan said.

Allan, who advised the diamond mining firm Rockwell Ventures on its recent IPO, said there will be a good deal of consolidation in the next few years among the 30 or so second-tier diamond companies that tend to engage in much more exploration than actual production.

In South Africa, Petra Diamonds will probably be very successful at extracting a profit from the Cullinan Mine, which it just bought from De Beers, as it already has with the Koffiefontein Mine, Allan said. De Beers, meanwhile, will have to make a difficult decision as to whether to extend the Finsch Mine underground, as it has decided to do at Venetia.

Date: 2008-01-10 Time: 10.23 AM


» DTC Botswana sightholder complains of low rough diamond supply
Source: AFNS

A sightholder of De Beers’ new Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana has written to the country’s government to complain that it is being allotted only 70 percent of the rough diamonds it had received prior to the new three-year contract period.

The problem may be due to the fact that while DTC Botswana has already started operations, the planned move of DTC International’s rough diamond sorting and aggregating operations is still some months off, causing some confusion about which company is responsible for supplying which customers with rough, according to an analysis in the local newspaper Mmegi. DTC Botswana Managing Director Brian Mcdonald said the company does not comment on customer supply issues.

Diamond Manufacturing Botswana, which like the DTC Botswana is part government-owned, said it is a true local polishing firm that has invested $3 million in new and refurbished equipment, skills transfer and working capital. The firm said it needs at least $35 million of rough in its 2008-2009 fiscal year to meet its commitments, and added that it would like to receive all those stones in the first three months of that period.

“Beneficiation,” the availability of locally produced rough for local diamond polishing companies, is a rallying cry throughout southern Africa and has led to the establishment of the DTC Botswana and De Beers’ move of DTC International’s sorting and aggregation operations to Botswana.

Date: 2008-01-09 Time: 15.01 PM


» De Beers Marine Namibia expects record production
Source: AFNS

De Beers Marine Namibia expects to exceed last year’s record production levels of more than 1 million carats of rough stones this year, Managing Director Otto Shikongo said. This compares with production of 506,000 carats in 2002, when the company began operations.

However, the lack of local skilled manpower for offshore diamond mining is a problem, Shikongo said. From 2003 to 2006, De Beers Marine Namibia spent N$84 million (U.S.$12.2 million) on training programs. The company needs and will train engineering and deck cadets, technicians, electricians, production drillers, crawler pilots, ship’s officers and crew, and apprentices. Currency exchange rates (the weak U.S. dollar) and high fuel costs are other problems the company faces, Shikongo said.

Shikongo and Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy Erkki Nghimtina agreed that the future of diamond mining in Namibia increasingly lies offshore, as land-based diamond resources are dwindling after almost 100 years of exploitation.

Date: 2008-01-08 Time: 07.30 AM


» Alrosa shifts foreign focus to Africa
Source: AFNS

Alrosa, the Russian government-controlled diamond mining monopoly, will set up a holding company to manage its investments in Africa, including its Angolan operations and cooperative ventures with local producers and traders. The new subsidiary will take the form of a holding company based in St. Petersburg.

The Russian national government has been seeking to gain a majority stake in Alrosa for several years, through a variety of opaque transactions. The national government is said to control approximately a 48 percent stake in the firm, with the balance held by the government of the autonomous Republic of Yakutia (site of the company’s massive Mir Mine), regional authorities in Yakutia and company executives.

Date: 2008-01-07 Time: 10.00 AM


» DTC confirms 79 sightholders for 2008-2011
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company (DTC) finalized its much anticipated list of sightholders for the March 31, 2008 to March 30, 2011 contract period December 17, and it had a total of only 79 names on it, down drastically from 93 in the preceding contract period. While the company is disclosing the numbers, it will not officially release the list itself until April, Louise Prior, head of corporate communications for the DTC International, told Antwerp Facets.

Of the 79 companies, 75 will receive their supply through the DTC’s London or Johannesburg offices; six of the 75 are first-time sightholders. De Beers has also established a Namibia DTC and a DTC Botswana through separate joint venture agreements with the respective national governments. The Namibia DTC announced its list of 11 sightholders on October 4, and the DTC Botswana announced its list of 16 sightholders on November 14. Both of these companies released the full list of names when they made their announcements.

There is a good deal of overlap between the separate sightholder lists. Many companies on the Botswana and Namibia list are local affiliates of DTC International sightholders. Nevertheless, the new sightholder lists represent a new era for the DTC as a whole. During the previous contract period (2005-07), the DTC sold all of its rough diamonds to clients entirely through the DTC International, which offered sights in London and Johannesburg.

While not all the sightholder names were known at press time, a simple calculation suggests that at least 20 and perhaps as many as two dozen companies have had their sights taken away. The DTC’s explanation for this dramatic change was vague: “All applicants for the new sightholder contract have been through a fair and robust process that assessed applicants’ relative performance against clear and objective criteria, taking into consideration the availability of rough diamonds within the particular categories applicants requested. The criteria were designed to identify those applicants that demonstrated excellence in their technical ability, their distribution and marketing ability and the core strengths of their diamond business. Financial transparency and ethical accountability were mandatory requirements for all applicants.” The DTC added that it “is currently investigating ways in which it can retain its valued relationships with current sightholders that have not secured supply for the 2008-2011 contract period.”

According to the Rapaport Group’s online diamond news service, the six new sightholders are A.S. Export, Arslanian Cutting Works NWT, Dharmanandan Diamonds Pvt. Ltd., Sahar Atid Diamonds Ltd., Shairu Gems and Yossi Glick Diamonds (2003) Ltd. As of December 18, the news service had also identified 62 veteran sightholders who have had their sights renewed: A. Dalumi Diamonds Ltd., Arjav Diamonds N.V., Asian Star Co. Ltd., Bhavani Gems, Blue Star, C. Mahendra Exports, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Co. Ltd., D. Navinchandra & Co., D.D. Manufacturing N.V., Dali Diamond Company N.V., De Toledo Diamonds Ltd., Diamanthandel A. Spira BVBA, Diacor International, Digico Holdings Ltd., Dimexon Diamonds Ltd., E.F.D. Ltd., Eurostar Diamond Holdings, Exelco N.V., Festdiam, Fruchter Gad Diamonds Ltd., Gold Star Diamond Pvt. Ltd. (formerly RT Diamonds pvt.), IGC Group, JB Diamonds, Jewelex India Pvt. Ltd., Julius Klein Diamonds Inc., K. Girdharlal International Pvt. Ltd. , KGK Enterprises, K.P. Sanghvi & Sons, Karp Impex Ltd., Kiran Exports, Kristall Production Corporation OAO, L.I.D. Ltd., Laxmi Diamond Pvt. Ltd., Lazare Kaplan International, Leo Schachter & Company Ltd., Louis Glick & Company, M. Suresh Company Pvt. Ltd., Michael Werdiger Inc., Minestone, Mohit Diamonds Pvt. Ltd., Moti Ganz, Navin Gems, Overseas Diamonds , Pluczenik Diamond Co., Premier Gem Corp., Ramkrishna Exports, Rand Diamonds, Rosy Blue N.V., SAFDICO, Salant Group Ltd., Sanghavi Exports International Pvt. Ltd., Sheetal Manufacturing Co., Shrenuj & Company Limited, Star Diamond Group (Pty.) Ltd., Stuller Inc., SunDiamond bvda, Tache Company N.V., Tara Jewels Co., Tasaki Shinju Co. Ltd., Vijaydimon Bvba, YEI - Yahalomei Espeka International, and Yerushalmi Bros.

Date: 2008-01-06 Time: 09.56 AM


» Diamond sculpture sells for $11.8 million
Source: AFNS

An enormous blue steel sculpture in the shape of a diamond sold for $11.8 million at Christie’s “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale” November 13.

The sculpture by Jeff Koons is more than seven feet wide and almost eight feet tall. It was on display on top of four gold-colored prongs outside Christie’s offices in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center before the sale.

The seller was said to be publisher Benedict Taschen, who bought the sculpture shortly after it was completed in 2006 only to keep it in storage. The sale price was an all-time record for the artist.

Date: 2008-01-05 Time: 16.30 PM


» Australian firm gets diamond prospecting leases in India
Source: AFNS

Australian mineral developer India Resources has received five prospecting leases in an area of Andhra Pradesh where diamonds have been found in the past. The area is part of the eastern Dharwar Archaean Craton of South India.

India Resources Chairman Michael Kiernan said that two kimberlite pipes have been identified and mapped in previous drilling in the lease areas by another Australian prospecting firm, Dwyka Diamonds.

“Preliminary drilling shows diamond associated indicator minerals within the project area, which displays diamond bearing potential,” Kiernan said. “The region is highly prospective for diamonds, and we have several strong anomalies which will be tested as part of an extensive exploration program to investigate for further pipes within the cluster. We expect to commence an aggressive exploration program in early 2008.”

IRL is developing a number of potential diamond projects in India. The company has three primary diamond projects under exploration—Bundelkhand, Bhandara and Dharwar. The latter is an area where alluvial diamonds have been found in the past.

Date: 2008-01-04 Time: 09.15 AM


» South Africa gives tribe $66 million for diamond lands
Source: AFNS

A tribe of aboriginal inhabitants in the Richtersveld, a remote area on South Africa’s northwestern coast near the Namibian border, has received an initial payment of R440 million ($65.9 million) from the South African government, in a payment to settle a series of lawsuits over the seizure of land for diamond mining 80 years ago.

On December 1, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana formally handed over the deeds to 330 square miles of coastal land to the leaders of the 4,500 member Nama tribe. The local residents will also have a 49 percent stake in the Alexander Bay area operations of government-owned mining company Alexkor, and will get an additional R240 million ($36 million) in development grants in the next three years.

The deal will enable the nearly moribund Alexkor to try to raise up to R200 billion ($30 billion) to recapitalize its operations. In the year ending in March 2006, Alexkor had an operating loss of R38.2 million ($5.7 million) and produced a record low 43,000 carats. The tribal residents have lifted their objections to the merger of Alexkor’s Namaqualand (Atlantic coast) operations with those of De Beers, a deal the government announced in February.

Date: 2008-01-03 Time: 07.32 AM


» Kimberley Process Chair Secretariat visits AWDC
Source: AFNS

An Indian government delegation visited the Antwerp World Diamond Centre today in preparation of its Kimberley Process chair starting January 2008.

Delegation members were Anu Sharma, Director of India’s Department of Commerce, V.K. Sharma, Sr. Technical Director of NIC and Kewal K. Duggal, Regional Director of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

After visiting the AWDC’s Diamond Office, the delegation participants were informed on the industry self-regulation measures by members of the Antwerp diamond industry and bourses.

As of 2008, India will be chairing the Kimberley Process, the joint government, international diamond industry and civil society initiative to set up a certification scheme for rough diamonds.

The chair supervises the implementation of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), the operations of the working groups and committees, and the general administration of the Process. The chair is elected every year at the plenary meeting.

Date: 2008-01-02 Time: 17.19 PM


» Simmons Jewelry Company holds eBay diamond auction
Source: AFNS

The Simmons Jewelry Company established by hip hop star Russell Simmons has started a 10-day-long online auction of diamond jewelry and other items, with proceeds going to his Diamond Empowerment Fund for educational programs in African diamond producing nations.

The Diamonds Give auction on the popular eBay auction website includes approximately 15 lots of donated diamond jewelry, including a diamond-set Ohm Watch from Simmons’ company and items donated by LL Cool J, Rev Run, Justine Simmons, Naomi Campbell and Cedric The Entertainer.

Simmons reportedly started the charity after he was stung by criticism of his endorsement of the diamond trade.

Date: 2008-01-01 Time: 10.23 AM


» More than 10 million carats expected from Voorspoed
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ new Voorspoed Mine in South Africa will produce more than 10 million carats of rough over its expected 12 to 16 year lifespan, at a rate of 850,000 to 900,000 carats a year starting in 2009.

De Beers official Mike Brown said the mine will be about one-third the size of the Finsch Mine, which he once managed. It is currently 35 meters deep but will be dug to 306 to 420 meters in depth, across an area of 12.5 hectares.

The first stones will emerge from the mine in June, and full production will be achieved by the end of 2008, six months earlier than initially expected.

The mine is budgeted to cost R1.3 billion ($194 million). To date, R700 million ($105 million) has been spent and another R400 million ($60 million) has been set aside for the project.

De Beers has owned the site since 1912 but is only able to exploit it now, due to advances in mining technology. De Beers Consolidated Mines, the South African arm of the group, owns a 74 percent stake in the mine, with the balance held by its black economic empowerment partner, Ponaholo Trust.

Date: 2007-12-31 Time: 15.01 PM


» De Beers says Ontario tax scaring off diamond mines
Source: AFNS

Ontario’s raising of the diamond mining royalty from 5 percent to 13 percent is scaring off diamond mines, costing the province potential jobs and revenue, Jeremy Wyeth, vice president of De Beers Canada’s Victor Project, said.

The royalty increase only affects the Victor Project in northern Ontario’s James Bay lowlands for now, because that is the only diamond mine in the province. Construction on the mine began in February 2006, and full production has yet to start.

New mines in Ontario could create an average of 2,300 well paying jobs, and contribute C$140 million (U.S.$139 million) to the province’s GDP during the construction phase and twice that during production, according to a recent estimate by Peter Dungan and Steve Murphy of the University of Toronto’s Institute for Policy Analysis. Those are very conservative estimates, but they cannot be realized unless the provincial government adopts policies that actively favor the mining industry, according to Chris Hodgson, president of the Ontario Mining Association.

Date: 2007-12-30 Time: 13.00 PM


» Shore Gold aims to start diamond mine in Saskatchewan by 2011
Source: AFNS

Shore Gold will try to get a diamond mine started at Fort a la Corne, Saskatchewan by 2011, George Read, senior vice president of exploration and development, said at the recent annual Saskatchewan Geological Survey open house.

The company has Can. $80 million (U.S.$79.5 million) available for development, including Can. $30 million (U.S.$29.8 million) raised recently, and could add another Can. $19 million (U.S.$18.9 million) to that next year.

Shore Gold hopes to establish by the end of 2008 that there are 200 million tons of diamond-bearing kimberlite in the Star kimberlite and to get an estimate of average carat value and grade in carats per 100 tons (cpht). If the mine gets the go-ahead in 2009, it could produce 40,000 tonnes of kimberlite a year for 15–17 years.

The company wholly owns the Star kimberlite and is prospecting with joint venture partner Newmont Resources at other kimberlites that they hope will be at least equal to the Star kimberlite. At the Orion South kimberlite, for instance, Read hopes for a grades of at least 18 cpht. Recent drilling at Star has yielded lower grades than before because the drill is breaking large stones, he said.

Date: 2007-12-29 Time: 17.10 PM


» Graff produces 26 diamonds from the ‘Lesotho Promise’
Source: AFNS

The Lesotho Promise, a 603 carat rough diamond discovered in October 2006 at the Letseng Mine in Lesotho, has yielded 26 D-flawless polished diamonds with a total weight of 223.35 carats at the hands of diamond polishers working for jeweller Laurence Graff. The diamonds were cut in Antwerp.

Graff displayed the polished stones himself at the company’s London headquarters. He bought the rough stone, which is the 15th largest rough diamond ever found in the world, through his jewelry company’s diamond manufacturing arm, Safdico, winning a competitive auction with a bid of $12.36 million. He set 35 expert polishers to work on it. They were assisted by computer technology in planning how to deal with the stone, which had many cracks and irregularities.

The polished stones are each laser-inscribed on their girdles with the Graff logo and a unique Lesotho Promise series number. The inscriptions are visible only under a 10X loupe and do not affect the stones’ quality.

Gem Diamonds controls a 70 percent stake of Letseng, which the balance held by the Lesotho government.

Date: 2007-12-28 Time: 12.25 PM


» Belgian polished exports and imports rise in November
Source: AFNS

The Belgian diamond sector recorded a sharp increase in dollar terms in polished exports and imports in November, according to figures published by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

Polished exports amounted to $1.05 billion last month, a 26.4 percent rise on the same month last year. In volume terms, there was a 5.12 percent increase to 829,071 carats. For the January-November period, exports rose 12.8 percent to $9.85 billion and by 6.9 percent to 8.86 million carats.

Meanwhile, polished imports also showed a strong rise in November, rising 26.0 percent on November last year to $873.3 million. In weight terms, exports were up 5.5 percent to 762,207 carats. For the first 11 months of the year, imports climbed 10.8 percent to $9.27 billion, and by 4.9 percent to 9.12 million carats.

As for rough exports and imports, they posted declines in November, although were largely positive for the January-November period. November exports fell 16.6 percent to $847.0 million, and by 36.5 percent to 9.01 million carats. For the first 11 months of the year, exports rose 15.2 percent to $10.3 billion and climbed 5.7 percent to 129.7 million carats.

Meanwhile, rough imports fell 13.8 percent in November to $781,.9 million, and slumped 21.3 percent to 10.6 million carats. For the January-November period, rough imports increased by 9.8 percent to $9.38 billion, but slipped 1.7 percent to 124.2 million carats.

Date: 2007-12-27 Time: 09.56 AM


» Record $18.5 million price for Fabergé egg at Christie’s auction
Source: AFNS

Christie’s auction house said it had sold a Fabergé egg that had belonged to the Rothschild family for $18.5 million in London November 28, twice the previous record price for these jewelry pieces.

An unidentified Russian buyer placed the winning bid after 10 minutes, the auction house said. The piece was unknown until recently. Apart from it, only 12 other Fabergé eggs are known to have been made to Russian Imperial standards for private buyers. Fifty were made for the Russian Imperial family, starting in 1885.

The Rothschild Fabergé Egg was signed and dated by Karl Fabergé in 1902. It was a gift from Beatrice Ephrussi (1864-1934) (neé de Rothschild) to Germaine Halphen (1884-1975) on the occasion of the latter’s engagement to Beatrice’s younger brother, Baron Edouard de Rothschild (1868-1949). They married in 1905, and the jewelry piece has remained in the Rothschild family until now.

Christie’s described the jewelry piece as “exceptionally large with brilliantly chased varicolored gold work and enamelled in … translucent pink. Its face is a clock and it contains an automaton cockerel. Every hour, the diamond-set cockerel pops up from inside the egg, flaps his wings four times and then nods his head three times while opening and shutting his beak and crowing. Each performance lasts approximately 15 seconds, before the clock strikes the hour on a bell. The egg is hallmarked under the enamel by Fabergé’s leading workmaster, Michael Perchin.”

Date: 2007-12-26 Time: 11.50 AM


» Five years in jail for $100 million heist
Source: AFNS

Two Italian men have been sentenced to five years jail in Belgium for their part in the robbery of $100 million of diamonds and jewelry from safe deposit boxes in Antwerp in 2003. Pietro Tavano and Ferdinando Finoto were extradited to Belgium from Torino, Italy, to face trial.

Tavano and Finoto were the last two members of the Italian gang of thieves to receive sentences for the robbery.

The leader of the gang, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was caught a week after the robbery, while another gang member, a 50-year-old computer expert called Elio D'Onorio, was arrested earlier this year and extradited to Belgium last month.

Notarbartolo received a 10-year sentence for the robbery.

Date: 2007-12-25 Time: 13.10 PM


» Chinese diamond sales estimated at $900 million
Source: AFNS

Imports and exports of diamonds to mainland China plus trading volume on the Shanghai Diamond Exchange are expected to total $900 million in 2007, up 47.5 percent compared with last year’s $610 million, which was a 44 percent increase compared with 2005. The Chinese diamond trade has grown sevenfold since 2001, when the bourse was established, China Daily reports.

The figures, which come from the Shanghai-based Diamond Administration of China, do not distinguish between rough and polished stones. They were released at the 2007 China International Diamond Conference in Shanghai at the end of November.

The Chinese government reduced the tariff from 15.3 percent to 10 percent since July 2006 to help foster the diamond trade, and taxes should be cut further, Deputy Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong said. Tang Dengjie, deputy mayor of Shanghai, called for further steps to help Shanghai become China’s premier international diamond trading center, a position long held by the special status territory of Hong Kong.

Date: 2007-12-24 Time: 09.11 AM


» Aurora Collection of colored diamonds may be sold
Source: AFNS

The Aurora Collection of fancy color diamonds may be sold to London’s Natural History Museum if the museum can find someone to fund the purchase, according to Alan Bronstein, part owner of the collection, and museum spokesperson Claudine Fontana.

There are 296 stones weighing a total of 267 carats in the collection, with values per stone ranging from $1,000 to $1 million, Bronstein said. However, he declined to place a value on the collection as a whole. The other owner of the collection, which was started in 1980, is the retired gold dealer Harry Rodman.

Fancy color diamonds have gone up in value five- to tenfold since 1980, Bronstein said. Back then, the most any fancy color diamond would fetch was $100,000 per carat; today, top stones can be sold for up to $1 million per carat. Japanese buyers drove up the market for colored diamonds in the 1990s; when they lost interest, the market cooled a bit, but it is now back up, Bronstein said.

Milestone sales of fancy color stones include the fancy red sold by Christie’s auction house to the Sultan of Brunei for $926,316 per carat in 1987 and this year’s sale of a blue diamond for $1.3 million per carat by Sotheby’s in October, and of a 2.26-carat purplish-red stone for $1.2 million a carat by Christie’s to the Laurence Graff jewelry house in November.

Date: 2007-12-23 Time: 18.50 PM


» Rosy Blue wins De Beers diamond jewelry design competition
Source: AFNS

The Belgian-Indian diamond conglomerate Rosy Blue has won a marketing award for the best new piece of diamond jewelry of the year during De Beers’ 2007 diamond jewelry design competition for the Persian Gulf region.

Rosy Blue’s winning piece is entitled “Flotz Brillance in Air,” and is said to be inspired by water droplets shimmering on a sunlit lotus leaf and by the need to fight global warming. It is made of 2,501 diamonds set in white gold and is valued at $36,000. The piece is part of Rosy Blue’s “Flotz Collection,” which will soon be available for retail sale through a Gulf region jewelry chain store.

Rosy Blue has plants, offices and stores in more than 15 countries, and is one of the largest Diamond Trading Company sightholders. It has jewelry design centers in Antwerp, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Mumbai, and offers diamond jewelry under such brand names as ORRA, ROSIBLU, Canadia and Vera Wang. The company has more than 15,000 employees and recorded $1.7 billion in sales in 2005.

Date: 2007-12-22 Time: 10.00 AM


» Rio Tinto says diamond exploration in India is advanced
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto has reached an advanced stage in diamond exploration in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the company’s India Managing Director, N. Senapati, said.

Senapati said the company is now evaluating whether the deposits it has found are worth developing, and is awaiting a green light from the Indian Supreme Court. The company is also prospecting in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and two other Indian states.

Senapati said it would cost $500 million and take eight to 14 years to start commercial production at a new diamond mine in India. The country was the world’s main source of rough diamonds until the eighteenth century, but is now known as the home of the world’s largest diamond polishing center, the city of Surat.

Date: 2007-12-21 Time: 08.45 AM


» Sao Luis Mining starts producing rough diamonds in Brazil
Source: AFNS

Sao Luis Mining, Inc. said it has begun limited diamond mining on its 51 percent owned joint venture property number 231 in the Sao Luis River Basin, Mato Grosso state, Brazil.

The company received a regulatory green light on October 30 from Brazil’s Department of National Mineral Production. Mining began during the first week of November, using the company’s mobile plants. Seven large gem-quality and near gem-quality diamonds were found. The largest stones weighed 1.89, 1.9, 2.07, 3.63, 4.12, 6.44, and 12.01 carats. Based on the known grade at the property, the company anticipates that diamond production should increase to 1,000 carats a day.

“The recovery of larger, more valuable diamonds will enhance the overall value of our ore and should significantly increase our bottom line,” Michael J. Dillon, Sao Luis Mining president and chairman, said. “With the formal receipt of our permits from Brazil's government agencies, we will be able to rapidly accelerate to full production with the arrival and installation of our dense media separation plant.”

Sao Luis Mining is a Nevada-based diamond mining and precious metals exploration company. Its strategy is to acquire interests in producing mines and develop properties that may be economically viable. The company has a 51 percent joint venture interest in Comercio e Mineracao Sao Luis Ltda., which operates two diamond properties and an existing processing plant in the Sao Luis River Basin. The joint venture partner is SL Mineradora LTDA. Mato Grosso is the most productive diamond district in Brazil, responsible for 61 percent of all the legally mined diamonds in Brazil in 2005.

Brazil was the world’s leading producer of diamonds from their discovery there in the eighteenth century until the South African diamond boom began in the late nineteenth century.

Date: 2007-12-20 Time: 13.11 PM


» Angola highlights contributions to Kimberley Process
Source: AFNS

Angola’s UN Representative, Ismael Gaspar Martins, highlighted his country’s contributions to the fight against conflict diamonds through the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in a report to the UN General Assembly.

Martins noted that since the end of the civil war in Angola in 2002, diamond production has risen steadily. In 2002 production was 5 million carats worth $638 million, but by 2006 it was 9.5 million carats worth $1.2 billion. Angola was one of several African countries where rebel groups financed their fight in civil wars by selling smuggled diamonds, Martins said.

Currently, Angola serves as chair of the Kimberley Process’ Working Group on Artisanal Production of Alluvial Diamonds, whose report Martins delivered.

Internally, Angola has set up a Special Group on Diamond Security, with responsibility for oversight from the mines through shipment to the capital Luanda and other centers of the trade. Agents of the group supervise diamond selection, valuation and packaging for export. The country has also established a Commission for the Revision of Diamond Legislation and a Commission for Diamond Resource Protection.

Date: 2007-12-19 Time: 09.00 AM


» Alrosa could provide stock markets with one their largest IPOs
Source: AFNS

Russian diamond mining company may provide 2008 with one of its most valuable IPOs with bankers predicting that the company could be worth as much as $10 billion.

Speaking at a Russian-Japanese business forum in Osaka, Alrosa President Sergey Vybornov said that a flotation of the company could happen in the near future. "In the nearest future, I mean within a year or a year and a half, we are planning an IPO.”.

Alrosa's profits for 2007 are expected to be about $600 million. Alrosa is 37 percent owned by the Russian government, while the Yakutian government owns a 32 percent stake. The company's workers hold 23 per cent of the shares, while the remaining 8 percent is held by eight regional governments.

Date: 2007-12-18 Time: 16.30 PM


» Security a concern for Surat, India diamond industry
Source: AFNS

Diamond trade organizations in Surat, the center of the Indian diamond polishing industry, are expressing public concern about crime, including attacks on couriers and dealers and thefts.

The Surat Diamond Manufacturers’ Association and the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce have called on both of the major Indian political parties, the incumbent Congress Party and the opposition Hindu nationalist BJP, to address the problem.

The Surat police commissioner has started a database intended to encompass all the workers in the city’s diamond trade, and diamond company owners are being called on to provide information voluntarily, according to Arvind Kapadia, president of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce. Half a million diamond workers are employed in the city, about 25 percent of whom hail from the other side of the country.

Date: 2007-12-17 Time: 14.15 PM


» AWDC and Diamond Administration of China sign MOU governing future cooperation
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the Diamond Administration of China (DAC) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will govern future cooperation between the two diamond centres. The MOU was signed on November 28 during the 2007 China International Diamond Conference in Shanghai, which was co-organised by the AWDC and DAC.

The MOU was signed by Freddy J. Hanard, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, and Liu JinPing, Chairman of the Diamond Administration of China and Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Foreign Economic Relations & Trade Commission. The ceremony was held in the presence of Madame Ma Xiuhong, Vice Minister at the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, and Vincent Van Quickenborne, State Secretary of Belgium.

The wide ranging agreement will oversee the bilateral exchange of information and data about the market and industry trends, the provision of educational programmes in China and Belgium, jointly organised museum exhibitions, and the development of marketing initiatives to drive the sale of diamonds and diamond jewellery.

“The aim of the MOU is to strengthen cooperation and exchange between the two diamond sectors, and to promote the development of the diamond industries in both countries”, explained Hanard in his address to the conference. “The agreement covers a number of areas, but all essentially stem from a shared recognition that in the modern diamond business the interests of all sides are served by a free flow of information, ideas, diamonds, capital and people,” he stated.

“Antwerp is recognized as a world industry leader. However it leads not by force or decree, but rather by seeking to create mutually beneficial relationships with its international partners,” Hanard noted.

Date: 2007-12-16 Time: 13.34 AM


» Wimbledon winners presented with diamond balls
Source: AFNS

Wimbledon 2007 women’s tennis champion Venus Williams has been presented with a special tennis ball that won’t be bashing around the court–a diamond encrusted tennis ball set with 4,300 diamonds.

Nehal Modi, chief executive officer of Jewellery Marketing Company, a unit of Indian jewelry retailer Gitanjali, presented Williams with the ball at an event in New York in honor of her victory earlier this year.

A 24K diamond-encrusted tennis ball valued at $90,000 will also be presented to Roger Federer, the winner of this year's Wimbledon men’s title.

Gitanjali has a three-year license to promote and market jewelry under the Wimbledon brand. The collection, which includes high-quality bracelets and pendants, will be available at all of Gitanjali's retail outlets.

Date: 2007-12-15 Time: 17.19 PM


» A major sale of Magnificent Jewels
Source: AFNS

The sale of Magnificent Jewels achieved an outstanding total of CHF 64,012,750 ($56,964,306) and was highlighted by the sale of the largest, purest white flawless brilliant-cut diamond ever to be offered at auction. The stone was acquired tonight by Mr Georges Marciano, founder of Guess? Jeans, who paid CHF 18,193,000 ($16,189,769) for the stone - the second highest price for a diamond at auction and at $191,980 a carat, the highest price per carat ever paid for a white diamond at auction. Mr Marciano has already exercised his right to name the diamond, which is now known as the ‘Chloe Diamond’ – after his daughter.
David Bennett, Chairman of Jewellery for Sotheby’s Europe & the Middle East, said: “The result achieved tonight for the Chloe Diamond is one of the highlights of my career. It has been a privilege to work on the marketing and sale of this magnificent stone, which ranks among the most beautiful diamonds I have ever seen. Tonight’s price of CHF 18.2 ($16.2) million makes it the second most expensive diamond ever sold at auction. Sotheby's continues to hold the world record for a single precious stone and jewel of any kind for The Star of the Season, which was sold in 1995 for $16.5 million."

Ron Cohen, CEO of Clean Diamonds Inc., Los Angeles CA, and the seller of the diamond, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the fantastic result achieved tonight by Sotheby’s for this phenomenal, 84.37 carat stone. When I first saw the diamond in its rough form, weighing 365 carats and covering the palm of my hand, I knew immediately that it was of gem quality. Having taken over two years to plan and cut the stone, I decided to consign it with Sotheby’s for the amount of exposure that I was confident the auction house would be able to provide internationally. Tonight’s sale price has vindicated my decision.”

Further highlights in the sale included an extremely rare Fancy Vivid Blue pear-shaped diamond, weighing 4.16 carats and mounted as a ring. This magnificent piece of jewellery was sold for CHF 5,313,000 ($4,727,986) against a pre-sale estimate of CHF 3.85-5 million. The success of this stone comes hot on the heels of the Rare Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond Ring sold by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong this October for US$7.9 million which set a per-carat world record for any gemstone at auction of $1,321,495. The per-carat price for tonight’s stone was $1,136,535, making it the second highest price per carat paid for a coloured diamond at auction.

The Duchess of Windsor’s exquisite diamond and emerald bracelet, which was her Christmas gift in 1935 from Edward, then Prince of Wales, fared extremely well tonight. The bracelet, which was last offered at Sotheby’s in 1987 at the legendary sale of the Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor and then sold for $352,000, tonight fetched a fantastic CHF 1,141,000 ($1,015,364), more than three times its price in 1987.

Another highlight tonight, and also a piece with exceptional provenance, was a ring from the collection of Countess Mona Bismarck. Set with a magnificent step-cut emerald weighing approximately 9.50 carats within a double frame of circular-cut diamonds, the ring was sold for CHF 289,000 ($257,178). In the Mona Bismarck sale at Sotheby’s in May 1986, it was sold for just CHF 143,000.

Signed period pieces sold well tonight, with a particularly high price achieved for a Fine Diamond Bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1950, which sold for CHF 661,000 ($588,217), more than three times its low estimate of CHF 180,000. There were bidders competing for the piece, the winning bid coming from an anonymous collector bidding on the telephone.

Today’s sale brings the 2007 total for Magnificent Jewels sold at Sotheby’s Switzerland to
CHF 124,067,830 ($106,019,622) – the highest total for annual sales of Jewellery in Switzerland since 1995.

Date: 2007-12-14 Time: 10.23 AM


» Draft law reportedly will allow state takeover of Zimbabwe mines
Source: AFNS

A law under consideration in the Zimbabwe parliament will reportedly allow the state to acquire a 51 percent stake in local mining companies, while only having to come up with 25 percent of the cash up front.

According to the Times Online, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is fine tuning a law that will enable to the state to effectively control the country’s mining sector. Under the proposed law, it will only have to pay for 25 percent of the 51 percent of the shares in cash, while the remaining 26 percent will be paid over a seven-year period in the form of dividends.

The Times Online noted that resistance to the new legislation will be is futile, because the bill states that companies who display “willful noncompliance” will have its mining license revoked.

Among the properties that could be affected by the new law is the Murowa diamond mine, which currently is owned by Rio Tinto.

Date: 2007-12-13 Time: 15.01 PM


» DTC postpones new sightholder announcement
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company says it needs another week to complete the new list of designated customers (sightholders) for a three year period.

The announcement of the new list will now be made on December 17. The last DTC sale (sight) of 2007 is to be held December 8.

There are 93 current international DTC sightholders. The new Namibian and Botswanan versions of DTC, which were established as 50-50 joint ventures between De Beers and the two nations’ governments, have already announced their (domestic) sightholders.

Date: 2007-12-12 Time: 09.56 AM


» DiamondCorp Lace diamond mine accelerating to full output
Source: AFNS

DiamondCorp said plans for its underground operations at Lace Diamond Mine in the Free State of South Africa to reach full output of 400,000 carats within two years are on track, and the company also sees itself as becoming a producing partner for exploration firms.

DiamondCorp managing director Paul Loudon told the Mineweb website that the mine would be a self-financing project since output from surface tailings would generate R100 million of early cashflow for the company. He added DiamondCorp was not an exploration company, but a diamond producer that could join with other junior firms.

Loudon said diamondiferous tailings from an earlier mine were still being mined out more than two years after a processing plant had been commissioned last month.

As for the mine itself, a capital expenditure of just R100m was needed, and the firm was benefiting from underground development carried out by its predecessors.

Loudon said DiamondCorp would soon process a bulk sample of 60,000-80,000 tons to get a good understanding of the quality of the underground grade.

The tailings are providing the firm with a good idea about the main underground kimberlite pipe and have speeded up underground mining plans. Although the diamonds recovered from the tailings were small, 5 percent were fancy color stones, including valuable intense pink and purple diamonds.

When mining operations begin underground the company has a chance of finding larger stones, with indications at present showing tailings contained 27 carats per 100 tons. The previous miners had recovered 17 carats per 100 tonS while DiamondCorp is recovering 10 carats per 100 tons. This indicated that 40-60 carats per 100 tons could be mined underground.

DiamondCorp expects to recover about 370,000 carats from the tailings, and forecasts a 20-year life for the underground mine.

Date: 2007-12-11 Time: 12.25 PM


» Namibia Diamond Trading Company appoints local official as CEO
Source: AFNS

The Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers, the Shareholders of Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) have announced the appointment of Shihaleni Ellis Ndjaba as CEO of the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) with effect from January 1, 2008. Ndjaba, currently serves as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication (MWTC) and chairman of the board of NDTC. He will rescind both positions to serve as NDTC CEO.

Varda Shine, managing director of DTC International will replace Ndjaba as chairman of the board of NDTC said in a statement today “This appointment marks another milestone in meeting our objective of providing maximum long-term value from diamonds to Namibia by developing world class sorting, valuing, selling and marketing practices in the country. The CEO will play a crucial role in supporting the establishment of a sustainable and efficient diamond industry to benefit the whole of Namibia,” she said.

In his role as the permanent secretary, Ndjaba was responsible for coordinating all policy issues in the ministry, namely budgeting, securing of international financing, and the development of infrastructure and will bring these skills to bear in his new position at NDTC. Prior to that, he was the deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, where his responsibilities included the management of macroeconomic issues such as the fiscal policy in conjunction with the Bank of Namibia, and the regulation of financial institution in conjunction with NAMFISA. Ndjaba has also served as acting CEO of the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) and director at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Ndjaba holds a number of qualifications which include a MSc Degree in Financial Economics from the University of London, an MBA from Brunel University in the United Kingdom, and an MSc in General Maritime Administration from the World Maritime University in Sweden.

Date: 2007-12-10 Time: 09.56 AM


» De Beers sells Cullinan Mine to Petra for $147 million
Source: AFNS

De Beers Consolidated Mines, the South African arm of the De Beers Group, announced November 22 that it has agreed to sell the Cullinan Diamond Mine as a going concern to the Petra Diamonds Cullinan Consortium (PDCC) for R1 billion ($146.7 million) in cash.

PDCC includes Petra Diamonds Limited, the second largest producer of diamonds in South Africa after De Beers; Al Rajhi Holdings WLL, a Saudi Arabia-based investment company; and a South African black economic empowerment (BEE) partner, Thembinkosi Mining Investments (Pty) Ltd. Stakeholders in Thembinkosi include Sedibeng Mining (Pty) Ltd, Namoise Mining (Pty) Ltd, Umnotho weSizwe Group (Pty) Ltd, and a group representing the interests of Petra employees.

PDCC was the winning bidder in what De Beers said was “an open and rigorous selection process that evaluated prospective bidders on a number of criteria … critical to ensuring the long-term sustainability of Cullinan Diamond Mine.” These criteria included access to adequate funding, technical capacity, BEE credentials and sociopolitical focus. Petra previously bought two other South African mines from De Beers: the Dancarl Mine in the Barkley West District and the Koffiefontein Mine. In September, Petra agreed to buy De Beers’ Kimberley underground mines, in a transaction that both sides hope to finalize by early 2008.

De Beers said selling Cullinan reflects the company’s “realignment of its mining portfolio and a global business model that no longer focuses on maximizing market share of production,” which has involved selling off two other unprofitable South African operations, Namaqualand Mines and the Kimberley mining operations. At the same time, the South African arm of the company is starting new projects like SASA, a marine mining operation off the west coast of South Africa that just recently became operational, and the Voorspoed mine. These new mines are expected to be fully operational in 2008 and 2009.

“This will enable De Beers to best use our capital to invest in exciting growth opportunities and to sustain a strong diamond mining business in South Africa for the future,” Gareth Penny, managing director of the De Beers Group, said. “In this way De Beers is strengthening its commercial future in South Africa whilst helping to meet [the] government’s aspirations for a diversified, transformed South African diamond industry.”

Date: 2007-12-09 Time: 12.25 PM


» Rio Tinto CEO says company ‘not interested’ in takeover bid
Source: AFNS

Tom Albanese, the new CEO at Rio Tinto, has said that the company is “not interested” in the takeover bid launched by rival BHP Billiton. Speaking during a teleconference, he said that “While BHP may need Rio Tinto, Rio Tinto doesn't necessarily need BHP."

"We believe that the value in Rio Tinto is yet to be fully reflected by the market. We have the people, execution capability and resources to work smarter, faster and better than our competitors," Albanese stated.

Albanese added that Rio was also not planning what is known in the mergers and acquisitions community as the Pac-Man defense, which in this case would involve Rio Tinto turning the tables and launching its own bid for BHP Billiton. "The first time I heard about Pac-Man was reading about it in the newspaper and it is not something I have given serious consideration," Albanese said.

He said that he also has not spoken to other interests who may consider purchasing Rio Tinto. “There's no shortage of people that would want to give us a call, but we have not been engaging," Albanese said.

Date: 2007-12-08 Time: 09.56 AM


» HRD Antwerp opens branch in Shanghai, China
Source: AFNS

HRD Antwerp NV, the commercial arm of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, is expanding its operations with the opening of a representative office in Shanghai, China.

“As our diamond certificates and gemmological grading and educational services have a strong reputation on the Chinese market, we felt it was imperative to provide custom-tailored services to one of the world’s fastest growing consumer markets,” General Manager Georges Brys said.

HRD Antwerp appointed Ms. Jun Jiang as its local representative for its Shanghai office. Ms. Jun will be responsible for promoting the HRD Antwerp brand and will represent its commercial interests in China in the fields of diamond certification, education and equipment.

HRD Antwerp’s expansion beyond the Belgian diamond centre follows the recent launch of HRD Lab Link, a pick-up diamond certification service in Ramat Gan, Israel, and the upcoming launch of an HRD Lab Link service in Hong Kong.

Ms. Jun, HRD Antwerp's representative for Greater China, is well positioned to fulfill her new role. A Chinese national, Ms. Jun arrived in Belgium after earning a degree in Social Economy at Ocean University of China in Qingdao, a coastal city in North East China. In 1988, she enrolled in the Language School of Leuven University where she studied English and Dutch. Remaining in Belgium, Ms. Jun then worked in a number of positions, serving as a translator for various Belgian governmental institutions and later as a business consultant and liaison for Belgian firms to Chinese companies.

"I am very excited with this unique opportunity to represent Antwerp's diamond industry and trade in one of China's most active diamond and jewelry industry hubs. If there is one place where opportunities for diamond sales seem endless, it certainly is China. I pledge that Antwerp's diamonds will be well spoken for," Jun Jiang said.

HRD Antwerp NV is the recently created commercial subsidiary of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the private foundation formerly known as the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD). HRD Antwerp operates six services : HRD Diamond Lab, the first ISO-certified diamond lab, which issues one of the world’s most respected diamond certificates; HRD Precious Stones Lab; HRD Education; HRD Graduates Club; HRD Equipment and HRD Research. The HRD Antwerp Diamond Lab is NBN EN ISO/IEC 17025- certified.

Date: 2007-12-07 Time: 16.30 PM


» Sierra Leone considering laws to enforce beneficiation
Source: AFNS

Taking a leaf from its southern African counterparts, Sierra Leone is now considering the introduction of new laws that require most of the diamond mined on its territory to be cut and polished before they are exported, reports Reuters.

According to the news agency, President Ernest Bai Koroma, who won an election in September, has said the new policy would be put before parliament "as soon as possible.”

“We have not benefited as much as we should have from our mineral resources and that is why we are going to ... put in place a mining policy that will ensure that we move away from having low returns,” Koroma said.

Koroma would not say whether the laws under consideration would involve the banning of rough diamond exports or the imposition of quotas. But he did say that they would help alleviate the country’s dire economic condition. "It will not only add value but it will enhance employment opportunities," he said. Currently three-quarters of Sierra Leoneans live below the poverty line.

Date: 2007-12-06 Time: 08.45 AM


» Diamond dessert can’t save restaurant from health inspectors
Source: AFNS

A New York City restaurant called Serendipity 3 offers diners a diamond and gold topped chocolate dessert, but it’s unavailable temporarily because the local health department has closed the place down.

The “Frrrozen Haute Chocolate” is decorated with 1 carat of diamonds, while the dish itself includes edible gold, high-quality cocoa, truffle shavings, milk and whipped cream. Diners can take home the gold spoon that the $25,000 treat is served with. The Guinness Book of World Records declared it the world’s costliest dessert.

But the establishment was shuttered after the second health-code violation in a month, after an inspector discovered a live mouse, mouse droppings, fruit flies, house flies and more than 100 live cockroaches.


Date: 2007-12-05 Time: 13.11 PM


» Red diamond tops Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale
Source: AFNS

The top lot of Christie’s November 15 “Magnificent Jewels” auction in Geneva was a very rare 2.26 carat fancy purplish-red diamond ring, which sold for a record price of almost 3 million Swiss francs ($2.67 million) to the Laurence Graff jewelry house. This was equivalent to $1.18 million per carat.

The sale overall netted 53.9 million Swiss francs ($48.6 million). The semi-annual auction netted 30.2 million Swiss francs ($27.2 million) in May, for a 2007 total of 84.1 million Swiss francs ($75.8 million), an increase of 78.5 percent compared with last year.

If the February St. Moritz sale total of 20.8 million Swiss francs ($18.7 million) is added in, the total value of jewelry Christie’s has auctioned off in Switzerland this year is 104.9 million Swiss francs ($94.5 million).

Other pieces sold at the auction included an emerald and diamond necklace from the collection of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck, which sold for 2.1 million Swiss francs ($1.9 million); diamond earrings and a brooch designed by Van Cleef & Arpels for Princess Cecil Amelia von Fürstenberg (1.2 million Swiss francs/$1.1 million and 922,600 Swiss francs/$831,000, respectively). Sixteen pieces of jewelry associated with Russia sold for a total of SFr.1.2 million ($1.1 million), including amethyst and diamond ear pendants once owned by the eighteenth-century Russian Queen Catherine the Great.

Date: 2007-12-04 Time: 17.19 PM


» Bulgari profits, revenues up in third quarter
Source: AFNS

Italian luxury products company Bulgari Group reported revenues of ?258 million ($377.9 million) in the third quarter of 2007, an increase of 13 percent at comparable exchange rates or 8 percent at current exchange rates from the corresponding period of last year.

In the first nine months of the year, revenues were €746 million ($1.093 billion), a 14 percent increase at comparable exchange rates and a 9 percent rise at current exchange rates.

Third quarter net profit was €41 million ($60 million), up 20 percent at comparable exchange rates, and in the first nine months of the year it was ?99 million ($145 million), up 26 percent at comparable exchange rates. For the full year 2007, profits and revenues are expected to increase 12 percent at comparable exchange rates, CEO Francesco Trapani said.

In the third quarter, jewelry sales were up 19 percent at comparable exchange rates compared with the third quarter of 2006; the growth was 20 percent in the first nine months of the year. Watches posted a 4 percent increase in the third quarter and an 8 percent increase in the first nine months of the year. The slower growth was caused by shortages of some technical components, which resulted in lower production, the company said.

Bulgari’s European sales were up 9 percent in the third quarter and up 10 percent in the first nine months of the year; sales in the Americas were up 20 percent in the third quarter and up 24 percent in the first nine months of the year; and sales in Japan, which had been down for several quarters in a row, turned around and rose 9 percent in the third quarter, though they were down 3 percent in the first nine months of 2007. Sales in Asia except Japan were up 39 percent increase in the third quarter and rose 49 percent in the first nine months of the year.

Total operating costs in the third quarter were 120 million Euro, up 7 percent; personnel costs increased 14 percent, which was expected and was due to new hiring in anticipation of the opening of three flagship stores in October and November 2007 in Rome and Tokyo. As of September 30, the Bulgari Group had 236 stores, of which 140 were directly owned by the company.

Date: 2007-12-03 Time: 10.23 AM


» Mwana Africa completing acquisition of SouthernEra
Source: AFNS

Mwana Africa and SouthernEra Diamonds said they have reached an agreement under which the former company will acquire the latter in an all-stock transaction.

Mwana will acquire all Class A common shares of SouthernEra that it or its affiliates do not already own on the basis of one share of Mwana common stock for every 2.28 SouthernEra shares. Under a previous Mwana takeover bid that expired on September 17, the company and its affiliates acquired approximately 132 million SouthernEra shares, 84 percent of the total.

SouthernEra shareholders will vote on the deal at the company’s annual meeting on December 17. The company has alluvial and kimberlite diamond prospecting projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), an 18 percent free-carried interest in the Camafuca diamond mine in Angola, and 57 percent of the Klipspringer diamond mine in South Africa.

Mwana has exploration and production assets for a variety of commodities in the Congo, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

Date: 2007-12-02 Time: 15.01 PM


» JA backs sales tax for online jewelry retailers
Source: AFNS

The U.S. Congress should pass a law allowing states to levy sales tax on Internet and catalog retailers just as they do on traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses, according to a letter signed by the Jewelers of America (JA) and 100 other trade and government associations, large retailers and unions.

The pending legislation is called the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act, and would allow U.S. states to mandate that sellers located in a different physical location from buyers collect sales tax. The law is designed to work with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, a voluntary harmonization agreement that not all states have signed onto.

Since 2002, JA has supported allowing taxation of online jewelry sellers in order to level the playing field with traditional retail jewelers, said JA President and CEO Matthew A. Runci.

Date: 2007-12-01 Time: 07.30 AM


» HRD diamond grading course offered in India
Source: AFNS

HRD Education is running its first Certified Diamond Grader Course in Mumbai (Bombay), India, December 3 to 15.
The two-week course seeks to offer a balance between practice and theory. Students will learn how to grade a diamond’s 4Cs with a microscope and a 10-power loupe.
The course also teaches attendees about the most common diamond simulants and how to detect them, as well as diamond optics, synthetic diamonds, clarity and color treatments. Graduates of the course will be awarded an HRD Certified Diamond Grader Diploma.

Date: 2007-11-30 Time: 10.00 AM


» Richemont reports strong growth in sales, profits
Source: AFNS

Luxury goods company Richemont Group, whose subsidiaries include jewelry houses Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, reported that sales increased 11 percent to €2.55 billion ($3.74 billion) in the second and third quarters of 2007 (the first half of its 2008 fiscal year). At constant exchange rates, sales growth was 16 percent, including particularly strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

Operating profit from Richemont’s luxury goods businesses increased 28 percent to €560 million ($821 million) due to increased sales, an improvement in gross margin and operating leverage. Net profit increased 28 percent to €824 million ($1.208 billion).

The company’s jewelry division reported 9 percent sales growth. Cartier continued to develop its business in both established markets and new markets such as China and Russia. Sales performance at Van Cleef & Arpels was very strong, but started from a much lower level than Cartier.

Richemont’s watchmaking subsidiaries saw their sales grow 18 percent, with “excellent performances” reported by IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Component shortages held watch sales down, however, and the company warned that these may continue into the fourth quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008.

After releasing the financial results, Richemont said it is considering restructuring its business to split its luxury goods operations from its other interests, including its interest in British American Tobacco plc.

Date: 2007-11-29 Time: 09.15 AM


» De Beers’ Finsch diamond mine claims 11 years without deaths
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ Finsch Mine in South Africa recorded 6 million shifts (11 years) free of any fatalities on November 14, which the company said was a first in the South African mining industry.

Finsch recorded its first million shifts free of deaths in 2000. Since then, the mine’s “lost time injury frequency rate” has decreased from 0.61 to 0.19 in 2007. The mine was recertified this year by the Occupational Hygiene and Safety Association of South Africa.

Finsch is an underground diamond mine located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, one of a handful De Beers has left open due to its profitability in the company’s country of origin.

Date: 2007-11-28 Time: 07.32 AM


» HRD Antwerp and www.21gem.com to hold Certified Diamonds Auction
Source: AFNS

HRD Antwerp NV, the commercial subsidiary of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre is supporting an initiative launched by Shanghai Gem King Technology Co. Ltd. which operates the popular 21GEM.com website. A special “HRD Antwerp Certified Diamond Auction” will be held on December 2nd , just days after the conclusion of the Shanghai Diamond Conference.

HRD Antwerp General Manager Georges Brys said that the cooperation with one of China's most popular diamond jewellery website operators was motivated by giving the HRD Antwerp diamond certificate more exposure among Chinese consumers.
"In Antwerp, we look upon the Chinese consumer market as the principal growth market of this century," he said. "To achieve better recognition of our diamonds grading report, the 21gem website has agreed that on the auction day itself only HRD Antwerp certified diamonds will be on sale. We believe that through this promotion and sales vehicle, the reputation and credibility of HRD Antwerp certification will receive a significant boost."

"While we look forward to promote the HRD Antwerp brand and culture, to increase the reputation of HRD Antwerp certificates, and to help the companies to sell HRD Antwerp certified diamonds, we also intend to boost the general need for diamond certification, in the interest of consumer confidence in diamond jewellery products at large. This is a goal that is shared by our hosts," Brys stated.

Brys noted that Chinese consumers have taken very positively to buying diamonds and diamonds jewellery. This, of course, has required sellers to look carefully at the diamond certification, and I am glad to report that our certificates are well received. Of course, Chinese authorities and laboratories have contributed significantly to creating awareness to the need for diamond grading reports."

Date: 2007-11-27 Time: 07.30 AM


» Arkansas state park yields another large rough diamond
Source: AFNS

The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas has yielded a 4.38 carat “tea colored” diamond to a man who has made his living on selling diamonds from the state park since he moved to the state in February.

Chad Johnson, 36, dug up the stone on November 3, but did not realize what he had found and nearly threw it away two days later when he was cleaning out the equipment he had stored in his locker.

More than 700 diamonds have been found at the state park so far in 2007. Tourists are allowed to keep what they find. Since the park opened in 1972, the biggest stone to turn up was the 16.37 carat Amarillo Starlight, which was unearthed in 1975.

Date: 2007-11-26 Time: 12.25 PM


» Russian government raises Alrosa holding
Source: AFNS

The Russian government is to raise its stake in diamond miner Alrosa as it seeks to strengthen ownership of the company ahead of a possible initial public share offering, the firm said on Monday.

Alrosa, which produces around 24 percent of global diamond output, said it will issue 72,726 new shares, with the government increase its share in the firm to 43 percent from 37 percent.

Russian media reports said Alrosa shareholders have approved the buy-back of a 10.6 percent stake held by state-controlled bank VTB and cited sources as saying the share would be handed over to the government, thus increasing its holding to more than 50 percent.

Other Alrosa shareholders include the government of Yakutia, an autonomous Russian region where Alrosa has substantial diamond deposits, which owns 32 percent of the company.

Alrosa plans to launch an initial public offering within one year.

Date: 2007-11-25 Time: 09.56 AM


» U.S. polished imports down sharply in value terms
Source: AFNS

U.S. imports of polished diamonds were static in value terms but declined sharply in volume terms in September, while in the first nine months of 2007 they rose in value terms but declined significantly in volume terms.

In September, the United States imported 1,428,133 carats of polished stones worth $1.393 billion, an increase of 0.85 percent in value terms and a decrease of 13.3 percent in volume terms, while for the first three quarters of the year the import total was 11,532,490 carats worth $13.18 billion, a 6.5 percent increase in value and a 13.3 percent decline in volume.

Average value per carat was $975.07 in September and $1,142.82 in the first nine months of the year, representing increases of 16.4 percent and 22.9 percent over the corresponding periods of 2006. But the September average value figure is much higher once goods returned to India, Belgium and Israel are subtracted: $3,475.02 per carat. U.S. net polished imports for the month, subtracting these returned goods, totaled 262,344 carats worth $911.7 million.

The leading suppliers of polished goods to the U.S. market in September were Israel at $628.1 million, 45.1 percent of the total by value; India at $365.5 million, 26.2 percent of the total by value, but, at 912,540 carats, 63.9 percent of the total by volume; and Belgium at $228.3 million, 16.4 percent of total value.

The United States imported 73,274 carats of rough diamonds worth $40.8 million in September, a 36.6 percent decline in volume and a 54.1 percent decline in value. Average value per carat of these goods therefore slid 27.7 percent, to $556.22 per carat. In the first nine months of the year the country imported 927,140 carats of rough stones worth $573.1 million, a fall of 2.5 percent in volume and a 2.2 percent decline in value, for an almost unchanged average value of $618.15 per carat.

The top source of rough diamonds for the United States in September was South Africa, which supplied 12,784 carats worth $16.2 million, an average of $1,264.88 per carat. Brazil was the leading source by volume at 26,526 carats, 36.2 percent of the total, but the value of these stones was less than $2 million, for an average value per carat of just $73.32. Other important sources of rough were the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), which sent 4,648 carats of rough worth $6.66 million, an average of $1,432.56 per carat, and Botswana, which shipped 17,243 carats of rough stones worth $5.55 million, for an average of $322.10 per carat.

Date: 2007-11-24 Time: 12.25 PM


» Rio Tinto rejects BHP Billiton buyout offer
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto said it has rejected a proposal from fellow mining giant BHP Billiton, under which the latter would acquire the former, with each Rio Tinto share being exchanged for three BHP Billiton shares.

“The boards of Rio Tinto have given the proposal careful consideration and concluded that it significantly undervalues Rio Tinto and its prospects. Accordingly, the boards have unanimously rejected the proposal as not being in the best interests of shareholders,” Rio Tinto said.

BHP Billiton said it has written back to Rio Tinto seeking an opportunity to meet and discuss its proposal with the company.

Both companies have significant diamond holdings. Rio Tinto has a 60 percent stake in the Diavik Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, 100 percent of the Argyle Mine in Western Australia and 77.8 percent of the Murowa Mine in Zimbabwe.

BHP Billiton owns 80 percent of the Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territories and 80 percent of the Koala underground mine in Canada, where diamond production is expected to begin by the end of this year. The company is also prospecting for diamonds in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Date: 2007-11-23 Time: 09.56 AM


» U.S. chain store sales increase 1.6 percent in October
Source: AFNS

U.S. chain store sales grew 1.6 percent in October compared to the same month last year, the slowest rates of growth since 1995, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

The figures include all types of chain stores, and the growth rate was about the same as in September, when there was a 1.7 percent increase.

“Over the last two months, retailers have struggled with the warm weather's negative impact on retail spending,” Michael P. Niemira, ICSC's chief economist and director of research. “However, for the November-December period, we are expecting a marked improvement from the very sluggish September-October performance.” He added that he expects November comparable store sales to increase about 2.5 percent.

Date: 2007-11-22 Time: 16.30 PM


» Blue Nile sales and profits up in third quarter
Source: AFNS

Online fine jewelry retailer Blue Nile reported net income of almost $3 million on net sales of $67.4 million in the third quarter of 2007, compared with net income of $1.8 million on net sales of $53.2 million in the third quarter of 2006. This was a 63 percent increase in net income and a 26.5 percent increase in net sales.

The company attributed the increase in net sales in the third quarter primarily to growth in sales in virtually all product categories and in the firm’s international business. Sales through the company’s UK and Canadian websites totaled $4.5 million for the third quarter, more than double the $2.2 million it made in the corresponding period of last year.

For the first nine months of 2007, net income was $9.9 million on net sales totaling $207.4 million, compared with net income of $7.3 million on net sales of $160.9 million in the corresponding period of 2006—a 35.6 increase in net income and a 28.9 percent increase in net sales.

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales was 19.8 percent in the third quarter and 20 percent for the year to date, compared to 19.5 percent in the third quarter of 2006 and 19.9 percent for the first nine months of 2006. The slight increases were due to changes in the product mix and a focus on costs, the company said.

Date: 2007-11-21 Time: 09.15 AM


» U.S. conference issues declaration on jewelry and mining ethics
Source: AFNS

A conference held at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. October 25-26 has drafted a statement on ethical principles for jewelry and small-scale mining.

The Madison Dialogue Ethical Jewelry Summit included representatives of artisanal and small-scale mines and mining communities from eight African and South American countries, governments, donors, certifying organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and retail and other companies.

The declaration calls for “developing and implementing robust standards for the production of ethical and fair trade metals, diamonds, gems and jewelry,” and for governments “to develop policies and regulations that protect these miners, workers and their communities.”

The attendees agreed to form working groups on the development of principles, standards and a third-party assurance system for jewelry products that may be labeled as ethical or fair trade.
More information is available at www.madisondialogue.org.

Date: 2007-11-20 Time: 07.39 AM


» Venezuela agrees to Kimberley Process delegation
Source: AFNS

The Russian government is to raise its stake in diamond miner Alrosa as it seeks to strengthen ownership of the company ahead of a possible initial public share offering, the firm said on Monday.

Alrosa, which produces around 24 percent of global diamond output, said it will issue 72,726 new shares, with the government increase its share in the firm to 43 percent from 37 percent.

Russian media reports said Alrosa shareholders have approved the buy-back of a 10.6 percent stake held by state-controlled bank VTB and cited sources as saying the share would be handed over to the government, thus increasing its holding to more than 50 percent.

Other Alrosa shareholders include the government of Yakutia, an autonomous Russian region where Alrosa has substantial diamond deposits, which owns 32 percent of the company.

Alrosa plans to launch an initial public offering within one year.

Date: 2007-11-19 Time: 07.32 AM


» New labor deal signed at Ekati Mine in Northwest Territories
Source: AFNS

The Ekati Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories has a new four-year labor contract, the union representing the workers announced.

Negotiators for the Public Service Alliance of Canada North signed the deal with the mine, in which BHP Billiton holds an 80 percent stake, on November 7. Workers’ benefits include annual salary increases above the rate of inflation, incentive pay, and improvements in seniority terms, layoff protection and short-term disability plans.

The union has recommended that its members approve the contract, which will be retroactive to September 1. The new contract will replace a one-year contract that was signed last year after a three-month strike.

Ekati was the first diamond mine in Canada, and is the country’s only unionized diamond mine. It produces approximately 6 percent of the world’s rough diamonds by value, some 3 million to 5 million carats a year. The mine is situated 300 km northeast of the territorial capital Yellowknife and 200 km south of the Arctic Circle.

Date: 2007-11-18 Time: 09.56 AM


» Remarkable 493 carat LetŠeng Legacy Diamond sold for US $10.4 million
Source: AFNS

Gem Diamonds Limited and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho announced the sale of the Letšeng Legacy, a remarkable 493 carat diamond, in Antwerp for US$10.4 million.

The world’s leading diamantaires participated in the tender and the winning bid was made by SAFDICO, the manufacturing arm of Graff Jewellers. Graff Jewellers are one of the world’s leading diamond jewellery purveyors and were the winning bidder for the Lesotho Promise diamond in 2006.

The Letšeng Legacy ranks as the 18th largest diamond ever found and was named to reflect the growing legacy that the Letšeng le Terai Mine is creating as a producer of significant diamonds. Letšeng Diamonds, which is 70% owned by Gem Diamonds and 30% owned by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, has now produced three of the world’s top 20 diamonds. Two of these were recovered in the last 13 months - the 603 carat Lesotho Promise in August 2006 and this 493 carat diamond in September 2007.

Following the opening of the tender offers, the winning bid of US$10.4 million was announced by Lesotho’s Minister of Forestry and Land Reclamation Ralechate Mokose at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre at an event attended by the Lesotho Ambassadors to Belgium and Germany, Mr. Ludo Van Campenhout, Alderman for Diamonds of the city of Antwerp, the management and board of directors of AWDC and Gem Diamonds, and the winning bidder SAFDICO.

Freddy J. Hanard, CEO of AWDC, said:
“The fact that Antwerp was chosen once again and that this beautiful diamond was tendered here indicates that there is only one place in the world where this can happen successfully: the diamond centre of the world: Antwerp.”

Clifford Elphick, CEO of Gem Diamonds, added:
“The sale of the Letšeng Legacy at this impressive price is a reflection of the rarity of the remarkable diamonds that the Letšeng Mine is producing. The market for extraordinary diamonds continues to grow which bodes well for Letšeng´s success as production doubles during the course of 2008. We look forward to sharing this success with our partners the Government of Lesotho.”

Johnny Kneller, the CEO of the northern hemisphere of SAFDICO commented:
“We are very pleased to have once again made the winning bid for such an historic diamond. To have acquired the Letšeng Legacy as well as the Lesotho Promise is a great achievement for SAFDICO and Mr. Graff. This stone, as the previous one, will off course be manufactured in Antwerp.”

Date: 2007-11-17 Time: 16.30 PM


» Ancient diamonds found in Australia
Source: AFNS

The oldest diamonds ever found have been discovered in Western Australia, with scientists determining that they are some 4 billion years old.

That makes the crystals just 300 million years younger than the earth itself, and a full 1 billion years older than the oldest previous record for diamonds.

The crystals are as thin as a human hair. Scientists are studying them to see what they can reveal about the Earth’s geological history.

Date: 2007-11-16 Time: 09.15 AM


» Harry Winston Diamond Corp to debut on NYSE
Source: AFNS

Aber Diamond Corporation will begin listing its shares on the New York Stock Exchange November 19 under the new name Harry Winston Diamond Corporation. The company will continue trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the new name, but will de-list from the NASDAQ.

Aber, the 40-percent owner of the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, bought the fine jewelry company Harry Winston and then adopted the identity of its subsidiary.

“Rebranding our enterprise to Harry Winston Diamond Corporation and listing on the New York Stock Exchange are important steps in positioning our unique company,” Chairman and CEO Robert Gannicott said.

“As the only diamond company in the world that pairs rough diamond expertise with more than 100 years of fine jewelry experience in luxury retail, it is appropriate that our unparalleled brand is associated with this prestigious U.S. exchange.”

Date: 2007-11-15 Time: 07.32 AM


» DTC raises $520 million-$530 million at November sight
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company held its ninth sight of 2007 at the end of October and the start of November, bringing in $520 million-$530 million.

This was smaller than other sights, which is normal for the season, since dealers do their buying for the Christmas holidays in August and September.

The timing also coincided with Belgian and Indian holidays. Prices were mostly stable, with 1 percent to 2 percent increases reported on some of the more lucrative boxes.

The DTC will announce its new list of sightholders for the next three years on November 19, and the next sight will be held in the first week of December.

Date: 2007-11-14 Time: 07.30 AM


» African Diamonds gets prospecting licenses in Botswana
Source: AFNS

The diamond exploration company African Diamonds plc has obtained three new diamond prospecting licenses near the Orapa Province of Botswana through its wholly owned subsidiary, Kukama Mining and Exploration Pty. Ltd.

The new licenses come on top of another two that the company received earlier this year. Initial prospecting is slated to begin in the next few months.

African Diamonds recently submitted an application for a diamond mining lease for the AK6 diamond mine in Orapa Province, where it owns a 28.8 percent stake, De Beers has a 66.22 percent stake and privately held Wati Ventures has a 5.4 percent stake.

Production is scheduled to start in late 2009, and is expected to be approximately 600,000 carats a year for the first three years, after which it will increase to 1 million carats annually.

Date: 2007-11-13 Time: 12.25 PM


» Call to build a Turkish diamond bourse
Source: AFNS

Osman Sarac, the deputy president of the Istanbul Gold Exchange (IAB), has issued a call for Turkey to build its own diamond bourse.

More than $1 billion worth of diamonds and precious stones were traded in Turkey in 2006, Sarac said, and domestic demand is rising for finer quality jewelry rather than the 22K gold traditionally popular in the country. Turkey recently joined the Kimberley Process.

Date: 2007-11-12 Time: 09.56 AM


» Japan sees polished diamond imports fall amid spiraling prices
Source: AFNS

Japanese polished diamond imports continue to decline, with rising average prices per carat. In September, the country imported 177,233 carats of polished stones worth $69.9 million, a 26 percent fall in weight terms but a fall of only 11.5 percent in value terms. This brought average value per carat up 19.6 percent to $394.38.

The country imported 1,679,613 carats of polished worth $664.76 million in the first three quarters of the year, down 17.5 percent in weight terms and 15 percent in value terms, bringing average value up to $395.78 per carat.

The three leading suppliers of Japanese polished diamond imports in September were India, which exported 126,897 carats of polished diamonds worth $25.07 million, an average of $198 per carat; Belgium, which sold 15,120 carats worth $16.15 million, an average of $1,068 per carat; and Israel, with exports of 6,232 carats worth $7.11 million, an average of $1,141 per carat.

Date: 2007-11-11 Time: 13.10 PM


» U.N. hosts meeting of CIBJO
Source: AFNS

The U.N. headquarters in Geneva hosted a meeting of 50 members of CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation, on October 30 to discuss corporate responsibility and the role of the jewelry industry in promoting sustainable economic and social development.

The Geneva meeting was part of an ongoing liaison program between CIBJO and the U.N. following CIBJO’s acceptance in 2006 as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) with consultative status to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The host of the meeting was Dr. Hanifa Mezoui, chief of the NGO Section at ECOSOC.

Mezoui said that CIBJO and the international jewelry industry have come to serve as an example to other business sectors, since the organization brings private sector interests under its NGO umbrella to pursue the U.N.’s eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“CIBJO's emphasis on good practice for its retailers has detailed social and environmental responsibility initiatives,” she said. “The preservation of basic human rights, condemning discrimination and forced labour and promoting fair worker remuneration and safe working environments go hand in hand with the spirit of the MDGs.”

CIBJO President Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri said, “As we have proven time and time again, our industry has a very strong social conscience, and when we are properly informed we are ready to act and contribute.” CIBJO has started a new website, www.sustainablejewellery.org, to promote the social goals discussed in Geneva.

Date: 2007-11-10 Time: 09.15 AM


» First Namibian DTC sight sells $15 million of rough diamonds
Source: AFNS

The Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) held its first sight at the end of October and the beginning of November to coincide with the main DTC sight in London. At the Namibian event, $15 million worth of goods were sold to six local sightholders.

Another five sightholders are on NDTC’s list, but cannot receive any goods until they start operating polishing plants, which must start by March 30, 2008. In the year following that date, NDTC intends to sell $200 million worth of rough to its sightholders.

The first NDTC sight included goods produced domestically by Namdeb, the 50-50 joint venture of De Beers and the Namibian government, and “aggregated” international goods from the main DTC. At future sights, the more easily available locally produced goods will be sold one to two weeks ahead of the internationally produced stones, NDTC Sales and Marketing Manager Paulus Shituna said.

Namdeb is required to “beneficiate” 10 percent of its stones to Namibia-based diamond polishing plants.

Date: 2007-11-09 Time: 07.32 AM


» 493 carat “Letseng Legacy” up for sale on tender at Antwerp World Diamond Centre
Source: AFNS

Gem Diamonds Limited and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho have announced the 493 carat white diamond recovered from the Letšeng mine has been named “Letšeng Legacy”. This exceptional diamond will be tendered in Antwerp next week.

The Letšeng Legacy ranks as the world’s 18th largest rough diamond and was recovered from the Letšeng le Terai Mine in Lesotho on the 7th of September, 2007.

The name reflects growing legacy that the Letšeng le Terai Mine is creating as a producer of remarkable diamonds. Letšeng Diamonds, which is 70% owned by Gem Diamonds and 30% owned by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, has now produced three of the world’s top twenty diamonds. Two of these were recovered by Gem Diamonds in the last 13 months - the 603 carat Lesotho Promise recovered in August 2006 and this 493 carat diamond.

The 493 carat Letšeng Legacy will be sold on tender in Antwerp by WWW International Diamond Consultants on Wednesday the 14th of November at a ceremony and press conference hosted by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and attended by the Lesotho Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Minister Monyane Moleleki, and the Gem Diamonds directors.

The Lesotho Promise, which was the 15th largest rough diamond, was also sold on tender in Antwerp in October 2006 for US$12.4 million to Graff Jewellers. The collection of polished diamonds from the Lesotho Promise is expected to sell for between US$ 25-30 million.
The Lesotho Brown diamond was recovered in 1961 and ranks as the world’s 16th largest diamond. It yielded 18 polished diamonds, the largest of which was recently re-acquired by the original buyer, jewellers Harry Winston.

In January 2007, Letšeng Diamonds also produced a 215 carat D-colour flawless diamond which subsequently sold on tender for US$8.3 million.

The Letšeng Mine hosts two kimberlites, the Main and Satellite Pipes, that have a combined diamond resource value of US$4.7 billion. It is renowned for producing some of the world’s largest diamonds which attract the highest average price per carat of any kimberlite mine. As reported in Gem Diamonds’ Interim Results to end June 2007 released on the 13th September, the average price per carat achieved from the Letšeng Satellite Pipe was US$ 1894 and US$ 1128 from the Main Pipe. This compares with the world average price of approximately US$ 81 per carat.

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is the official representative of the Belgian diamond sector, and in this capacity is charged with managing the relationship between the diamond sector and government, and promoting the interests of the Belgian diamond industry worldwide.

PRESS RELEASE
Contact : Philip Claes
Tel +32 (0)3 222 05 05
Gsm + 32 (0)496 455 680

Date: 2007-11-08 Time: 07.30 AM


» De Beers to sell 10 percent of S. African output to SDT
Source: AFNS

De Beers will sell 10 percent of the rough diamonds it produces in South Africa to the new State Diamond Trader, under a deal signed with the country’s Department of Minerals and Energy on October 8.

The State Diamond Trader, which formally begins operations January 1, is entitled by law to receive 10 percent of the production of all South African diamond mining companies, which it will sell to domestic diamond polishing and jewelry manufacturing firms with the goal of encouraging the creation of value-added industry and local jobs—“beneficiation,” in the new jargon.

De Beers has agreed to assist the State Diamond Trader with technical knowledge, equipment and expertise for the first three years of the new company’s operations, all provided through Diamdel, the De Beers subsidiary that used to sell rough diamonds to companies too small to be Diamond Trading Company sightholders.

South African Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica said the government may extend the beneficiation model to other mining industries, although without the 10 percent provision

Date: 2007-11-07 Time: 12.25 PM


» Israeli polished exports jump 31 percent in September
Source: AFNS

Israel reported a 31 percent jump in polished diamond exports to $645.6 million for last month, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. In volume terms, polished exports rose a more modest 4.3 percent to 327,041 carats for the month.

Meanwhile, polished imports climbed just 1 percent to $358.4 million in September.

Imports of rough stones declined 11 percent to $357.7 million, while rough exports jumped 7 percent to $252.7 million last month.

For the first nine months of the year, polished exports climbed 8 percent to $5.34 billion, with imports growing 9 percent to $3 billion and net polished exports rising 7 percent to $2.33 billion.

Rough imports in the January-September period jumped 15 percent to $3.66 billion, while rough exports rose by 26 percent to $2.5 billion.

Date: 2007-11-06 Time: 09.56 AM


» Angola posts diamond exports of $1.2 billion in 2006
Source: AFNS

Angola’s revenues from diamond sales last year were $1.2 billion, according to the Jornal de Angola newspaper.

It cited Hélder Marques, sales director of the state diamond marketing firm, Sodiam, as saying Angola sold 9.4 million carats during 2006.

The figures were slightly higher than those published by the Kimberley Process several months ago, which gave Angolan diamond exports of 9.17 million carats valued at $1.13 billion, making it the fifth biggest producer by value in the world.

In a breakdown of the statistics, Marques said 28 percent of the country’s diamond exports went to Antwerp with 28 percent, Hong Kong gets 19 percent, Geneva 10 percent, and Israel 7 percent.

Date: 2007-11-05 Time: 09.56 AM


» JA survey shows diamonds lead jewelry sales
Source: AFNS

Diamonds, whether loose or set in finished jewelry, are still the most popular item sold by members of the Jewelers of America (JA), making up half their total sales, the organization found in its “2007 Cost of Doing Business Survey.” Colored stone jewelry was a distant second at 10 percent, followed by gold with 8 percent.

All retail jewelry categories saw sales growth in 2006, although it was varied, the organization said. Median growth for all jewelers was 4.1 percent, up slightly from 3.9 percent in 2005. Independent high-end retailers fared best, with a 7.4 percent sales increase over 2005, which is in keeping with 7.1 percent growth of jewelry sales nationwide, according to IDEX Magazine. Designer and custom retailers saw 6.5 percent growth, while chain stores grew 4.3 percent and mid-range retailers had only a 2.4 percent increase over 2005 sales.

Jewelry store profitability saw a 32 percent increase in 2006, compared to 2005 results; in 2006, the retailers JA surveyed had a median 5.3 percent net profit as a percent of net sales, compared to 4 percent in 2006. Although gross margins fell in 2006, the overall gross margin was up to 49.1 percent, from 48.4 percent in 2005.

“Since growth is becoming more varied, it is clear that effectively managing and marketing is vital to the success of retail stores, and differentiates high-profit from low-profit firms,” JA said. “While high-profit stores in 2006 did not necessarily have greater sales per store—$985,000 on average compared to $1,179,000 for low-profit stores—they did have characteristics of efficient management: higher sales per square foot and turnover frequency, but lower payroll and operating expenses. For instance, high-profit stores had a 20 percent greater inventory turnover than low-profit firms and, therefore, much higher sales growth (6.8 percent versus 3.7 percent).”

“High-profit retailers also contain their operating expenses by spending a lower percentage of net sales on payroll (17.8 percent compared to the average of 22.4 percent of low-profit firms),” JA said. “In fact, high-profit retailers are so efficient at saving on occupancy, advertising and other related expenses that they spent 7.2 percent less on total operating expenses than low-profit companies in 2006.”


Date: 2007-11-04 Time: 16.30 PM


» LVMH records 10 percent rise in revenues in third quarter
Source: AFNS

Luxury retailer LVMH posted a 10 percent rise in revenues to 4 billion euros in the third quarter of 2007, with the firm’s watch and jewelry unit continuing to fulfill growth expectations.

Revenues at the watch and jewelry division rose 13 percent to 199 million euros during the quarter ending September 30.

During the January-September period, revenues climbed 8 percent to 11.44 billion euros. Watch and jewelry sales jumped 16 percent to 589 million euros in the first nine months of the year.

LVMH’s brands include TAG Heuer, Carrera, Aquaracer, Link, Zenith, Dior and Chaumet.

LVMH’s other business units include wine and spirits, fashion and leather goods, perfumes and cosmetics, and other retailing units.

Date: 2007-11-03 Time: 08.45 AM


» Namibia DTC announces 11 local sightholders
Source: AFNS

The Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), a 50-50 joint venture between the Naimbian government and De Beers, announced its first 11 “sightholder” customers which have qualified to receive supplies of domestically mined rough diamonds for a three-and-a-half-year contract period ending in 2011.

The first sight will be held October 29 for companies that had Namibian polishing plants in operation as of July 18, NDTC Chairman Shihaleni Ndjaba said. The other companies will receive their rough diamond supplies starting March 31, 2008.

The 11 NDTC sightholders are Almod Diamonds Ltd., AMC/GemXel Diamonds (Pty) Ltd., Finesse Diamond Corporation, Hardstone Processing (Pty) Ltd., JKD Namibia (Pty) Ltd., Namcot, Namgem, LLD Diamonds Namibia (Pty) Ltd. (a part of the Leviev Group), Laurelton-Reign Diamonds (Pty) Ltd., NU Diamond Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd. and Trau Bros. Diamonds Namibia (Pty) Ltd.

“NDTC received some 18 applications and had the tough job of assessing those that have demonstrated the strongest ability to both drive demand for diamonds and promote diamond cutting and polishing in Namibia,” Ndjaba said. “By 2009, N$2 billion (U.S.$300 million) worth of diamonds will be available for local diamond manufacturing. This represents almost 5 percent of Namibia’s GDP and is a significant step forward in building a more diversified diamond industry for our country.”

The agreement to set up NDTC was reached in January. The company’s core objective is to help develop diamond sorting, valuing, selling and marketing practices in Namibia, using domestically mined stones. The formation of the company is also intended to help catalyze wider development of the Namibian economy through the expansion of the banking, security and IT sectors that will be necessary to support the new diamond manufacturing businesses.

It is anticipated that the growth of cutting and polishing operations will also help to reinforce the country's positive investment climate for foreign businesses, the company said. De Beers and the Namibian government also operate a 50-50 diamond mining joint venture, Namdeb.

“The establishment of NDTC is of significant value to the global diamond industry and is a clear demonstration of beneficiation in action. It will enhance Namibia's competitive supply advantage through skills and intellectual property transfer, building national capacity to meet the needs of a growing cutting and polishing industry,” said Varda Shine, managing director of DTC International and a member of the NDTC Board of Directors.

Date: 2007-11-02 Time: 11.20 PM


» South Africa compensates tribe for diamond lands
Source: AFNS

A tribe of aboriginal inhabitants in the Richtersveld, a remote area on South Africa’s northwestern coast near the Namibian border, has reached a further settlement in a series of lawsuits against the government over the seizure of land for diamond mining 80 years ago.

The government has now agreed to restore 330 square miles of coastal land to the 4,500 member Nama tribe, on top of the $28 million compensation agreement signed in April. Moreover, the government has agreed to spend additional millions of dollars on development in the area.

The tribe is also entering into a 49-51 percent partnership with the government-owned diamond mining company Alexkor. Additionally, Alexkor is transferring ownership of the company town of Alexander Bay to the tribe.

When the lawsuit was first filed 10 years ago, the government and the company argued, with initial success, that the British authorities and not the post-1948 apartheid government were responsible for seizing the land from the tribe, so that the tribe wasn’t eligible for post-apartheid compensation.

Moreover, they argued that the diamonds mined there—reportedly some $2.7 billion over the years—should be used for the good of South Africa as a whole, and not just the Nama. But the tribe prevailed on appeal to the Constitutional Court in 2003.

Date: 2007-11-01 Time: 10.00 AM


» Alrosa planning three-year sights deals
Source: AFNS

Russian diamond miner Alrosa plans to have a system of three-year diamond sights ready by the end of this year, according to president Sergey Vybornov.

The plan foresees a number of clients that will be entitled to purchase $100-$250 million of goods annually according to an agreed price formula with Alrosa.

The multi-year contracts will start in 2008 following the end of current contractual sales obligations in December.

Alrosa has come up with the plan following the European Commission decision to require the company to end diamond sales to De Beers in an anti-trust decision. Alrosa is appealing that decision.

Date: 2007-10-31 Time: 09.15AM


» HRD seminar to look at treated and synthetic diamonds
Source: AFNS

HRD Antwerp Research will be holding an important symposium on the latest developments in treated and synthetic diamonds at the HRD building in Antwerp on October 24.

The issues of treated and synthetic diamonds have gained increasing importance in the past few years.

Attendees at the symposium, entitled Treated and Synthetic Diamonds: Newest Developments, will be welcomed by Georges Brys, General Manager HRD Antwerp NV, with Yves Kerremans, Head HRD Research, providing the introduction.

The audience will hear lectures from Jay Neogi, Chief Executive Officer of Serenity Technology, who will speak on Serenity color enhanced diamonds; Philip Martineau, of the Diamond Trading Company Research Centre, who will talk about colorless and heat treated brown CVD synthetic diamonds; Jef Van Royen, of HRD Research, who will speak about HPHT treatment of IaB diamonds; and John Chapman, Manager Diamond Technology, Rio Tinto Diamonds, whose talk will deal with techniques for detecting natural pink diamonds.

Closing remarks will be made by Katrien de Corte of HRD Research. This will be followed by a reception.

Subscription is necessary, but free of charge. Please confirm your attendance at kdm@hrd.be

Date: 2007-10-30 Time: 07.32 AM


» Diamond industry pledges support for Africa at Antwerp diamond conference Antwerp to facilitate coop
Source: AFNS

Antwerp, Belgium, 22 October 2007 – Participants from over 40 countries across five continents gathered at the 2007 Antwerp Diamond Conference to hear industry leaders express their support and understanding of the beneficiation policies of diamond producing states. African governments were urged to make use of the history, skills and knowledge of established centres, such as Antwerp, as they move to capture more value from their natural resources.

Titled ‘Producers in transition: the changing industry dynamic’, the two-day forum hosted by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) addressed, for the first time, the most fundamental shifts in the diamond industry: African beneficiation. African countries seek to capture additional value from the supply chain by linking rough diamond mining and distribution with the establishment of local diamond cutting and polishing centres. The implications of this policy shift will be felt throughout the industry.

Kago Moshashane, Botswana’s Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Minerals Energy and Water, opened the discussion. He assured the industry that his country’s beneficiation policies will be based on sustainability and profitability. “Botswana does not desire to recklessly compete where she does not have the natural advantage to do so,” Moshashane explained. “We rather wish to actively seek synergies with other world diamond centres and other stakeholders across the industry from mine to market.”

Other African leaders echoed his remarks. While they stated their intention to move forward on their beneficiation policies, they affirmed their desire for collaboration rather than hostility as seen with other resource nationalisation policies such as in South America.

Gareth Penny, Managing Director of De Beers, responded in an impassioned speech by describing beneficiation as “an imperative, an absolute essential and critical part of their macroeconomic policy.” Several other international mining companies also described their support for African and Canadian beneficiation – affirming their commitment to the countries in which they operate.

While supportive of the aims of beneficiation, keynote speaker Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 Nobel Prize Laureate for Economics, gave a cautionary speech about this policy development. Stiglitz explained that well-managed beneficiation coupled with sound macroeconomic policies has the power to transform countries into fully developed economies. The consequence of mismanagement, however, could be further deterioration of the country’s economic and social conditions.

Sergey Vybornov, President of the Russian-state mining organisation Alrosa, was hesitant about African countries’ beneficiation plans. He described Russia’s unsuccessful attempt to cut and polish its diamonds locally, despite having the advantage of receiving supplies directly from their parent company. Vybornov called on the African states that are setting up manufacturing plants “not to repeat our mistakes.”

Vybornov’s comments generated a lively discussion, which followed the fiery speech given by Sir Bob Geldof at the Gala dinner the previous night. Geldof gave a frank and passionate address about the imperative of Western countries, and particularly European nations, to tackle the social and economic depravity crippling many African states. Additionally, Geldof called on African leaders to do more to evenly distribute the wealth generated from natural resources, thereby bridging the divide between the rich and the poor.

Given the challenges beneficiation presents, the conference demonstrated the need for the public and private sectors to work together in harmony to balance the needs and goals of both parties. AWDC CEO, Freddy J. Hanard, closed the conference by stating, “cooperation, sustainability and profitability are the key ingredients in developing a successful model for beneficiation.”

To facilitate this cooperation and to advance the industry’s knowledge about the issue, the AWDC pledged to take the discussion to the next level. To this end, the AWDC and Alrosa signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deepen commercial ties.

Penny recognised Antwerp’s role when he said, “I would argue that without Antwerp these new [African] cutting centres will not succeed. Both diamond producers and producer governments must recognise the vitally important role that the industry here in Antwerp…will play in helping bring the vision of an African diamond manufacturing industry to life.”

The full press kit is available for downloading at the Antwerp Diamond Conference website: www.antwerpdiamondconference.be

Date: 2007-10-29 Time: 09.56 AM


» Marie Antoinette jewels to be auctioned in December
Source: AFNS

A necklace containing diamonds and pearls that once belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette of France is to go on sale at Christie’s Magnificent Jewellery auction in London in December and is expected to fetch $800,000.

The necklace contains diamonds and pearls that were originally loose in a bag that Marie Antoinette gave for safekeeping to Lady Sutherland, the wife of the British ambassador to France, in 1792, the year before the French queen’s execution.

With Marie Antoinette unable to recover the gemstones, they were passed down through the Sutherland family, a direct descendant of which is selling them now after they have been kept in a bank vault for many years. The diamonds were made into a necklace with rubies, and the pearls were added in 1849 for the wedding of Sutherland’s grandson.

Christie’s is absolutely sure of the provenance of the diamonds and gemstones, which has been documented, according to Raymond Sancroft-Baker, senior director of Christie’s jewelry in London.

Date: 2007-10-28 Time: 16.30 PM


» Tiffany & Co. plans two new stores in China
Source: AFNS

Tiffany & Co. will open two new stores in Tianjin and Shenyang in China to add to the company’s two existing stores in Beijing and Shanghai. The new stores will be opened in two cities that are among China’s 10 largest cities.

“Tianjin and Shenyang are well located, with robust economies, great natural beauty and a wealth of historical treasures,” said Darren Chen, Tiffany & Co. group vice president. “These factors account for the cities’ growth as major business centers and travel destinations for tourists worldwide, and they define the ideal environment for a Tiffany & Co. store,” he said.

The approximately 1,400-square-foot Tianjin store will be located in the Friendship Store, a luxury retail center at the center of the city’s cultural and commercial district, and is planned to open in December.

The approximately 2,200-square-foot Shenyang store will be located in the Charter Shopping Center, situated in the city’s main shopping area and is due to open next January.

Date: 2007-10-27 Time: 09.15AM


» Russian miner Alrosa facing audit in November
Source: AFNS

Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa is to undergo an audit in November, said Sergei Stepashin, head of the Russian Audit Chamber. He said the company’s finances, day-to-day operations and efficiency will be subject to open scrutiny.

The company has been audited before and was told it would have to pay billions of rubles in back taxes, in a move widely seen as attempted intimidation on the part of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Alrosa is controlled by the Russian government, which holds a 48 percent stake. The government of the autonomous Republic of Yakutia, local regions within Yakutia and company executives hold lesser stakes.

Date: 2007-10-26 Time: 07.32 AM


» Leviev Group denies buying rubies or diamonds from Burma
Source: AFNS

The Leviev Group said it does not buy diamonds, rubies or other precious stones from trubled Asian state Myanmar (Burma), and that any stones from the country available in its retail stores are from decades-old collections.

London’s Sunday Times had reported that Burmese rubies are available at the Leviev Group’s retail jewelry store in London, and that the sale of such stones helps the military junta in Burma stay in power.

The Israel-based Leviev Group opened the London outlet two years ago, and another retail store in Moscow more recently. Burma is not on any UN list that would prohibit it from exporting diamonds or precious stones.

Date: 2007-10-25 Time: 07.30 AM


» Vaaldiam acquiring Elkedra, Great Western Diamonds
Source: AFNS

Canadian diamond mining company Vaaldiam Resources Ltd. is seeking to acquire Australian diamond mining company Elkedra Diamonds NL and Great Western Diamonds Corp. in all-stock deals. Elkedra has called an October 29 shareholder meeting to discuss the proposed deal which the board of directors supports.

Vaaldiam said on August 15 that it had raised $26.3 million in a private placement. Three-quarters of the money is being held in escrow and will be released on the closing of Vaaldiam's acquisition of Elkedra to fund the merged company’s activities.

The combination of Vaaldiam with Elkedra and Great Western will make Vaaldiam South America’s largest diamond producer, according to Elkedra. The combined company will be a diamond production, exploration and development company with a pro forma market capitalization of more than $170 million, and will market “high-quality diamonds with a combined average sales value of over $300 per carat,” Elkedra said.

The merged firm will wholly own two producing alluvial diamond mines in Brazil, both of which have expected production lives of more than eight years. The mines’ combined projected production is 50,000 carats in 2007 and more than 85,000 carats by 2008.

The merged firm will also wholly own advanced kimberlite exploration projects in Brazil at Brauna (Bahia State) and Pimenta Bueno and Ariquemes (Rondonia State); in Canada, at the Candle Lake and Centennial projects at Fort a la Corne, Saskatchewan; as well as owning 53 kimberlite deposits and controlling approximately 1.5 million hectares of diamond exploration concessions in Brazil and Canada.

Date: 2007-10-24 Time: 12.25 PM


» Finlay buying Bailey Banks & Biddle for $200 million
Source: AFNS

Fine jewelry retailer Finlay Enterprises, Inc. is paying $200 million to buy Bailey Banks & Biddle, a chain of 70 stand-alone luxury jewelry and watch stores in 24 states, from Zale Corporation. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of October.

Finlay said the acquisition should contribute sales of approximately $280 million to $300 million in its 2008 fiscal year, which ends January 31, 2009. Bailey Banks & Biddle’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization are expected to be “in the range of $23 million to $27 million” for the fiscal year, Finlay said.

The deal also includes an inventory adjustment at the time of closing and Finlay’s assumption of certain liabilities from Zale. Finlay said it will finance the transaction through a new $550 million five-year revolving credit facility from GE Corporate Lending.

The acquisition “almost triples the number of stand-alone jewelry stores we operate,” Finlay Chairman Arthur E. Reiner said. “This transaction expands our presence in the luxury market and builds upon our Carlyle acquisition in 2005 and our Congress acquisition in 2006, increasing our luxury and better specialty business, including Bloomingdales and Lord & Taylor, to over $550 million. We believe the high-end market, which has performed very well in recent years, will continue to be one of the most attractive segments of the jewelry business.”

Date: 2007-10-23 Time: 09.56 AM


» South Africa monster diamond find still unverified
Source: AFNS

Reports that a diamond with the unbelievable weight of 7,500 carats was found in South Africa’s North West Province have not been confirmed, although Ernest Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, did confirm that he has been approached by a small mining company that asked for his help in verifying whether a very large stone was a diamond. He said the owners have security concerns.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation reported in August that the large stone had been deposited in a vault in Johannesburg. If the size reported is correct, it would be more than twice the size of the Cullinan diamond, which weighed 3,106 carats when it was found in 1905.
However, experts say it is unlikely such a huge stone could be found in the alluvial deposits of South Africa’s North West. In the meantime, the stone has reportedly remained in South Africa.

Date: 2007-10-22 Time: 13.10 PM


» Japanese polished diamond imports fall through August
Source: AFNS

Japan imported 1.5 million carats of polished diamonds worth $594.8 million in the first eight months of 2007, a decline of 19.6 percent by weight and 15.4 percent by value. Polished imports fell 12 months in a row in value terms until August, when they ticked up 1.2 percent to $61.5 million. In weight terms, however, August was another month of decline, with polished diamond imports falling 9.1 percent to 178,394 carats.

The leading supplier of polished diamonds to Japan in August was India, with $37.4 million worth of stones, 60 percent of the total and a 31.4 percent increase. Japan also recorded increases in its polished diamond imports from the United States, China, Hong Kong and Thailand in August, while the country imported $5.6 million of polished goods from Belgium, a 45.9 percent decrease, and $2.8 million worth of goods from Israel, a 54.6 percent drop.

Colored gemstone imports to Japan were down across the board in August. Ruby, sapphire and emerald imports totaled $2.78 million, a 32.1 percent decline; pearl imports were $19.1 million, a 16.1 percent drop, and imports of other precious stones totaled $5.4 million, a 22.3 percent decline. Gold and silver jewelry imports were down 5.2 percent and 7.3 percent in the first eight months of the year, to $509.1 million and $162.1 million, respectively, while platinum jewelry imports were unchanged at $278.2 million.

Date: 2007-10-21 Time: 09.15 AM


» Zimbabwe to require beneficiation of diamonds
Source: AFNS

Zimbabwe is the latest African diamond producing nation hoping to join the “beneficiation” movement, using domestically mined rough diamonds to create value-added diamond polishing and jewelry manufacturing industries. Neighboring states South Africa, Botswana and Namibia have already started this process.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines and Mining Development Cde Amos Midzi said the government is working on a legal framework that would require diamond mining companies to set aside a proportion of the stones they produce for domestic polishing plants. He said the mining companies agree that this should be done, and the government is talking with them about how to go about it.

Midzi said the government is also working on improving security and stricter trading regulations for diamonds. The only significant diamond mine in Zimbabwe is the Murowa Mine, in which Rio Tinto holds a 78 percent stake. Other diamond sites in the poverty-stricken nation have been overrun by desperate squatters, and smuggling has been rampant as the economy has been destroyed under the dictatorship of President Robert Mugabe.

Date: 2007-10-20 Time: 07.32AM


» Antwerp Diamond Conference to address dramatic restructuring of rough supply chain
Source: AFNS

With the opening in 2008 of the giant DTC Botswana rough diamond sorting facility in Gaborone and the growing insistence of governments in the southern African diamond producing countries that their nations capture a larger share of the value chain, one of the most significant shifts in the history of the diamond distribution pipeline appears to be underway. The course and impact of these developments on the diamond market will come under the spotlight at the Fourth Antwerp Diamond Conference, which will take place on October 15 and 16 in the Belgian diamond centre.

“We are witnessing the beginning of a process that we know will change the way in the which the diamond industry has operated for more than a century, but there are very real questions about the degree of change and what effects it will have on the business and the diamond market,” says Freddy J. Hanard, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the organiser of the Antwerp Diamond Conference. “These changes are forcing members of our industry to question how and where they will obtain rough supply in the future, and where they will process the diamonds. All these issues will be addressed at the conference in Antwerp.”

The need to secure a greater portion of the diamond value chain is considered an issue of critical economic and political importance in Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, as well as Angola, which together supply more than 50 percent of the rough diamonds flowing into the pipeline each year. Government officials from these countries have said on numerous occasions that they no longer will accept a situation in which Africa exclusively operates as a supplier of raw materials, while the other, higher added-value stages in the distribution pipeline occur primarily elsewhere. A change in the situation, they have said, is crucial to the region’s development.

To remedy the situation, the countries have rewritten legislation to mandate that local cutting industries get first pickings on domestic production, and levies be imposed on rough exports. The result, thus far, is dramatic increase in the number of large diamond companies that have set up cutting plants in the region. Simultaneously, De Beers has been constructing in the Botswana capital of Gaborone its massive DTC Botswana facility, which after it opens next year reportedly will become responsible for sorting and distributing all of the company’s southern African production, reducing the traditional role played by Diamond Trading Company in London. But questions have been raised about the viability of the fledgling African cutting industry, which faces stiff competition from India and China, and currently lacks the physical and financial infrastructures that are available elsewhere.

To address the various issues, the organiser of the Antwerp Diamond Conference have assembled a blue ribbon list of speakers, including high-ranking government officials from Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Angola; the heads of the major diamond mining producers, including De Beers, Alrosa, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto; the heads of junior diamond producers in southern Africa; a panel of rough diamond market specialists; and senior banking officials. (A full speaker’s list is attached.) Providing a neutral overview of the situation will be Professor Joseph Stiglitz, the former head of U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors and the co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001.

The 2007 Antwerp Diamond Conference, which is entitled “Producers in Transition: The Changing Industry Dynamic,” will take place on Monday October 15, and Tuesday, October 16, the Elisabethzaal of the Flanders Congress & Concert Centre on the Koningin Astridplein, adjacent to the city’s famous diamond district. The conference’s traditional charity gala dinner will take place at the Waagnatie on the evening of October 15, in the presence of HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium and HE Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia. Delivering keynote addresses at the gala dinner will be President Johnson Sirleaf and Sir Bob Geldof, the Irish pop star and social activist.

Registration for the conference is possible via a dedicated website: www.antwerpdiamondconference.be

Date: 2007-10-19 Time: 07.30 AM


» Marie Antoinette jewels to be auctioned in December
Source: AFNS

A necklace containing diamonds and pearls that once belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette of France is to go on sale at Christie’s Magnificent Jewellery auction in London in December and is expected to fetch $800,000.

The necklace contains diamonds and pearls that were originally loose in a bag that Marie Antoinette gave for safekeeping to Lady Sutherland, the wife of the British ambassador to France, in 1792, the year before the French queen’s execution.

With Marie Antoinette unable to recover the gemstones, they were passed down through the Sutherland family, a direct descendant of which is selling them now after they have been kept in a bank vault for many years. The diamonds were made into a necklace with rubies, and the pearls were added in 1849 for the wedding of Sutherland’s grandson.

Christie’s is absolutely sure of the provenance of the diamonds and gemstones, which has been documented, according to Raymond Sancroft-Baker, senior director of Christie’s jewelry in London.

Date: 2007-10-18 Time: 11.11 AM


» Tiffany & Co. plans two new stores in China
Source: AFNS

Tiffany & Co. will open two new stores in Tianjin and Shenyang in China to add to the company’s two existing stores in Beijing and Shanghai. The new stores will be opened in two cities that are among China’s 10 largest cities.

“Tianjin and Shenyang are well located, with robust economies, great natural beauty and a wealth of historical treasures,” said Darren Chen, Tiffany & Co. group vice president. “These factors account for the cities’ growth as major business centers and travel destinations for tourists worldwide, and they define the ideal environment for a Tiffany & Co. store,” he said.

The approximately 1,400-square-foot Tianjin store will be located in the Friendship Store, a luxury retail center at the center of the city’s cultural and commercial district, and is planned to open in December.

The approximately 2,200-square-foot Shenyang store will be located in the Charter Shopping Center, situated in the city’s main shopping area and is due to open next January.

Date: 2007-10-17 Time: 07.50 AM


» Russian miner Alrosa facing audit in November
Source: AFNS

Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa is to undergo an audit in November, said Sergei Stepashin, head of the Russian Audit Chamber. He said the company’s finances, day-to-day operations and efficiency will be subject to open scrutiny.

The company has been audited before and was told it would have to pay billions of rubles in back taxes, in a move widely seen as attempted intimidation on the part of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Alrosa is controlled by the Russian government, which holds a 48 percent stake. The government of the autonomous Republic of Yakutia, local regions within Yakutia and company executives hold lesser stakes.

Date: 2007-10-16 Time: 12.25 PM


» Leviev Group denies buying rubies or diamonds from Burma
Source: AFNS

The Leviev Group said it does not buy diamonds, rubies or other precious stones from trubled Asian state Myanmar (Burma), and that any stones from the country available in its retail stores are from decades-old collections.

London’s Sunday Times had reported that Burmese rubies are available at the Leviev Group’s retail jewelry store in London, and that the sale of such stones helps the military junta in Burma stay in power.

The Israel-based Leviev Group opened the London outlet two years ago, and another retail store in Moscow more recently. Burma is not on any UN list that would prohibit it from exporting diamonds or precious stones.

Date: 2007-10-15 Time: 09.56 AM


» Vaaldiam acquiring Elkedra, Great Western Diamonds
Source: AFNS

Canadian diamond mining company Vaaldiam Resources Ltd. is seeking to acquire Australian diamond mining company Elkedra Diamonds NL and Great Western Diamonds Corp. in all-stock deals. Elkedra has called an October 29 shareholder meeting to discuss the proposed deal which the board of directors supports.

Vaaldiam said on August 15 that it had raised $26.3 million in a private placement. Three-quarters of the money is being held in escrow and will be released on the closing of Vaaldiam's acquisition of Elkedra to fund the merged company’s activities.

The combination of Vaaldiam with Elkedra and Great Western will make Vaaldiam South America’s largest diamond producer, according to Elkedra. The combined company will be a diamond production, exploration and development company with a pro forma market capitalization of more than $170 million, and will market “high-quality diamonds with a combined average sales value of over $300 per carat,” Elkedra said.

The merged firm will wholly own two producing alluvial diamond mines in Brazil, both of which have expected production lives of more than eight years. The mines’ combined projected production is 50,000 carats in 2007 and more than 85,000 carats by 2008.

The merged firm will also wholly own advanced kimberlite exploration projects in Brazil at Brauna (Bahia State) and Pimenta Bueno and Ariquemes (Rondonia State); in Canada, at the Candle Lake and Centennial projects at Fort a la Corne, Saskatchewan; as well as owning 53 kimberlite deposits and controlling approximately 1.5 million hectares of diamond exploration concessions in Brazil and Canada.

Date: 2007-10-14 Time: 12.25 PM


» Finlay buying Bailey Banks & Biddle for $200 million
Source: AFNS

Fine jewelry retailer Finlay Enterprises, Inc. is paying $200 million to buy Bailey Banks & Biddle, a chain of 70 stand-alone luxury jewelry and watch stores in 24 states, from Zale Corporation. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of October.

Finlay said the acquisition should contribute sales of approximately $280 million to $300 million in its 2008 fiscal year, which ends January 31, 2009. Bailey Banks & Biddle’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization are expected to be “in the range of $23 million to $27 million” for the fiscal year, Finlay said.

The deal also includes an inventory adjustment at the time of closing and Finlay’s assumption of certain liabilities from Zale. Finlay said it will finance the transaction through a new $550 million five-year revolving credit facility from GE Corporate Lending.

The acquisition “almost triples the number of stand-alone jewelry stores we operate,” Finlay Chairman Arthur E. Reiner said. “This transaction expands our presence in the luxury market and builds upon our Carlyle acquisition in 2005 and our Congress acquisition in 2006, increasing our luxury and better specialty business, including Bloomingdales and Lord & Taylor, to over $550 million. We believe the high-end market, which has performed very well in recent years, will continue to be one of the most attractive segments of the jewelry business.”

Date: 2007-10-13 Time: 09.56 AM


» South Africa monster diamond find still unverified
Source: AFNS

Reports that a diamond with the unbelievable weight of 7,500 carats was found in South Africa’s North West Province have not been confirmed, although Ernest Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, did confirm that he has been approached by a small mining company that asked for his help in verifying whether a very large stone was a diamond. He said the owners have security concerns.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation reported in August that the large stone had been deposited in a vault in Johannesburg. If the size reported is correct, it would be more than twice the size of the Cullinan diamond, which weighed 3,106 carats when it was found in 1905.

However, experts say it is unlikely such a huge stone could be found in the alluvial deposits of South Africa’s North West. In the meantime, the stone has reportedly remained in South Africa.

Date: 2007-10-12 Time: 12.25 PM


» Japanese polished diamond imports fall through August
Source: AFNS

Japan imported 1.5 million carats of polished diamonds worth $594.8 million in the first eight months of 2007, a decline of 19.6 percent by weight and 15.4 percent by value. Polished imports fell 12 months in a row in value terms until August, when they ticked up 1.2 percent to $61.5 million. In weight terms, however, August was another month of decline, with polished diamond imports falling 9.1 percent to 178,394 carats.

The leading supplier of polished diamonds to Japan in August was India, with $37.4 million worth of stones, 60 percent of the total and a 31.4 percent increase. Japan also recorded increases in its polished diamond imports from the United States, China, Hong Kong and Thailand in August, while the country imported $5.6 million of polished goods from Belgium, a 45.9 percent decrease, and $2.8 million worth of goods from Israel, a 54.6 percent drop.

Colored gemstone imports to Japan were down across the board in August. Ruby, sapphire and emerald imports totaled $2.78 million, a 32.1 percent decline; pearl imports were $19.1 million, a 16.1 percent drop, and imports of other precious stones totaled $5.4 million, a 22.3 percent decline. Gold and silver jewelry imports were down 5.2 percent and 7.3 percent in the first eight months of the year, to $509.1 million and $162.1 million, respectively, while platinum jewelry imports were unchanged at $278.2 million.

Date: 2007-10-11 Time: 09.56 AM


» Zimbabwe to require beneficiation of diamonds
Source: AFNS

Zimbabwe is the latest African diamond producing nation hoping to join the “beneficiation” movement, using domestically mined rough diamonds to create value-added diamond polishing and jewelry manufacturing industries. Neighboring states South Africa, Botswana and Namibia have already started this process.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines and Mining Development Cde Amos Midzi said the government is working on a legal framework that would require diamond mining companies to set aside a proportion of the stones they produce for domestic polishing plants. He said the mining companies agree that this should be done, and the government is talking with them about how to go about it.

Midzi said the government is also working on improving security and stricter trading regulations for diamonds. The only significant diamond mine in Zimbabwe is the Murowa Mine, in which Rio Tinto holds a 78 percent stake. Other diamond sites in the poverty-stricken nation have been overrun by desperate squatters, and smuggling has been rampant as the economy has been destroyed under the dictatorship of President Robert Mugabe.

Date: 2007-10-10 Time: 16.30 PM


» Antwerp Diamond Conference to address dramatic restructuring of rough supply chain
Source: AFNS

With the opening in 2008 of the giant DTC Botswana rough diamond sorting facility in Gaborone and the growing insistence of governments in the southern African diamond producing countries that their nations capture a larger share of the value chain, one of the most significant shifts in the history of the diamond distribution pipeline appears to be underway. The course and impact of these developments on the diamond market will come under the spotlight at the Fourth Antwerp Diamond Conference, which will take place on October 15 and 16 in the Belgian diamond centre.

“We are witnessing the beginning of a process that we know will change the way in the which the diamond industry has operated for more than a century, but there are very real questions about the degree of change and what effects it will have on the business and the diamond market,” says Freddy J. Hanard, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the organiser of the Antwerp Diamond Conference. “These changes are forcing members of our industry to question how and where they will obtain rough supply in the future, and where they will process the diamonds. All these issues will be addressed at the conference in Antwerp.”

The need to secure a greater portion of the diamond value chain is considered an issue of critical economic and political importance in Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, as well as Angola, which together supply more than 50 percent of the rough diamonds flowing into the pipeline each year. Government officials from these countries have said on numerous occasions that they no longer will accept a situation in which Africa exclusively operates as a supplier of raw materials, while the other, higher added-value stages in the distribution pipeline occur primarily elsewhere. A change in the situation, they have said, is crucial to the region’s development.

To remedy the situation, the countries have rewritten legislation to mandate that local cutting industries get first pickings on domestic production, and levies be imposed on rough exports. The result, thus far, is dramatic increase in the number of large diamond companies that have set up cutting plants in the region. Simultaneously, De Beers has been constructing in the Botswana capital of Gaborone its massive DTC Botswana facility, which after it opens next year reportedly will become responsible for sorting and distributing all of the company’s southern African production, reducing the traditional role played by Diamond Trading Company in London. But questions have been raised about the viability of the fledgling African cutting industry, which faces stiff competition from India and China, and currently lacks the physical and financial infrastructures that are available elsewhere.

To address the various issues, the organiser of the Antwerp Diamond Conference have assembled a blue ribbon list of speakers, including high-ranking government officials from Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Angola; the heads of the major diamond mining producers, including De Beers, Alrosa, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto; the heads of junior diamond producers in southern Africa; a panel of rough diamond market specialists; and senior banking officials. (A full speaker’s list is attached.) Providing a neutral overview of the situation will be Professor Joseph Stiglitz, the former head of U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors and the co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001.

The 2007 Antwerp Diamond Conference, which is entitled “Producers in Transition: The Changing Industry Dynamic,” will take place on Monday October 15, and Tuesday, October 16, the Elisabethzaal of the Flanders Congress & Concert Centre on the Koningin Astridplein, adjacent to the city’s famous diamond district. The conference’s traditional charity gala dinner will take place at the Waagnatie on the evening of October 15, in the presence of HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium and HE Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia. Delivering keynote addresses at the gala dinner will be President Johnson Sirleaf and Sir Bob Geldof, the Irish pop star and social activist.

Registration for the conference is possible via a dedicated website: www.antwerpdiamondconference.be

Date: 2007-10-09 Time: 08.45 AM


» Poisonous cobra watches over diamond shoes for Harrods
Source: AFNS

Harrods department store in London came up with a unique security measure when it unveiled a pair of ruby, sapphire and diamond-encrusted shoes in London in mid-September.

The store borrowed a live Egyptian cobra, whose bite can be fatal, to guard the shoe counter and make sure no one made off with the costly footware.

The snake was brought in only for the first day’s display of the shoes, which are priced at $152,300.

Date: 2007-10-08 Time: 11.20 PM


» Enormous diamond-shaped artwork goes up for auction
Source: AFNS

An enormous blue stainless steel sculpture in the shape of a diamond by artist Jeff Koons is due to be auctioned by Christie’s on November 13. The selling price is estimated at $12 million.

The item is more than seven feet wide almost eight feet tall. It can be viewed outside Christie’s offices in Rockefeller Center, New York City.

While Christie’s would not divulge the seller’s identity, it is said to be publisher Benedict Taschen, who bought it shortly after it was made and has kept it in storage since then.

The blue “diamond” is part of Koons’ “Celebration” series, begun in 1994, which features four other giant diamond-shaped sculptures, including a pink one owned by collector and hedge fund manager David Ganek that was put on display at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum last year, and a green one that the Gagosian Gallery put up for sale two years ago at the Art Basel auction for $2.3 million.

Date: 2007-10-07 Time: 10.00 AM


» China’s 2007 diamond jewelry sales expected to rise 12 percent
Source: AFNS

Diamond jewelry sales in China are expected to rise 12 percent this year from last year’s figure of almost $2 billion. Providing an extra boost is last year’s cut in China’s value-added tax on imported gemstones.

According to De Beers, China is the second-biggest diamond market in Asia and the fastest-growing consumer diamond market in the world after India.

Diamond jewelry is increasingly displacing the traditional gold and jade jewelry grooms give to brides in China. Diamond wedding jewelry now makes up 32 percent of the Chinese diamond jewelry market overall, according to De Beers.

Christina Hudson, marketing director for the De Beers Group in Greater China, said that diamond wedding jewelry is at the center of De Beers’ growth strategy in China, as it has traditionally been for the company elsewhere in the world.

Date: 2007-10-06 Time: 09.15AM


» Petra Diamonds to buy De Beers’ Kimberley mines for $11 Mln
Source: AFNS

De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), the South African arm of the De Beers Group, announced September 14 that it has agreed to sell its Kimberley underground mines, which were shuttered in 2005, to Petra Diamonds for R78.5 million ($10.9 million).

The transaction price includes cash and a guarantee from Petra to take over De Beers’ full environmental rehabilitation liability. Petra also took over full responsibility for care and maintenance of the underground mines from the date the deal was inked.

Petra will operate the mines with its black economic empowerment (BEE) joint venture partner Sedibeng Mining, with which Petra also operates the Dancarl Mine in South Africa’s Barkley West District, which Petra purchased from DBCM in a transaction that was completed in July. Petra also purchased DBCM’s money-losing Koffiefontein Mine in November 2006.

Petra, Sedibeng and DBCM now must seek approvals from South Africa’s Department of Minerals and Energy so that the joint venture can operate the mines at optimal levels. Petra believes that, based on its operating model, the Kimberley underground mines will have an economic life of more than 10 years.

The agreement follows February’s announcement by De Beers that it intended to seek offers for its underground mines and selected tailing treatment sites in and around Kimberley, as well as for the Cullinan Diamond Mine.

Petra, quoted on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market and on the Australian Stock Exchange, employs more than 2,000 people and owns diamond assets in Sierra Leone, Botswana, Angola and South Africa.

The company has four producing mines in South Africa: Helam, Koffiefontein, Sedibeng and Star. Koffiefontein is an underground kimberlite pipe operation, while the rest are fissure operations that the company acquired when it acquired Crown Diamonds NL in May 2005.

Petra’s South African mines produced 175,000 carats in the year ending June 2006 and, with the acquisition of the Koffiefontein and Kimberley mines, will increase to more than 300,000 carats a year over the next two years.

Date: 2007-10-05 Time: 07.32AM


» De Beers denies shipping diamonds before end of aparthei
Source: AFNS

De Beers has again denied for the record that it deliberately stockpiled diamonds outside South Africa before the 1994 all-race elections that ended apartheid in that country and brought the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to power.

The testimony was given this time by Bruce Cleaver, De Beers’ commercial and legal director, who was speaking to South Africa’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts. Cleaver denied that the company had exported some 20 million carats of diamonds from South Africa in 1993, as claimed by the country’s Department of Minerals and Energy and the Auditor-General’s office.

Instead, he said, De Beers exported only a normal level of 1.6 million carats from South Africa that year. He added that the company always maintains various diamond stockpiles in different countries.

However, members of the ANC-dominated committee called on De Beers to provide figures for its exports and stockpiles in 1992, and also said the company should disclose to the committee what it paid in regional services council levies, which applied to diamond exports back then. Cleaver said De Beers would provide the latter figures if they are available and relevant.

Once the committee reaches conclusions on the matter, it will make recommendations to South Africa’s parliament.

Date: 2007-10-04 Time: 09.56 AM


» Gem Diamonds finds 494-carat stone
Source: AFNS

Gem Diamonds Limited said it found a 494 carat rough diamond at its Letseng Mine in Lesotho September 7, and insured it for $15 million. This is believed to rank as the 18th largest rough diamond in the world. It has excellent color and high clarity, the company said.

The Letseng mine, which is 70 percent owned by Gem Diamonds and 30 percent owned by the Lesotho government, has now produced three of the world’s 20 biggest diamonds, including the Lesotho Promise, which Gem Diamonds found in August 2006.

That stone was auctioned in Antwerp in October 2006 for $12.4 million, and is the 15th largest rough diamond in the world, while the Lesotho Brown diamond, which was found at the Letšeng Mine in 1961, was the 16th largest.

The mine also produced a 215-carat D-flawless diamond in January 2007, which was auctioned for $8.3 million.

The Letseng Mine has two kimberlites with a combined estimated diamond resource value of $4.7 billion. The average price per carat of stones found in the “Letseng Satellite Pipe” was $1,894, and at the “Main Pipe” it was $1,128. This compares with the world average price of approximately $81 per carat.

In its report for the first half of 2007, Gem Diamonds noted that it had its IPO on the London Stock Exchange in February, raising $635 million, and since then has acquired the Gope deposit in Botswana for $34 million, BDI Mining in Indonesia for $80.1 million and has made a $263 million offer for Australia’s Kimberley Diamond Company. Operating profits for the period were $16.8 million on revenue of $69.8 million, and the Letseng Mine continues to produce ahead of plan, with a second plant scheduled for commissioning in early 2008.

Date: 2007-10-03 Time: 16.30 PM


» Kimberley Diamond Co. losses more than double
Source: AFNS

Australia’s Kimberley Diamond Co. reported a net loss of A$31.9 million (U.S.$26.6 million) for the year ending June 30, 2007, compared to a net loss of A$13.1 million ($10.9 million) the year before.

The company produced 385,000 carats of diamonds from its Ellendale Mine in Western Australia and sold 369,800 carats, at an average value of U.S.$134 per carat.

“Revenue was impacted by the plant expansion programs, particularly the delays experienced in the construction and commissioning of the upgrade of the Ellendale 9 East Plant,” the company said. “These delays limited throughput and resulted in significantly reduced carat production and sales.”

U.K.-based Gem Diamonds has offered U.S.$263 million to buy out the company.

Date: 2007-10-02 Time: 09.15AM


» KP report on Zimbabwe diamond smuggling not complete
Source: AFNS

A delegation from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme has missed an August deadline to deliver a report on whether diamond smuggling is going on in Zimbabwe.

The delegation is investigating alleged smuggling from two areas. One is the Chiadzwa diamond zone in the Marange district, where diamonds were found in late 2006, bringing in hordes of destitute, illegal diggers. The police are said to have arrested more than 20,000 of the unauthorized diggers.

The government reserves for itself the right to mine diamonds through the state-owned Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), but many stones are thought to be smuggled out of the area regardless.

The Kimberley Process team also visited the River Ranch Mine in Beitbridge, which is disputed between Bubye Minerals, which used to run the mine, and River Ranch Limited, which now controls it. Bubye Minerals’ owners and attorneys have charged that River Ranch Limited seized the property by force and that the company is controlled by cronies of dictatorial President Robert Mugabe.

Bubye Minerals has also charged that River Ranch diamonds are being smuggled out of the country, triggering the Kimberley Process investigation. But Terrence Hussein, a lawyer for Bubye Minerals, says the Kimberley Process team has refused to meet with the company.

Date: 2007-10-01 Time: 07.32AM


» Belgium posts rises in August for all imports and exports
Source: AFNS

Antwerp recorded a sharp rise in rough imports and exports in August and over the course of the first eight months of the year, while polished imports and exports also saw strong activity.
Rough diamond exports increased by 143.9 percent in value terms compared with August 2006, to $806.1 million. In volume terms, rough diamond exports soared by186.7 percent to 10.1 million carats.
Meanwhile, rough imports rose by 41.2 percent last month to $860.2 million. In volume terms, there was a 9 percent increase to 11 million carats.
In the January-August period, rough diamond exports jumped by 25.9 percent to $7.64 billion, and 20.1 percent in volume terms to 97.3 million carats.
Rough imports for the first eight months of the year rose by a more modest 13.6 percent to $6.77 billion and 3.7 percent to 89.3 million carats.
As for polished diamonds, exports rose 64.5 percent in August to $480.7 million, and in volume terms jumped 26.1 percent to 404,976 carats. During the first eight months of 2007, polished exports rose 13.1 percent on the same period last year to $6.87 billion, and in volume terms rose 11.3 percent to 6.21 million carats.
Polished imports jumped 22.6 percent in August on the same month last year to $708.3 million, and 18.4 percent to 797,653 carats. For the January-August period, polished imports increased 9 percent to 6.5 billion, and 5.4 percent to 6.54 million carats.

Date: 2007-09-30 Time: 07.30AM


» Antwerp organizers put finishing touches to conference
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is putting the finishing touches to the major international diamond conference it will stage October 15-16.

The conference returns after a two-year hiatus in a revamped format based on the annual Davos World Economic Forum, and emphasizes the importance of Antwerp as the center of the global diamond industry as leaders of all sectors of the trade from across the world gather in the city.

The conference title is ‘Producers in transition: the changing industry dynamic,’ and will focus on the shift of power in the diamond industry, and in particular the emerging strength of the producer countries and their determination to capture more of the “value chain.” This is being reflected in these countries’ demand that more diamonds be sorted and processed in the nation where they are mined, and concurrently the passing of legislation that will make this phenomenon a statutory obligation.

Among the major personalities taking part in the conference will be Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz. Guest speaker at the gala dinner on October 15 will be Sir Bob Geldof, businessman and former pop star.

Geldof will join an illustrious group of individuals who have been invited to be guest speakers at the gala dinner of the Antwerp Diamond Conference. They include former President Bill Clinton, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Botswana’s President Festus Mogae and South African President Thabo Mbeki, who in 2004 used the occasion to announce the imminent launch his government’s beneficiation program.

www.antwerpdiamondconference.be

Date: 2007-09-29 Time: 12.25 PM


» West African Diamonds gets good results in Sierra Leone, Guinea
Source: AFNS

West African Diamonds (WAD) said that its wholly owned Pipe 3 project in Sierra Leone and its 53 square kilometer Bounoudou diamond mining license area in southeastern Guinea both seem to contain more diamonds than previously thought, including a possible kimberlite grade of 19 diamond carats per hundred tons (cpht) at the former site and a possible alluvial resource of 300,000 to 500,000 carats at the latter.

“The latest results from Pipe 3 support the earlier findings that the ‘raw’ kimberlite probably contains about 19 cpht of high-quality diamonds,” Deputy Chairman James Campbell said. “At a value of over $200 per carat, this suggests a value per ton of ore of about $40. With the significant increase in the in-situ revenue, WAD will immediately commence work on a scoping study to assess the economic viability of this increasingly attractive diamond resource.”

The company has done additional work on a sample of 20,000 tons of kimberlite that was mined at Pipe 3 between June 2004 and October 2005. The average value of the 5,670 diamonds that had already been found, which weigh a total of 1,075.49 carats, has been revised upward to $228 per carat. Another 387 diamonds weighing a total of 43.65 carats have been found as well, causing the raw grade of the sample to be revised upward to 7.8 cpht. In addition, the company has processed 387 tons of stockpiled untreated kimberlite, producing 618 diamonds weighing 78.8 carats.

Regarding the Guinea license area, the company said that in addition to the “Droujba” kimberlites discovered in the 1960s, small kimberlite pipes, dykes and alluvial deposits may be discovered there, the latter including the 300,000 to 500,000 carat deposit along the River Somolo.

The alluvial deposits are found along both the small tributaries and the larger rivers, the company said. “Although the shallower and less water-logged of these deposits have been extensively mined, initially by formal mining and latterly by artisinal digging, it is quite likely that there are exploitable sections remaining. Along the larger streams where the deeper gravels are water-logged there remains potential for significant deposits.”

Date: 2007-09-28 Time: 09.56 AM


» Japan reports first ever rough diamond discovery
Source: AFNS

A research team from Nagoya University has reported what evidently is the first ever natural diamond to be discovered in Japan. It was found in volcanic rock in Ehime Prefecture by, it was announced Monday.

The team refused to disclose its exact location, but it reportedly in the vicinity of the city of Shikokuchuo.

Reporting the finding at a meeting of the Geological Society of Japan in Sapporo, a research team representative noted that the discovery flies in the face of established theory, which states that countries like Japan, with active geological movements, do not produce diamonds in a natural environment.

The diamond is not about to be cut and placed in jewelry just yet. It evidently is only about one part of a thousandth of a millimeter, and cannot even be observed even using a microscope. It was detected when the researchers radiated a laser beam on a volcanic rock extracted at the site, and it detected a wavelength that is characteristic of a diamond.

Date: 2007-09-27 Time: 13.10 PM


» Namibia expects 14 new polishing plants to be set up
Source: AFNS

Namibian Diamond Commissioner Kennedy Hamutenya has said that his government has approved 20 diamond polishing plant licenses. Of this number, six plants are currently functioning.

"Other factories are under construction and will be opening [in the coming few months]," Hamutenya told the New Era daily newspaper.

One of the plants will be established by Dali Diamond, an Antwerp-based Diamond Trading Company sightholder, which will open its facility in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, toward the end of the year. Dali’s plant is being built at a cost of $2.7 million, and will polish and market branded Namibian-mined diamonds. It is expected to train and employ 150 local residents by next year and double that when it reaches full strength.

Date: 2007-09-26 Time: 09.15AM


» Tawana announces diamond find near Kimberley, South Africa
Source: AFNS

Diamond exploration firm Tawana Resources said that it found “larger-than-expected diamonds” during the first week of processing an initial bulk sample at the Riverton Mine in the Kimberley district of South Africa.

The company’s dense media separation plant produced 18 diamonds weighing a total of 9.07 carats between August 23 and September 3, including a 3.12 carat pale yellow diamond, a 1.31 carat stone and a 1.08 carat stone. The average size of the diamonds is 0.5 carats, “an unusually large average size for diamonds from a kimberlite,” the company said.

The Riverton Mine, which is located 25 kilometers north of the town of Kimberley, is a joint venture between Tawana Resources, an Australian company withs hares traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, and Taormina Mining (Pty) Limited, an unlisted South African company. The 4 hectare kimberlite pipe is said to have produced good-quality diamonds when it was mined by small scale diggers during the 1990s.

Date: 2007-09-25 Time: 07.32AM


» Vaaldiam Resources starts diamond mining in Brazil
Source: AFNS

Vaaldiam Resources Ltd. said it started commercial scale diamond production at its wholly owned Duas Barras mine in Brazil on September 1, although the treatment plant has been operational since early May. This makes the company one of only two publicly traded diamond producers in South America, the firm said; its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

To date, 20,178 diamonds with a total weight of 5,054.65 carats have been recovered from 21,807 cubic meters of gravel, an average size of approximately 0.25 carats per stone, Vaaldiam said. The average grade is 0.23 carats per cubic meter, 44 percent higher than expected. Approximately 5.28 kilograms of byproduct gold has also been recovered, the company said.

The ten largest diamonds found at Duas Barras weigh 8.25, 7.64, 6.25, 4.46, 4.07, 3.88, 3.81, 3.66, 3.43 and 3.29, carats. Twenty-nine percent of all the stones found (by weight) are larger than 0.5 carats, and 11 percent are larger than 1 carat.

Duas Barras is located in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The deposit contains an “indicated resource” estimated at 295,000 carats of diamonds and 335 kg of gold, plus an additional “inferred resource” of 137,000 carats of diamonds and 156 kg of gold. According to the company, an independent valuation of 169.15 carats of diamonds found during bulk sampling indicated an average value of $197 per carat.

Date: 2007-09-24 Time: 07.30AM


» Antwerp Diamond Museum launches Bling exhibit
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp Diamond Museum will have an extra special sparkle for the next three months as it stages an exhibition called Bling Bling, the crown jewels of hip-hop.
A group of 22 Belgian youngsters of different ages and from different cultures and backgrounds helped create the exhibition, which opens to the public on September 15 and runs through to the end of the year.
The exhibition is divided into three parts, with the first looking at the origin of bling bling, and how bling met hip hop in the late 1970s in New York where it was initially a black, urban phenomenon, explains Micheline Van Branden.
The first section also shows the development of bling in the past 30 years from its initial heavy use of gold worn by figures such as Mr T from the television series The A-Team through to the extensive use of platinum today.
The second part of the display looks at designers of bling, while the third section illustrates the heavy use of diamonds on items such as cameras, a bicycle, turntables and loudspeakers.
“The exhibition is targeted at young people,” explained Van Branden. It is important to realize that although bling is linked with hip hop, one can see it in a wider context that mankind has always had a fascination with shiny and pretty things. Thus, you can link it to royalty, the Indian maharajahs and the great operatic divas.

Date: 2007-09-23 Time: 12.25 PM


» Rising value of Canadian dollar impacts Aber’s profits
Source: AFNS

The Aber Diamond Corp., 40 percent owner of the Diavik diamond mine and owner of high-end jeweler Harry Winston, has reported that the rising value of the Canadian dollar against its U.S. counterpart erased the benefit of an increase in sales during the second quarter of 2007 and led to a 41 percent fall in profit.

According to Aber, net income fell to $20.1 million during he three months ended July 31, from $34.3 million, a year earlier. This was despite a 24 percent increase in sales to $173.3 million.

“The company is continually subject to foreign exchange fluctuations, particularly as the Canadian dollar moves against the U.S. dollar,” Aber said in statement.

According to Aber, it had a foreign-exchange loss of $11.8 million during the second quarter, compared with a $2.6 million gain a year earlier. The Canadian dollar rose to an average Can. $1.07 against the U.S. dollar during the period, from an average of Can. $1.12 during the same quarter in 2006.

Costs associated with mining, sorting and retailing stood at $153 million in the six months ended July 31, compared with $132.3 million a year earlier, Aber reported. Harry Winston's sales rose to $68.2 million from $48.4 million.

Date: 2007-09-22 Time: 09.56 AM


» Liberia ships first diamonds since UN sanctions lifted
Source: AFNS

Liberia has made its first legitimate shipment of diamonds since the lifting of U.N. sanctions, the government confirmed in Monorovia. The Liberian government received a royalty of about $6,000 from the shipment.

According to government spokesman Laurence Bropleh , the shipment was valued at about $222,000. He did not name the company exporting goods, nor their final destination.

The United Nations Security Council removed on diamonds exports from Liberia sanctions in April, citing the country’s efforts in provide Kimberley Process controls . The sanctions had first been imposed in May 2001, and, as a result, the Liberian government called for a moratorium on all diamond mining in the country.

Liberia submitted its application in March to join the Kimberley Process

Date: 2007-09-21 Time: 12.25 PM


» New Chairman Installed at International Diamond Council
Source: AFNS

A new chairman has taken the helm at the International Diamond Council (IDC), which is the consultative body created in 1975 by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) to regulate diamond grading standards, rules, working methods and nomenclature. He is Stéphane Fischler, and he succeeds Edward Asscher, who has served as chairman of IDC since 1990.
The decision to appoint Fischler was endorsed by the WFDB and IDMA leadership, when they met at the Presidents' Meeting in Amsterdam in June.
The new IDC chairman has a long record of public service in the diamond industry. Fischler is currently Secretary General and Treasurer of IDMA, and is also Vice President of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and President of the European Council of Diamond Manufacturers.
One of his primary goals as IDC chairman, Fischler stated, is achieving general harmonization of diamond grading standards. Toward that end, he intends working in close cooperation with CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation. "CIBJO's established diamond nomenclature is very similar to that of IDC and I am sure that in a relatively brief time we can come to complete understanding. We share CIBJO's vision, which is a single international standard for polished diamond grading. We appreciate that this cannot be achieved overnight, but that is what we are working toward," Fischler said
Cooperation among the industry organizations could serve other goals as well, Fischler said. "One of the other things we would like to achieve is a minimum ISO certification standard for procedures at [gemological] laboratories. All of the labs that subscribe to IDC rules already are ISO certified, as are a number of the CIBJO affiliated labs, and we'd like to see more labs that operate internationally going in the same direction. The fact that labs operate according to strict and accepted international standards enhance the consumer’s confidence in their ability of gem labs to render reliable and consistent grading services," he said.
In the short term, Fischler said, an overriding concern for IDC is to resolve the issue of nomenclature for synthetic diamonds. “We hope that the synthetic diamond producers agree to openly describe their products as ‘synthetic,’ ‘man-made’ or ‘laboratory-grown,’ which clearly will differentiate them from natural diamonds. It is a compromise that we believe other industry organizations will agree to," he stated.
Looking back his years as IDC chairman, Amsterdam-based Edward Asscher said that recent development have made the organization more relevant than ever before. "We have seen an onslaught of issues coming our way in recent years, and no one less important than the nomenclature for synthetic diamonds. I am glad to say that IDC, with the unwavering support of its two parents, WFDB and IDMA, has taken a consistent and unequivocal position that synthetics cannot be called just 'diamonds,' but must, without exception, always be preceded by one of the descriptive adjectives: ‘synthetic,’ ‘man-made’ or ‘laboratory-grown.’”
On the other hand, Asscher conceded that IDC's earlier acceptance of the SI-3 clarity diamond grade would most probably need to be reversed. "I personally believe that the IDC's acceptance of the SI-3 clarity grade was ‘still born.’ But IDC must discuss this issue with its members, and of course with other international bodies, such as CIBJO. I am sure IDC will resolve this issue satisfactorily," he stated.

Date: 2007-09-20 Time: 09.56 AM


» AWDC supporting “Day of Diversity’ in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp Diamond Giants, the city of Antwerp’s professional basketball team, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Antwerp's youth sports organizer Pieter Loridon are joining hands to organize a “Day of Diversity," to be held September 23 at the Meir pedestrian thoroughfare in city center. The aim the event is to encourage interaction between Antwerp’s various ethnic, religious and cultural groups.

For the Day of Diversity no fewer than 10 basketball courts will be set up temporarily along the Meir, and a basket ball dunk contest and "Basket for Kids” tournament will be held. The crowd will also be entertained by DJ Delafino, as well as a number of other attractions, including free hair cuts.

In the evening, the final game of the of the Basket for Kids tournament will be played in the city's Lotto Arena, followed by a game between the Antwerp Giants and the Turkish team Pinar Karsiyaka

Sport, the organizers feel, is a powerful unifier, not only among people, but also among the various groups and communities in society.

Also involved in the organization of this event are representatives of Antwerp’s Indian, Jewish, Turkish, Moroccan, Polish and African communities in Antwerp, as well as officials from the diamond sector, the municipality and the province.

Date: 2007-09-19 Time: 12.25 PM


» European Commission to try reinstate ban on Alrosa sales to De Beers
Source: AFNS

A spokesman for the European Commission said it would appeal a court ruling overturning its ban on all rough diamond sales from the Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa to De Beers after the end of 2008.

In July, the European Court of First Instance said the European Commission had gone too far in its antitrust ruling, which was reached with De Beers’ consent. Alrosa complained that it had not been consulted.

The European Commission will file its appeal with the European Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union, by end of September. A court date will be set at that point.


Date: 2007-09-18 Time: 09.56 AM


» U.S. runner almost loses brooch, but still wins
Source: AFNS

U.S. sprinter Sanya Richards almost lost a $20,000 diamond brooch given her by the top executive of a sponsor during a 200-meter heat at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan in late August.

The brooch came off as she was running. A dozen spectators ran down onto the track to recover it for her.

Richards had been wearing the brooch during competitions for good luck, but said she won’t do it any longer. She won her heat, by the way

Date: 2007-09-17 Time: 07.32AM


» Analyst sees bright future for ‘junior’ diamond mining firms
Source: AFNS

Smaller diamond mining companies, of which more than 100 are listed on international stock exchanges, may have the flexibility to mine alluvial and other deposits. However, fewer than 20 of these companies actually produce significant quantities of diamonds, the rest being engaged in prospecting in Botswana, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, according to Des Kilalea, a London-based analyst for RBC Capital Markets, who was speaking at a recent symposium sponsored by the Geological Society of South Africa.

There are also dozens of privately held diamond mining firms, such as Chris Potgieter’s Sonop Diamond Mining, which specializes in alluvial sites in South Africa and produces approximately 93,000 carats a year. This compares to the 116,200 carats that publicly traded South African diamond mining firm Trans Hex said it produced in its last fiscal year. Diamondcorp has an option to buy Sonop for $45 million in cash, plus 7.5 million shares of Diamondcorp stock.

Kilalea pointed out that smaller mining firms have lower operating expenses while often having the benefit of experienced managers who previously worked for larger mining firms. They can also partner with big mining firms, as Petra has done with BHP Billiton in Angola. However, this may trap the smaller firms into paying the higher capital costs the bigger firms are used to, and in addition the smaller companies may begin turning to the larger ones for money as it becomes harder to raise money on risk-averse capital markets.

The lure of diamond mining is in the large returns on such mines as Jwaneng in Botswana, which is owned by the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswanan government, Debswana, and De Beers’ wholly owned South African mine, Venetia. Kilalea put the profit margins on these mines at 88 and 82 percent, respectively.

Date: 2007-09-16 Time: 07.30AM


» U.S. consumer confidence retreats in August
Source: AFNS

The U.S. based Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had surged in July, gave back all of the gain in August. The Index now stands at 105.0 (1985=100), down from 111.9 in July. The Present Situation Index decreased to 130.3 from 138.3 in July. The Expectations Index declined to 88.2 from 94.4.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households in the United States. The cutoff date for August's preliminary results was August 22.

Says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: "A softening in business conditions and labor market conditions has curbed consumers' confidence this month. In addition, the volatility in financial markets and continued sub-prime housing woes may have played a role in dampening consumers' spirits. But, despite less favorable conditions and in spite of all the recent turmoil, consumers still remain confident. And, current Index levels suggest further economic growth in the months ahead."

Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions in August was less upbeat than in July. Those claiming conditions are "good" decreased to 26.4 percent from 28.3 percent, while those saying conditions are "bad" increased to 16.3 percent from 14.5 percent. Consumers were also less positive in their appraisal of the labor market. Those saying jobs are "hard to get" increased to 19.7 percent from 18.7 percent. Those claiming jobs are "plentiful" decreased to 27.5 percent from 30.0 percent in July.

Consumers, once again, turned cautious in their short-term outlook. Those expecting business conditions to worsen in the next six months rose to 10.6 percent from 8.2 percent, while those anticipating business conditions to improve was virtually unchanged at 15.0 percent. The outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. The percent of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 13.0 percent from 13.8, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 15.3 percent from 14.9 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 19.1 percent.

Date: 2007-09-15 Time: 12.25 PM


» Lazare Kaplan loses $3 million in fiscal 2007
Source: AFNS

Lazare Kaplan International Inc. reported a net loss of $3 million on sales of $434.4 million for the year ending May 31, 2007, compared to a net profit of $1.5 million on sales of $528 million the year before.

This represented a 17.7 percent decline in sales, which the company attributed mainly to the transfer of some of its rough trading operations to a separately operated joint venture, accounted for by the equity method. The transfer took place late in 2006.

The New York City-based, publicly traded diamond company recorded net income of $200,000 on net sales of $96.9 million for the quarter ending May 31, 2007, compared to net income of $500,000 on sales of $135 million in the corresponding period of 2006. This represented a sales decline of 28.2 percent for the quarter, which the company said was also the result of the joint venture taking over the rough trading operations.

Date: 2007-09-14 Time: 09.56 AM


» Russian officials call for more Alrosa rough for domestic polishers
Source: AFNS

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and Smolensk Region Governor Victor Maslov said that Alrosa, the Russian diamond monopoly, should provide more rough diamonds to the Russian diamond polishing industry.

Fradkov said the government should take steps to bolster Alrosa as it renegotiates its sales agreements with De Beers. Until recently, Alrosa was set to end all sales to De Beers after the end of 2008, due to a European Commission antitrust ruling, but the Russian company recently succeeded in having this ruling overturned on appeal.

Maslov said that the Russian diamond polishing industry has enough capacity to process more rough if it is made available. He said polishing plants in his region are getting only slightly more rough diamonds in recent years, with Alrosa supplying the bulk and minor amounts coming in from the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Date: 2007-09-13 Time: 16.30 PM


» India International Jewellery Show draws 25,000 preregistered visitors
Source: AFNS

The India International Jewellery Show, which opened at the end of August, was expected to draw some 25,000 visitors to Mumbai, with a record 17,000 people having preregistered for the event.

Sanjay Kothari, chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, announced that a National Council for Gems & Jewellery would be formed soon. He said that Indian gem and jewelry exports rose 25 percent in the past six months, and that annual growth is expected to total 15 percent. Addressing Indian Minister of Industries Ashwani Kumar, he called on the government to stop imposing income tax on diamond and jewelry companies and instead to impose a tax that would assume a 3 percent rate of profit for all companies.

Kumar said that India’s gem and jewelry industry should concentrate on developing India’s brand on the world market, as well as on growing the domestic diamond and jewelry market. Diamonds, he pointed out, are increasingly popular with the growing Indian middle class.

Among other attendees at the show were Thai Minister of Commerce Krikkrai Jirapaet, who was heading a national pavilion with 18 companies in 24 booths, and the Shanghai municipality’s Deputy General Secretary, Fan Xiping, who headed the Chinese delegation.

Date: 2007-09-12 Time: 09.10 AM


» Bond agency gives Botswana thumbs up
Source: AFNS

Moody’s bond agency raised its outlook on Botswana from positive to stable, but said there was some concern over the possibility that diamond production, on which the country is heavily dependent, would drop off.

Nevertheless, the bond agency had positive words for the government’s fiscal restraint and efforts to diversify the economy into tourism and other industries. Diamonds account for one-half of the government’s budget and one-third of the country’s GDP.

Most of Botswana’s diamonds are produced by Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the country’s government. Botswana is the world’s leading rough diamond producer by value, being responsible for about 30 percent of world supply.

Date: 2007-09-11 Time: 08.45 AM


» De Beers, Alrosa to cooperate on exploration
Source: AFNS

De Beers and the Russian government-controlled diamond mining monopoly Alrosa are going ahead with plans to cooperate on diamond exploration in Russia and Africa.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to that effect in September 2006, and the deal was further cemented when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited South Africa in July.

Some of the original impetus for the deal came from the European Commission’s antitrust ruling that was to have forbidden Alrosa to sell rough diamonds to De Beers after the end of 2008. That ruling has now been overturned on appeal by Alrosa.

In a separate development, De Beers Diamond Jewelers, the company’s retail diamond jewelry joint venture with Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, will open its first outlet in Moscow later this year. This is one of 14 new outlets the retail diamond jeweler will open worldwide by the end of the year, which will double the size of the chain. De Beers Diamond Jewelers’ sales shot up 39 percent in the first half of 2007.

Date: 2007-09-10 Time: 13.11 PM


» Tight supplies, rising prices and demand seen in diamond markets
Source: AFNS

Diamond prices have risen in 2007 after a period of stagnation, driven by growing demand among the new middle classes in India and China and tight rough supplies. De Beers said diamond prices recovered all the ground they had lost last year by the second quarter of this year, while its affiliate Anglo American Corp. expected world demand to rise 5 percent for the year.

Prices for 5 carat stones rose 8.4 percent in the first half of the year, compared to a 2.1 percent rise in the first half of 2006, according to Canada’s National Financial Bank. Diamond stockpiles have been depleted 75 percent since 2000, the Canadian bank said.

Publicly traded diamond mining firms Aber (which has a market value of $2.3 billion and is changing its name to Harry Winston, after its wholly owned jewelry subsidiary), Shore Gold and Trans Hex are expected to see their stock prices rebound after losing up to 50 percent of their value last year. Trans Hex was back in the black in the half-year that ended at the end of March, recording net income of 38.95 million rand ($5.4 million), whereas in the same period a year before it lost 21.2 million rand. The company said it had recovered from rains that depressed production.

Evy Hambro, managing director of BlackRock’s World Mining Fund in London, said he saw a positive outlook for the diamond market. The fund holds the largest stake in Gem Diamonds and a stake in Aber.

Date: 2007-09-09 Time: 09.00 AM


» Preparations underway for 2007 Antwerp Diamond Conference
Source: AFNS

Preparations in the Belgian diamond center are moving into high gear for the 2007 Antwerp Diamond Conference, which will be held on October 15 and 16 in the Elisabethzaal of the Flanders Congress & Concert Center, on the Koningin Astridplein adjacent to the city’s famous diamond district. The conference is being organized by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

This year’s conference, which many consider to the most important event of its type in the diamond industry, is being held after a two-year hiatus, and for the first-time ever the main conference will be complemented by a number of satellite seminars.

The theme of the main conference is “Producers in Transition: The Changing Industry Dynamic.” It will consider the shift of power in the diamond industry, and in particular the emerging strength of the producer countries and their determination to capture more of the “value chain.” Among the speakers will be South Africa’s Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is a a key architect of her government’s beneficiation program.

Another speaker is the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, former chief economist at the World Bank and a member of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers from 1993 to 1997. His many books on how globalization changes the rules and what it might mean for the future are considered some of the most influential work on the subject.

Addressing the diamond conference will be a group senior mining executives, among them Gareth Penny, the managing director of the De Beers, and Sergey Vibornov, president of Alrosa, who will speak on Russia’s diamond strategy. Of the more important and interesting figures to make their first appearance at an Antwerp Diamond Conference will be Lazarus Zim, chairman of Afripalm Resources, one of South Africa’s most important black empowerment companies. Today he also serves as chairman of the Trans Hex diamond company. In 2005 he was named the African business executive of the year.

The guest speaker at the traditional gala dinner of the Antwerp Diamond Conference, which will take place on October 15, is Sir Bob Geldof, an Irish pop star who in 1985 was the man behind the Live Aid concert, organized to alleviate a famine that was plaguing Ethiopia. In November 2004 he won the Nobel Man of Peace Award.

Among the events accompanying the Antwerp Diamond Conference will be The Opening Night on Sunday, October 14, organized by Alrosa, the Russian diamond company; a presentation on the South African diamond industry on Tuesday, October 16, and a presentation of the Shanghai diamond center on Wednesday, October 17.

ANTWERP DIAMOND CONFERENCE 2007
Date: October 15-16, 2006
Conference Venue: Elisabethzaal, Flanders Congress & Concert Center, Koningin Astridplein 26, Antwerp
Gala Dinner Venue: Waagnatie, Rijnkaai 150, Antwerp
Registration: Registration is possible via a dedicated website: www.antwerpdiamondconference.be

Date: 2007-09-08 Time: 16.30 PM


» Rosy Blue CEO says company will open polishing plant in Botswana
Source: AFNS

Dilip Mehta, CEO of the Belgian-Indian diamond manufacturing giant Rosy Blue, said during a recent visit to Botswana that his company is interested in opening a diamond polishing plant there immediately. The plant could employ up to 800 workers, he said.

Mehta also said that his company would like to get rough stones directly from the southern African nation.

Mehta said that Botswanan President Festus Mogae should develop his country’s diamond polishing and jewelry manufacturing industry. During his trip, the diamantaire met with the country’s Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe.

Mehta’s relative Sudir Mehta, who chairs the coal producer Torrent Power Ltd., accompanied the diamantaire on the trip. He said his company would like to mine coal in Botswana and export it to India, and is willing to invest $500 million in a new mine in the African nation.

Date: 2007-09-07 Time: 10.10 PM


» BHP Billiton diamond revenues down 29 percent in fiscal 2007
Source: AFNS

BHP Billiton reported diamond revenues of $893 million in its fiscal year 2007, which ended June 30. This was a 29.3 percent decrease from $1.263 billion the prior year. Underlying diamond earnings before interest and tax fell 24.3 percent to $261 million, compared to $345 million the prior year.

“We experienced a decrease in diamond sales for the year as a result of inventory sales in the prior year,” the company said. It also cited “higher unit costs reflecting variations in the mix of ore processed,” although “this was partially offset by higher value per carat
diamonds.”

The mining corporation owns 80 percent of the Ekati Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories and 80 percent of the Koala underground mine in Canada, where diamond production is expected to begin by the end of this year. The company reported that it has increased exploration activity on diamond targets in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which accounted for most of a $16 million increase in overall exploration costs.

Date: 2007-09-06 Time: 08.45 AM


» De Beers Canada to provide diamonds to local polishing firms
Source: AFNS

De Beers Canada said it will make available 10 percent by value of the rough diamonds it produces in the future from the Gahcho Kué Project for sale to diamond manufacturers who have been approved by the government of the Northwest Territories and have successfully fulfilled the Diamond Trading Company’s client selection criteria. The company agreed to this provision in talks with the territorial government.

The deal “is consistent with the agreement announced regarding Snap Lake diamonds earlier this year,” Jim Gowans, President and CEO of De Beers Canada, said. Snap Lake is another of the company’s diamond mining projects in the Northwest Territories. De Beers will have a local sorting facility in Yellowknife, employing local residents, where its Snap Lake and Gahcho Kué diamonds will be separately valued for royalty purposes, in accordance with Canadian mining regulations.

There are three diamond polishing companies in Yellowknife, and one, Arslanian Cutting Works, has already applied to receive Gahcho Kué diamonds. This could boost the plant’s production from the current level of 3,500 carats a month, said Director of Operations Bob Bies. The other two diamond polishing companies in the town are Laurelton Diamonds, which is owned by the jewelry house Tiffany & Co., and Polar Bear Diamond Factory.

The Gahcho Kué Project is located about 300 km northeast of the territorial capital Yellowknife, and is currently undergoing an environmental impact review process. It is expected to produce 3 million carats of diamonds a year for 15 years, at an average value of $67 per carat. The mine is a joint venture between De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds.

Date: 2007-09-05 Time: 13.11 PM


» Experts skeptical about reports about reports 7,000-carat rough diamond
Source: AFNS

Experts have voiced skepticism whether a 7,000-carat rough stone discovered in South Africa’s North West Province is in fact a diamonds, as claimed by Brett Jolly, a spokesman for building corporation, Two Point Five Construction, who says he is speaking on behalf of the mining, which at this stage wishes to remain anonymous.

Little is known about the stone, which if it is found to be genuine would be more than twice the size of the unpolished Cullinan Diamonds, which to date is the largest ever recorded diamond. A low quality of cellphone photograph of the stone is the only physical evidence of the stone to have been released. The alleged diamond, which is said to be about the size of a coconut, has been transported under tight security to Johannesburg and deposited in a bank vault. There it will remain until it undergoes proper analysis.

If the stone is indeed a genuine diamond, the industry should not be kept waiting for long. South African law requires that it be examined by the South African Diamond Board, which registers all diamonds, in order that its authenticity be confirmed and, for Kimberley Process purposes, verifies that it was discovered at a licensed diamond mining site.

Tom Tweedy, a De Beers spokesman, said that if the find is genuine it would be "the stone of the century," but, he added, "I have my doubts that it is real." The photographs suggest that it is light green in color, which makes the likelihood of it actually being a diamond even less likely.

Ernest Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, was also careful. "It would be an extremely rare find,” he told the press. “It would almost be like finding another Rembrandt.”

Before it was cut, the Cullinan Diamond, also known as the Star of Africa, was 3,107 carats. It can now be found in the Tower of London, as part of the British Crown Jewels.

Date: 2007-09-04 Time: 17.19 PM


» South Africa parliament approves rough export levy
Source: AFNS

South Africa’s national assembly in Cape Town has approved a government-proposed bill that reduces a rough diamond export levy from 15 percent to 5 percent, but significantly decreases the number of exemptions.

The bill, which replaces provisions from the Diamonds Act of 1986, is considered by the South African government to be more efficient. “No reason exists to force diamonds onto the local market beyond local capacity,” said Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, when he introduced the bill. He noted that the proposed relief measures in the new law ensured that local supply of rough diamonds would be commensurate with local demand.
.
Manuel said the export levy could be avoided in full if rough diamond producers meet their obligations to supply local beneficiaries. "Hence, the levy effectively acts as a penalty where a producer fails to meet these local supply requirements," he said.

Date: 2007-09-03 Time: 10.23 AM


» Gem Diamonds acquisition of Kimberley Diamond gets green light
Source: AFNS

Australia’s Kimberley Diamond Co. said late in August that the local affiliate of U.K. mining company Gem Diamonds has received approval from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board to acquire all Kimberley Diamond shares.

Kimberley Diamond Co. Chairman Miles Kennedy said that the company will decide whether to accept the takeover offer by mid-November. Ninety percent of Kimberley Diamond Co. shareholders would have to consent.

In July, Gem Diamonds said it had offered A$300 million (U.S.$264 million) in cash and stock for Kimberley Diamond, owner of the Ellendale Mine in Western Australia. As part of the deal, Gem Diamonds is providing Kimberley Diamond with a short-term loan of A$10 million (U.S.$8.8 million).

Gem Diamonds is a diamond mining company that owns one producing kimberlite mine—the Letseng Mine in Lesotho—and one producing alluvial mine, the Cempaka Mine in Indonesia. The company also has a kimberlite development project in Botswana, four development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), one in the Central African Republic and an option to develop the Chiri kimberlite concession in Angola.

Date: 2007-09-02 Time: 15.01 PM


» Turkey signs onto the Kimberley Process
Source: AFNS

Turkey has signed onto the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which was established to prevent the trade in diamonds mined in war zones.

The chairman of the Istanbul Gold Exchange, Osman Sarac, said his group will oversee the import and export of rough diamonds to ensure compliance with the Kimberley Process.

Date: 2007-09-01 Time: 07.30AM


» Second Angolan diamond cutting factory scheduled for 2008
Source: AFNS

A second diamond cutting and polishing factory is expected to go into operation in Angola 2008, according to the newspaper Jornal de Angola. Reportedly, it will be established in the province of Lunda Sul.

Quoting the director of planning and investment of Endiama, the national diamond mining company, Alberto Fançony, the newspaper reported that the decision to build the factory was due to an increase in the number of diamonds produced in the country.

"Endiama is working so that the factory can be built in Lunda-Sul and that by the end of the year it can be in operation," Fançony said. He added that the factory would have a foreign investor and Angolan partners.

Angola Polishing Diamond,the country’s first diamond cutting factory opened in 2005, with an estimated initial investment of $10 million, and a capacity to cut diamonds worth $20 million per month. It is owned by the locally-based Sodiam company, Lev Leviev’s LLD Diamonds and an Angolan consortium.

In 2007 Endiama has forecast revenues of $1.2 billion from 9.41 million carats of diamonds.

Date: 2007-08-31 Time: 10.00 AM


» Debswana diamond production totals 260 million carats
Source: AFNS

Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswanan government, has produced 260 million carats of rough diamonds since the Jwaneng Mine opened in 1982, and is now running at more than 30 million carats a year, Managing Director Blackie Marole said. It was Jwaneng that moved Botswana into the front ranks of diamond producing nations, even though diamond mining had been going on in the former British colony since the early 1970s, he said.

Marole was speaking at a ceremony to honor 64 diamond miners who have put in a quarter century each working for the company. The miners were each given a bonus of 10,000 pula ($1,600), while their spouses were awarded one-tenth that much.

Jwaneng is one of four giant diamond mines that Debswana operates. Marole said the company is at work on new projects that will require huge amounts of capital investment. Botswana is the leading producer of rough diamonds in value terms, contributing about 30 percent of world supply.

Date: 2007-08-30 Time: 09.15AM


» Diamond-studded lederhosen sell for $135,000
Source: AFNS

A company in Austria has reported what it claims to be the most expensive sale ever of a pair of lederhosen, the traditional knee length leather trousers that are popular mainly in Germany and Austria. Studded with diamonds, the trousers reportedly sold for a cool $135,000.

According to the trouser’s designer, Christian Wohlmuther, the lederhosen were fashioned from the leather of a wild red deer and decorated with 166 diamonds set in gold. They were bought by a German national who lives in Dubai.

Lederhosen are normally fashioned from the skin of elk, goats or pig and sometimes areembroidered with monograms and hunting designs.

Date: 2007-08-29 Time: 07.32AM


» Belgium’s rough diamond trade picks up strongly in July
Source: AFNS

Antwerp’s rough diamond trade picked up noticeably in July, with significant increases reported for both the import and export of uncut diamonds. According to data provided by the Diamond Office at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), rough diamond exports increased by 22.2 percent in terms of value, when compared to July 2006, to stand at $1.16 billion. In terms of volume the increase was 32.7 percent, with 16.0 million carats of rough diamond exported.

Rough diamond imports increased at a somewhat similar pace, with $882.0 million imported, 22.6 percent more than July 2006. By volume a 23.5 percent increase was reported, with 11.9 million carats arriving in Antwerp over the course of the month.

Compared top the same period a year earlier, over the first seven months of 2007 Belgium’s rough diamond exports increased by 19.1 percent in U.S. dollar terms and 12.5 percent in carats. Rough imports rose by a more modest 10.5 percent in U.S. dollars and 3.0 percent in carats.

The polished diamond trade was also brisk in July, with exports equaling $1.11 billion, 18.2 percent more than the $936.2 million reported in July 2006. 1.04 million carats of polished diamonds were exported in July, 26.2 percent more than during the corresponding month a year before. Polished imports in terms of value rose by 20.5 percent to close out the month at $788.3 million, while by volume 744,062 carats were imported, 11.3 percent more than in July 2006.

During the first seven months of 2007, polished diamond exports stood at $6.39 billion, 10.5 percent more than during the same period a year earlier, and in carat terms they increased by 10.4 percent. Polished diamond imports rose by 7.6 percent to $5.78 billion, with the volume of rough imports up 3.9 billion.

Date: 2007-08-28 Time: 07.30AM


» De Beers’ net earnings down one-third
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ net earnings were $350 million in the first six months of 2007, down nearly one-third from $520 million in the corresponding period of 2006, the company announced. However, “underlying earnings” were $324 million, up 5.2 percent from $308 million last year, “largely due to the favorable impact of a reduction in net finance charges,” the company said.

Diamond production increased 2 percent to 25.3 million carats from 24.7 million carats in the corresponding period last year, but sales were down 7 percent to $3.402 billion, compared to $3.66 billion last year. Diamond Trading Company diamond sales totaled $2.987 billion, down 8.1 percent from $3.252 billion last year. Non-DTC diamond sales totaled $224 million, up 19.1 percent from $188 million. Cash available from operating activities increased 48 percent to $522 million, mainly due to favorable movements of working capital.

De Beers said that during the first half of 2007 it was engaged in “refocusing of exploration activities, a strategic review of existing mining assets, continued investment in a $2 billion new mine building program, and the establishment of new sales and marketing operations in southern Africa.” The company “significantly stepped up exploration” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). In Angola, where the firm has ground holdings totaling approximately 12,000 square km, it has constructed a new bulk sampling plant in Lucapa and a macro-diamond laboratory in Luanda. In Botswana, the company’s Wati joint venture with African Diamonds is preparing to submit a mining license application for the AK6 kimberlite project in Orapa Province.

De Beers Canada’s Gahcho Kué project, a joint venture with Mountain Province in the Northwest Territories, will complete a further drilling program this summer to get 100 carats for testing. Meanwhile, construction of the Snap Lake mine in the Northwest Territories is nearing completion, and production is expected to begin at the end of the third quarter. At the Victor Project in northern Ontario, construction is on target for an accelerated start-up date at the end of the second quarter of 2008.

Following the award of the mining license for the Voorspoed mine in South Africa in the third quarter of 2006, construction began at the end of 2006 and is expected to be complete next June, with full commissioning at the end of June 2009. In June, De Beers’ newest marine diamond mining vessel, Peace in Africa, commenced operations off the western coast of South Africa. Once it reaches full production, the vessel is expected to yield approximately 4.5 million carats over its estimated operating life of 30 years.

Date: 2007-08-27 Time: 12.25 PM


» Alrosa announces major diamond find in Yakutia
Source: AFNS

The Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa announced that it has found a major diamond deposit in Yakutia, containing some $3.5 billion worth of diamonds.

While the company did not say how many carats of stones are estimated to be in the deposit, it said that it could produce 1.2 million to 2 million tonnes of ore a year for 25 years. Experts say that makes it the largest diamond find in Yakutia in more than 10 years.

Yakutia is also the location of the Mir diamond mine, Alrosa’s largest. The company is controlled by the Russian national government, which holds a 48 percent stake. The balance is controlled by the Republic of Yakutia, which is autonomous, along with company executives and local regions of Yakutia.

Date: 2007-08-26 Time: 09.56 AM


» Liberia permits diamond mining to resume
Source: AFNS

Liberia is allowing diamond miners to operate legally in the country after a hiatus of many years caused by the dictatorship of Charles Taylor, a civil war and the imposition of diamond export sanctions by the UN Security Council in 2001.

The sanctions were lifted in late April, and since then the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has been working to establish regional diamond offices so that there is a chain of custody mechanism for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, according to the minister, Dr. Eugene Shannon. The Kimberley Process has now agreed to issue export certificates for diamonds, and on July 30 the Bureau of Mines began accepting license applications from brokers and dealers.

Shannon said that miners should make sure that the pit they are working in is licensed, brokers should make sure they buy stones only from registered mines, and dealers should be sure to buy only from licensed brokers. He said penalties for noncompliance have been stiffened.

Date: 2007-08-25 Time: 12.25 PM


» Sierra Leone on track for record diamond exports
Source: AFNS

Rough diamond exports from Sierra Leone are likely to top $160 million, their highest level since the end of a 1991-2002 civil war, said a senior mining official, as quoted by Reuters.

From January through the end of July, Sierra Leone’s Gold and Diamond Office reported exports of 448,988 carats worth $102 million, $25 million more than during the same period in 2006. If the pace is kept, exports could get as high as $175 million by the end of the year, which was $50 million more than in 2006.

"We set a target of $132 million for the year, but we now think we are leading for $160 million," said Andrew Keili, acting director of the Gold and Diamond Office, in conversation with Reuters.

According to Keili, the improved figures are largely due to a new effort to reduce the channels available to smugglers. Smuggling was cited for the fall in exports in 2006, which stood at $125 million, down from the earlier post-war record of $142 million that had been set in 2005.

Date: 2007-08-24 Time: 09.56 AM


» Alrosa profits up, due to weak dollar
Source: AFNS

Alrosa saw its profits increase 23 percent in the first half of 2007, despite a 7 percent decline in revenues, thanks to the weakening of the U.S. dollar against the ruble.

The Russian diamond mining monopoly had a net profit of 5.94 billion rubles ($232 million) on revenues of 36.41 billion rubles ($1.42 billion) in the first half of 2007, compared to a net profit of 4.819 billion rubles ($188 million) on revenues of 36.41 billion rubles ($1.42 billion) in the corresponding period of last year. Diamond sales were 7.4 percent in the first half of 2007, compared to the first half of 2006.

For 2006 as a whole, the company made a net profit of $599 million, up 3.2 percent from 2005. Diamond sales totaled $2.86 billion in 2006.

The largest stakeholder in Alrosa is the Russian government, with a 48 percent share. Minority stakeholders include the government of the autonomous Republic of Yakutia and company executives.

Date: 2007-08-23 Time: 16.30 PM


» Petra recovers two massive stones at South African mine
Source: AFNS

Petra Diamonds has announced the recovery of two large rough diamonds at its recently acquired Koffiefontein mine in South Africa’s Free State province. According to the company, stones weigh 135.6 carats and 74.7 carats, and they both gem quality.

Earlier this month a 60.25 carat stone rough diamond was uncovered at Koffiefontein, and later was sold for $736 000.

Petra says that it expects to put approximately 9000 carats worth of rough on sale by tender in early September. At this time the two recently discovered diamonds will be sold, as well as two other rough diamond that are larger than 10 carats earch.

“The acquisition of the Koffiefontein mine was only recently completed, yet the recovery within a short time frame of these exceptional stones, together with the high value run of mine production, means Petra's expectations for revenue and bottom line cash flow from the mine should be substantially exceeded,” said Adonis Pouroulis, Petra’s chairman.

Petra Diamonds finalized its 81.9 million rand purchase of the Koffiefontein mine from De Beers Consolidated Mines in July.

Date: 2007-08-22 Time: 08.45 AM


» U.S. polished diamond imports rise 6.2 percent
Source: AFNS

The United States imported $8.79 billion worth of polished diamonds in the first half of 2007, a 6.2 percent increase in value terms from last year, although in weight terms imports declined 15.3 percent to 7.31 million carats. The average per-carat value of the polished imports was $1,202.

Israel was the largest supplier of U.S. polished diamond imports by value in the first half of 2007 at $4.75 billion, an 8.5 percent rise over last year, although in weight terms Israel shipped 5.2 percent less, at 1.8 million carats. Value per carat of polished imports from Israel therefore averaged $2,625.

At 4.02 million carats, India was responsible for more than half of U.S. polished imports in the first half of 2007 in weight terms, although this was actually a 17.6 percent decline from last year. In value terms, the United States’ polished imports from India rose 3.4 percent to $1.62 billion, almost 20 percent of the total. Value per carat of polished imports from India therefore averaged $400.43.

Coming in behind Israel and India in the U.S. polished diamond import figures were:
• Belgium, up 6.6 percent in value terms to $1.49 billion, but down 9.1 percent in weight terms to 738,284 carats, for an average of $2,021 per carat;
• South Africa, up 22.6 percent in value terms to $325.75 million, for an average of $7,871 per carat;
• Switzerland, up 23.2 percent in value terms to $142.8 million, for an average of $15,164 per carat;
• China, up almost 100 percent in value terms to $62 million, for an average of $1,241 per carat;
• Hong Kong, down almost 58 percent in value terms to $54.7 million, for an average of $557 per carat; and
• The United Arab Emirates, down 41 percent in value terms to $50.7 million, for an average of $916 per carat.

Date: 2007-08-21 Time: 13.11 PM


» Former WFDB President Moshe Schnitzer dies at 86
Source: AFNS

Moshe Schnitzer, the formed president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), died in Tel Aviv on August 16 at the age of 86. Schnitzer served two terms as WFDB president, from 1968 to 1972 and from 1978 to 1982. He was later named Honorary Life President of the organization, and at the 1992 Presidents Meeting in New York he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

WFDB President Ernest Blom offered the organization’s condolences to Shmuel Schnitzer, Moshe’s son, who followed in father’s footsteps as WFDB president, and to the other members of the Schnitzer family.

“Moshe Schnitzer was a visionary, who led by example. After laying the foundation in Israel for what would grow, largely according to his plan, into one of the world’s most important diamond centres, he turned his attention to the WFDB and the international diamond trade. He realised that our strength lay in our ability to complement one another, working together as an international network of colleagues, rather than as competitors. Generations of diamantaires from all over the world considered him a mentor and a leader.,” Blom said.

Moshe Schnitzer was born in 1921 in Chernowich, Romania, and immigrated to Israel in 1934. Having studied philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he began to work as a diamond cutter in 1942 and became a foreman in 1944. In 1947 he was active in uniting the bodies that jointly established the Israel Diamond Exchange. In 1965 he was the first diamantaire to be cited as an Outstanding Diamond Exporter by Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.

He went on to serve as president of the Israel Diamond Exchange from 1967 to1993, and in 1994 was elected honorary president of the Israel Diamond Exchange. He also served as chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute and chairman of the Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum in Ramat Gan.

In 2004 Schnitzer was named a recipient of the Israel Prize for his life’s achievements. It is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the Israeli government upon one of its citizens. Among his various other awards was the Order of King Leopold I of Belgium, in appreciation of his contribution to the Israeli and Belgian diamond industries. He also received an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan University for his vision and leadership of the Israeli diamond sector.

In 1999 the municipality of Ramat Gan named the plaza adjacent to the Israel Diamond Exchange Moshe Schnitzer Plaza, and later the campus of the diamond exchange was named the “Israel Diamond Center in Honor of Moshe Schnitzer.”

Date: 2007-08-20 Time: 07.50AM


» eBay issues rules about the describing of diamonds
Source: AFNS

eBay, the online auctioneer, has issued more stringent rules about how diamonds are qualified on its site. Making several changes to its policy regarding items listed in Jewelry, Precious Metals and Loose Beads, sellers are now only permitted to use the word "diamond" in jewelry listings only to describe a natural mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon, crystallized in the isometric system.

According to the new instructions, a diamond offered for sale must also meet the following requirements: a hardness of 10, specific gravity of approximately 3.52 and a refractive index of 2.42. Sellers listing any laboratory-grown stone and using the word diamond must now precede or follow-up the word diamond with any one of the following eight terms: created, lab-created, man-made, synthetic, manufactured, laboratory-grown, laboratory-created or [manufacturer-name]-created.

Furthermore, sellers of Cubic Zirconium stones can only use the word "diamond" if it word is immediately preceded or followed by the words simulated or imitation, spelled out in full.

Date: 2007-08-19 Time: 12.25 PM


» British royal family changes jewelers
Source: AFNS

The British royal family has changed official jewelers, dropping Garrad after 164 years and switching to Harry Collins, a small, family-run antiques and modern jewelry firm based on the fringes of London.

Garrad, whose services were first retained by Queen Victoria in 1843, went bankrupt last year and was bought by a U.S. billionaire who has a supermarket fortune. Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth II felt that Garrad’s use of pop star Christina Aguilera as “brand ambassador” and of designs by Jade Jagger, the daughter of pop star Mick Jagger, could be embarrassing to the royal family. However, an official statement from the royals said that there was no problem with Garrad.

Collins will now have the responsibility of going to Buckingham Palace at least once each week to look after the British Crown Jewels and the queen’s personal jewelry collection.

Date: 2007-08-18 Time: 09.56 AM


» Petra Diamonds finishes buying Koffiefontein Mine in South Africa
Source: AFNS

Petra Diamonds Limited said it has completed the acquisition of the Koffiefontein Mine in South Africa from De Beers Consolidated Mines, the South African arm of the De Beers Group, which sold it because it was not profitable. The cost was R81.9 million ($11.9 million), of which R80 million ($11.6 million) consists of assumption of De Beers debt, and the remainder is being paid in cash.

Petra said it can now begin selling Koffiefontein diamonds. The company said that it has recovered 16,700 carats so far during plant testing, “including one exceptional high quality stone of 60.25 carats and a further 35 stones larger than 10 carats each. The company will auction off these diamonds soon.

Petra has also accumulated a substantial stockpile of ore since it began care and maintenance activities of the cave at Koffiefontein in July 2006, which, it estimates, includes at least a further 30,000 carats of stones. In the future, Petra expects annual sales from Koffiefontein of around 95,000 carats, yielding revenues of approximately $20 million.

This will add approximately $14 million to company revenue in the fiscal year ending June 2008, due to Petra’s 70 percent stake in the mine. The company’s “black economic empowerment” partners, a requirement under South African law, hold the remaining 30 percent stake in the mine.

Date: 2007-08-17 Time: 12.25 PM


» Stornoway and Shear buy out BHP Billiton interest in diamond project
Source: AFNS

Stornoway Diamond Corporation and Shear Minerals Ltd. announced that they have acquired all of BHP Billiton’s interest in the Churchill Diamond Project in Nunavut, in Canada’s far north.

Stornoway and Shear each acquired 50 percent of BHP Billton’s 12.5 percent interest for Can. $4 million (U.S.$3.82 million) each, by paying Can. $1.25 million (U.S.$1.19 million) cash and issuing stock worth Can. $2.75 million (U.S.$2.63 million).

The Churchill Diamond Project includes mineral rights to more than 2 million acres located near the communities of Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, where there are four “significantly diamond bearing, vertically emplaced kimberlite dykes up to 4 meters in width that have returned sampling grades up to 2.04 carats per ton,” the partners said.

Stornoway Diamond Corporation says it has been involved in the discovery of more than 150 kimberlites in six Canadian diamond districts. It is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Shear is based in Edmonton, Alberta.

Date: 2007-08-16 Time: 09.56 AM


» Gem Diamonds offers $264 million for Kimberley Diamond Co.
Source: AFNS

Gem Diamonds Limited said it has offered Aus. $300 million (U.S.$264 million) in cash and stock for Australia’s Kimberley Diamond Company NL, owner of the Ellendale Mine in Western Australia. As part of the deal, Gem Diamonds is providing Kimberley Diamond with a short-term loan of Aus. $10 million (U.S.$8.8 million).

Gem Diamonds is a diamond mining company that owns one producing kimberlite mine—the Letseng Mine in Lesotho—and one producing alluvial mine, the Cempaka Mine in Indonesia. The company also has a kimberlite development project in Botswana, four development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), one in the Central African Republic and an option to develop the Chiri kimberlite concession in Angola.

Gem Diamonds focuses on higher value diamonds. The firm had an IPO on the London Stock Exchange in February 2007, raising more than $600 million (U.S.) net to fund development of existing assets and pursue acquisitions.

Kimberley is an independent diamond producer listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. It owns the Ellendale Mine, which is 2,000 km north of Perth in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, and produces predominantly gem and near-gem quality diamonds, including some fancy yellow stones.

During the first half of 2007, the Ellendale Project continued its production ramp-up, following five years of infrastructure and mining development amounting to a total investment of approximately Aus. $150 million (U.S.$132 million). From the start of mining in mid-2002 through the end of fiscal 2007, the company processed more than 11 million tonnes of ore at Ellendale, resulting in the recovery of more than 700,000 carats and generating sales revenue of Aus. $165 million (U.S.$145 million).

Date: 2007-08-15 Time: 12.25 PM


» Record production reported at Diavik
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto reported record production at the Diavik Mine in the Northwest Territories in the second quarter, with its 60 percent share of the rough diamonds mined there coming to 1.975 million carats. This was a 21 percent increase compared with the second quarter of 2006 and a 27 percent increase from the first quarter of this year. In the first half of the year, Rio Tinto’s share of Diavik production was 3.526 million carats, up 30 percent from the first half of 2006.

The good results at Diavik, a joint venture with Harry Winston Diamonds (Aber Diamond Corp.), was due to “strong throughput and continued higher grades,” the company said.

At Rio Tinto’s wholly owned Argyle Mine in Western Australia, production “remained constrained due to continued low feed grade associated with current mining locations,” the company said. “Ongoing variability in production levels can be expected as the mine reaches the end of the open-pit life and transitions to an underground operation.”

Therefore, production at Argyle totaled 4.414 million carats in the second quarter, down 41 percent from the corresponding period of last year but up 27 percent from the first quarter of this year. In the first half of the year, production at Argyle totaled 7.884 million carats, down 38 percent from the first half of 2006.

Date: 2007-08-14 Time: 09.56 AM


» Minister expresses disappointment over comment about beneficiation
Source: AFNS

Buyelwa Sonjica, South Africa’s Minister of Minerals and Energy, has publicly expressed her disappointment over comments made by Jonathan Oppenheimer at the Gordon Institute of Business, which she felt were critical about her government’s policy of beneficiation.

Oppenheimer said that subsidies would be necessary to assist local manufacturers, who have polishing costs around $70-$100 per carat, if they are going to be able to compete with India, where he said polishing costs are $6-$8 per carat.

In response, Sonjica said she was "disappointed" by Oppenheimer's comments, especially since De Beers had previously supported the government policy of beneficiation. "One moment De Beers commits to beneficiation in this country. Next moment they are sending this message," she said, in a statement released by her office.

But Nicola Wilson, a De Beers spokesperson, said that Oppenheimer was committed to aiding the local community, and references to beneficiation were only a small part of his talk at the Gordon Institute of Business. "De Beers is fully supportive and Jonathan is fully supportive of local benefication," she stated.

Date: 2007-08-13 Time: 16.30 PM


» Chinese diamond trade double in first half of 2007
Source: AFNS

The trade in diamonds, including imports and exports, through the Shanghai Diamond Exchange increased by 119.5 percent to $443 million during the first half of 2007, when compared to the same period a year before.

According to a report released by the bourse, diamond imported or exported under general trade equaled $419 million, 115.7 percent more than the amount reported for the corresponding six month period a year before, while diamonds traded as bonded goods rose by 215.9 percent to $24.54 million.

The Shanghai Diamond Exchange is the only channel through which the general exports and imports of diamonds can be managed on the Chinese mainland.

Date: 2007-08-12 Time: 08.45 AM


» Michielsen introduces new ‘Centenaire’ diamond cut
Source: AFNS

Antwerp-based diamond company Michielsen Manufacturing & Co. has come out with a new diamond cut, dubbed the “Centenaire.”

Designed by Ludo Michielsen, the new cut has 96 facets plus another four on the table, far more than a standard round brilliant cut. The diamond manufacturer claims that this makes the Centenaire cut appear larger than it is, reflects colors more interestingly and even hides inclusions.

The new cut is available in diamonds weighing 0.3 carats and up. Cententaire-cut stones come with certificates from the International Gemological Institute.

Date: 2007-08-11 Time: 13.11 PM


» Kimberley Process participants’ rough statistics for 2006 released
Source: AFNS

The Kimberley Process authorities have released figures relating to rough diamond production and trade, by volume and value, as reported by Kimberley Process participants in 2006.

In a statement released by the Kimberley Process Chairman Karel Kovanda, of the European Commission, he said:”This is a welcome advance in the KP, demonstrating participant countries' willingness to open up statistics for scrutiny and analysis, helping to ensure that there is no room for any conflict diamonds in the legitimate KP-certified diamond trade."

“One of our priorities as Chair is to enhance the accuracy and transparency of Kimberley Process statistics. We are proud of what the Kimberley Process has achieved, bringing together governments, industry and civil society in a partnership which has ensured that the vast majority of diamond production is now conflict-free, and are committed to delivering further improvements in the areas identified by members last year.” Kovanda stated.

Date: 2007-08-10 Time: 17.19 PM


» AWDC to support youth basketball tourney
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has announced that it will support “Basket loves Kids,” a youth basketball initiative of the Antwerp Giants, the city’s professional basketball team. The program aims to bring together youngsters from different cultural heritage and social strata in a series of street basketball games and to facilitate their integration in the Antwerp community.

To support the project, the AWDC, with the support of the Antwerp diamond community, will sponsor the pre-premiere screening of the movie “Gandhi, My Father,” a film by Indian director and actor Feroz Khan and produced by Anil Kapoor Films Company. At his occasion, the director and leading actors will be in Antwerp to promote the movie, which will be released in the Belgian movie theatres end 2007.

The "Basket loves Kids" day will take place on September 23, with neighborhood games organized on Antwerp’s main shopping axis ‘Meir’. It will be followed by a massive event in the Lotto Arena, Antwerp's principal basketball stadium.

“AWDC's motivation to sponsor the movie's launch is not surprising. The Scheldt city's diamond community hosts various cultural and ethnical groups, and the Indian population is one of the pillars of Antwerp's diamond business”, states Philip Claes, spokesman of AWDC.

The pre-premiere screening of “Gandhi, My Father” will be on August 29 at Metropolis Antwerpen, starting at 7:00 P.M. The event will be attended by politicians, representatives of the Belgian diamond industry, movie and sports personalities, including Belgian ex-basketball player and godfather of the ‘Basket loves Kids’ initiative, Pieter Loridon.

Date: 2007-08-09 Time: 10.23 AM


» Diamond ice cream cone for sale—cost, $1 million
Source: AFNS

To keep cool this summer, the possessor of a cool million dollars might want to consider buying a diamond-studded piece of jewelry shaped like an ice cream cone.

The item contains more than 630 diamonds with a total weight of approximately 150 carats. The cone is made of 18k unpolished gold, with 87 square-cut diamonds and a fancy yellow 5.63 carat diamond on it, while the scoop is made of white gold topped with enameled gold cherries.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream of Pittsburgh is selling the cone to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Date: 2007-08-08 Time: 15.01 PM


» Jwaneng Mine profit margin more than 80 percent
Source: AFNS

The profit margin on the Jwaneng Mine, one of the four Debswana mines in Botswana, is more than 80 percent, according to General Manager Balisi Bonyongo. The mine is expected to produce 13 million to 14 million carats of diamonds a year from open pit operations until 2022, after which an underground mine is expected to continue producing at the site for 20 to 30 more years.

The mine is currently completing a study of the ore body to found at depth of 400 to 1,000 meters, and has received bids to dig an exploration shaft 1.2 km northwest of the open pit, where three kimberlite pipes are currently being exploited. New treatment plants are planned for Jwaneng and another of the Debswana mines, Orapa, as part of an investment plan in which Debswana plans to spend 10 billion to 15 billion pula ($1.63 billion to $2.45 billion) over the next 10 years, Bonyongo said.

Debswana, which is a 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswanan government, is responsible for one-third of the country’s GDP, 85 percent of its foreign exchange earnings and half of government income. Despite the fact that its carat output is lower than Orapa’s, Jwaneng is responsible for as much as 70 percent of Debswana’s earnings, due to the higher value of the stones mined there. The only cloud in the mine’s sky is a tire shortage that is hurting production and is expected to last another two to three years.

Jwaneng employs 2,300 of Debswana’s total workforce of 6,500. The mine is making 10 million pula ($1.63 million) in social contributions this year. The mine’s hospital serves 30,000 employees and local residents each year, at an annual cost of 40 million pula ($6.5 million). The mine also helps sponsor a 19,000 hectare game park that protects 1,700 animals, including endangered cheetahs.

Date: 2007-08-07 Time: 07.30AM


» WFDB President announces appointment of Michael Vaughan as Executive Director
Source: AFNS

Ernest Blom, the President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, has today announced the appointment of Michael Vaughan as the WFDB’s first ever full-time Executive Director.

Vaughan currently serves as Secretary General of the WFDB, having first been elected to the post at the 30th World Diamond Congress in London in 2002. He will continue to serve in that position, while at the same time fulfilling his duties as Executive Director.

The decision to appoint a professional Executive Director was taken by the WFDB leadership at the Presidents Meeting in Amsterdam in June. There it was resolved to upgrade both the operation and administrative infrastructure of the organisation, so that it would be better equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century business environment, in which the WFDB will provide an expanded range of services directly to WFDB bourse members.

Born in London, Vaughan moved to Belgium in 1981. There he became a member of the Antwerpsche Diamantkring cvba, the world’s leading rough diamond bourse. In 1995 he was elected to his bourse’s board of directors. Since 2003, he has served as an Executive Member of the Antwerpsche Diamantkring’s board. From 1997 to 2005, Vaughan was a member of the Marketing and Public Relations Committee of the HRD (now Antwerp World Diamond Centre). He also was a member of the ad-hoc task force created by the HRD to conduct negotiations with the European Community and Belgian Government. The Committee’s task was to deliver recommendations on the ‘European Regulation on the Control of Conflict Diamonds’.

“I am most honoured to have been offered the position of Executive Director, and thrilled at the challenge which awaits me,” Vaughan said. “The WFDB stands on the threshold of a new era, as it strives to project its presence in the industry in order to promote the interests of the members of its affiliated bourses. The marketplace requires a diamond trade that is both ethical and accountable for its actions, and the WFDB has the reputation and the legal infrastructure to guarantee just that. From an organisational and operational standpoint this requires us to expand our infrastructure most significantly, and for me that will be the first task of business.”

Date: 2007-08-06 Time: 10.00 AM


» BHP Billiton names new diamond group executive
Source: AFNS

BHP Billton has appointed Alberto Calderon executive and chief commercial officer of its diamonds and specialty products consumer sector group. He previously served as the group’s president.

Calderon’s promotion is a part of a senior management reshuffle following the appointment of Marius Kloppers as CEO. Kloppers formally assumes this position on October 1.

BHP Billiton is a major producer of rough diamonds. The company has an 80 percent stake in the Ekati Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It is also active in Angola and other African countries.

Date: 2007-08-05 Time: 09.15AM


» Chikane named CEO of South Africa’s State Diamond Trader
Source: AFNS

South Africa’s new State Diamond Trader, which has been established under government-backed legislation, will have as its CEO Abbey Chikane, formerly chairman of the South African Diamond Board. A spokesperson for the country’s Department of Minerals and Energy confirmed the appointment.

The State Diamond Trader is replacing the Diamond Board, which had different functions. The new body has the right of first refusal on rough stones mined in South Africa, which it is supposed to buy to provide the domestic diamond polishing industry with a steady source of supply.

Chikane is vice president of Gemini Consulting and a founder of the Sub-Saharan Group, which engages in the diamond trade among other businesses. Beginning in 2001, he served as the first president of the Kimberley Process, the international organization set up to suppress the trade in conflict diamonds. Chikane has held other official industry positions as well.

Date: 2007-08-04 Time: 07.32AM


» Rapaport proposes ‘fair trade’ jewelry
Source: AFNS

Martin Rapaport has proposed starting a line of “fair trade” jewelry that consumers could be assured contains ethically sourced diamonds and is made by workers who are fairly treated and paid.

In a speech in Johannesburg, Rapaport said consumers would be willing to pay a premium for such jewelry, which could be made in developing countries like South Africa with the cooperation of professional jewelers. Similar efforts have failed in the past because they were run by governments rather than privately held business, he said. If done right, however, fair trade jewelry could ultimately make up 10 percent of the world’s $60 billion market for jewelry, he said. The term “fair trade” itself is trademarked and would not necessarily be used, he said.

Rapaport also said that he is interested in starting an organization that could help small South African diamond polishing companies reach markets that would buy their goods. The lack of marketing networks for such companies is one factor blocking the development of the industry that the South African government is trying so hard to foster through its beneficiation program, which requires diamond mining firms to offer a supply to domestic cutters, said Louis Selekane, CEO of the South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator.

Date: 2007-08-03 Time: 07.30AM


» Textile manufacturers lure away Surat diamond polishers
Source: AFNS

The diamond industry in Surat, the center of the Indian diamond polishing industry, faces a new threat, as the local textile industry has lured away some 25 to 30 percent of its workforce in recent months, according to a news report.

Together with moves by African countries to impose tariffs on rough diamond exports to India so as to foster domestic diamond polishing industries, a proposed 4 percent tariff on Indian jewelry exports to the United States and the strengthening of the rupee against the U.S. dollar, the loss of skilled diamond workers could cut the industry’s profitability this year, according to Surat diamond dealer Pravin Nanavaty, who is an official of the trade association Gujarat Hira Bourse.

The diamond workers are leaving because the textile industry can offer them higher wages, according to Devkishan Maghnani, acting president of the Federation of Surat Textiles Traders Association and the Surat Textile Manufacturers Consortium. The textile industry in turn is being pressured by low-wage Chinese competition.

Date: 2007-08-02 Time: 12.25 PM


» South Korea to lift consumption tax on jewelry
Source: AFNS

Exporting to the potentially massive South Korean diamond jewelry market may be getting significantly easier, following news that the country’s government will eliminate a special consumption tax on high-priced jewelry as early as next year.

According to a statement release by the by South Korean Ministry of Finance and Economy, a 20 percent special consumption tax on jewelry priced over 2 million won ($2,180 U.S. dollars) will be eliminated. “The jewelry industry could create both jobs and high-value- added products,” the ministry said in its statement.

To further boost the industry, the South Korean government plans to offer loans with an annual interest rate of 4.75 percent to support gemstone purchases. It also will select a local city that will be designated as the Center for Jewelry Industry Development.

Date: 2007-08-01 Time: 09.56 AM


» Alrosa wins appeal against order to stop selling to De Beers
Source: AFNS

Alrosa, the Russian government-controlled monopoly diamond producer, won an appeal against the European Commission’s order that it stop selling rough diamonds to De Beers after the end of 2008 for antitrust reasons. The Court of First Instance annulled the decision, and the European Commission said it would study the ruling closely.

The decision had restricted Alrosa to selling De Beers no more than $600 million worth of stones this year and no more than $400 million next year, before the final cutoff, which the appeals court said was too draconian a ruling.

De Beers had not appealed the European Commission’s ruling, which came just as it was settling a decades-old antitrust lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice for $10 million and was settling a class-action civil lawsuit in the United States as well.

Alrosa had been selling De Beers approximately $800 million worth of rough stones a year, about 13 percent of De Beers’ total sales, and analysts had estimated that the profit margin was less than 10 percent. However, Alrosa’s win on appeal is likely to boost both companies.

Date: 2007-07-31 Time: 12.25 PM


» DTC organizing separate sales, marketing units
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company (DTC) is organizing separate sales and marketing units, Managing Director Varda Shine told a seminar held for sightholders in London July 11. The move will help the DTC focus clearly on its core distribution and marketing activities, the company said.

Shine noted that the move comes amidst the new sightholder selection process for the 2008-2011 contracts and the setting up of Namibia DTC and DTC Botswana, the latter of which is to take over the DTC’s sorting and aggregation work, now done in the United Kingdom.

The marketing unit will focus on developing and marketing concepts like Trilogy and Journey Diamond Jewelry and the Forevermark program, as well as bolstering consumer confidence in diamonds.

At the same time, the DTC will work to keep up an optimum sustainable price for producers’ diamonds, offer a secure and sustainable marketing channel, and help out with “beneficiating” rough diamonds to the domestic polishing and jewelry industries in the producer countries. The company will also provide sightholders with reliable supplies of rough, along with know-how, technology and marketing expertise.

Date: 2007-07-30 Time: 09.56 AM


» HRD Lab Link Launched in Israel
Source: AFNS

HRD Antwerp NV took a significant step in its new global outreach programme on Tuesday, July 17, with the official launch in Israel of HRD Lab Link. The new service will provide members of the Israeli diamond centre direct access to the HRD Diamond Lab, one of the world’s most respected diamond grading institutions, with diamonds picked up at the clients’ office in Ramat Gan, and returned to the offices after grading in Antwerp with their certificates.

The launch took place at a reception and presentation held at the Sheraton City Tower Hotel, adjacent to the Israel Diamond Exchange complex in Tel Aviv. The event was attended by members of the Israeli diamond, gemstone and jewellery community, and included key officials from the centre’s leading industry organisations. Heading the Belgian delegation was Georges Brys, the newly appointed general manager of HRD Antwerp NV. He was accompanied by Freddy Hanard, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), Dirk Dullaert, HRD Antwerp NV’s Chief Officer Commercial Operations, and Grietje Renders, HRD Antwerp NV Account Manager

The HRD Lab Link pick up certification service, which is logistically supported in Israel by D2D Val Express and in Belgium by G4S, will offer the complete range of services offered by the HRD Diamond lab in Antwerp, including full diamond certificates, fancy colour diamond certificates, laser inscriptions with the HRD Certificate ID number inscribed on the girdle; and sealing, which guarantees the association between the stone and the certificate. The service is also tailored for smaller and medium sized companies that send out parcels of limited size and even single stones.

In his address to the gathering, Brys noted that Israel was a natural first step in what will develop into a global outreach service, ultimately providing services internationally that to date were only directly available in Antwerp. "Once we have demonstrated that the concept works effectively, we will bringing other centres on board, with India being a high priority.”

Date: 2007-07-29 Time: 16.30 PM


» Diamond nail polish goes on offer
Source: AFNS

Nail polish is the latest luxury consumer item to be infused by entrepreneurs with nature’s hardest substance, diamonds. If that does not stop one biting ones nails, then nothing most probably will.

Celebrity British “nail technician” Leighton Denny is offering a range of nail varnishes containing actual diamond particles, such as “Diamond Ice,” which retails for £12 ($24).

Another product, “the diamond, sapphire and ruby encapsulization,” features a nail bath, a polish and 9 carats of inlaid gems.

Date: 2007-07-28 Time: 09.15AM


» Debswana using Zeppelin to prospect for kimberlite
Source: AFNS

Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswanan government, has been using a zeppelin to prospect for kimberlites since late 2005, and is thought to have found at least one kimberlite by this method. The airship is leased from Bell Geospace, and an additional one-year contract is expected to be signed next April. The cost of operating the Zeppelin is R60 million ($8.6 million) a year.

The Zeppelin is useful because the sensitive equipment needed to detect kimberlites from the air cannot function amid the vibrations caused by helicopter or airplane motors. It will be used in South Africa as well as Botswana.

The Zeppelin is just one part of Debswana’s plans for the next 10 years, which call for an investment of R11 billion ($1.58 billion) to expand its four existing diamond mines, Letlhakane, Damtshaa, Orapa and Jwaneng. The money will also go to build two new processing plants at the latter two mines, and dig a 1 km deep exploration shaft at Jwaneng starting in 2009 as a first step to turning it into a completely underground mine when the open pit is exhausted by 2022. In the meantime, an eighth “cut,” the last at the open pit, is to begin by 2011 so as to extract the maximum benefit from its three closely bunched kimberlites.

Date: 2007-07-27 Time: 07.32AM


» Canadian and South African diamond explorers merge
Source: AFNS

Two diamond prospecting firms, Canada-based BRC Diamond Corporation and Johannesburg-based Diamond Core Resources Limited, have announced a merger, which is being carried out as an all-stock transaction.

The combined entity will be named BRC DiamondCore Ltd. and will have listings on both the Toronto and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges, with current BRC and Diamond Core shareholders holding approximately 53 and 47 percent of the merged firm, respectively.

The merged company will have land and infrastructure in “proven” diamond-producing regions of South Africa and “prospective” diamond-producing regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). It will also have several advanced alluvial exploration projects with recently commissioned bulk sampling plants, such as Silverstreams on the northern bank of the Orange River in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province; Uitdraai on the river’s southern bank; De Kalk, near the site of South Africa’s first diamond discovery in 1866; and along the Kwango River in Congo-Kinshasa. Kimberlite bulk sampling projects include Paardeberg East and Skeyfontein in South Africa, and Tshikapa and Lubao in Congo-Kinshasa.

The merged company will have $17 million in cash on hand, enough for one year of operations, according to Diamond Core CEO Theo Botoulas. BRC Diamond’s market value is currently almost $109 million while Diamond Core’s is about $76 million.

Date: 2007-07-26 Time: 07.30AM


» Stock analysts say Aber’s future brighter than Tahera’s
Source: AFNS

Two stock analysts with the Canadian firm Scotia Capital said that while the diamond industry in general has a bright future thanks to rising demand for jewelry, a shortage of high-quality rough stones and rising diamond prices, they would recommend buying stock in Aber Diamond Corp. rather than Tahera Diamond Corp. at present.

Aber, which is changing its name to Harry Winston to match its wholly owned fine jewelry subsidiary, is the 40 percent owner of the Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories. Scotia gold and precious minerals analysts Trevor Turnbull and David Christie, the latter also a professional geologist, said the company is likely to benefit from the name change despite some potential ambiguity about whether it is primarily a mining firm or a jewelry company. Moreover, it could partner with De Beers Canada on the latter’s three diamond projects, they said.

Tahera, on the other hand, had a difficult startup year and must prove that it can successfully operate its Jericho mine in the Nunavut territory, the analysts said.

Date: 2007-07-25 Time: 12.25 PM


» Botswana, Angola talking about diamond mining cooperation
Source: AFNS

Botswana and Angola are talking about cooperating on diamond mining. Patrick Balopi, speaker of the Botswana parliament, told Angolan Minister of Geology and Mining Manuel Africano that the two countries should cooperate, and that Botswana is interested in learning how Angola has used diamonds to benefit its people.

Africano replied that his country is cooperating with South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and is talking with Mozambique and Namibia.

Balopi paid a visit to Angolan state-owned diamond mining firm Endiama and its affiliate, Sodiam.

Date: 2007-07-24 Time: 09.56 AM


» Kimberley Diamond says 1.6 million carats at Ellendale
Source: AFNS

Australia’s Kimberley Diamond Company NL said that there are 1.6 million carats of rough diamonds at its Ellendale 9 Project in Western Australia, 41 percent more than the company had estimated as of June 30, 2006. The new estimate is that there are 29.3 million tonnes of fragmental lamproite ore with a grade of 5.4 cpht (carats per hundred tonnes). The increase holds even allowing for mining depletion over the past 12 months.

Much of the increased resource estimate comes from the eastern lobe of Ellendale Pipe 9, which has the highest value diamonds at the mine, with sales values of $370 (U.S.) per carat. The company said it is planning a diamond core drilling program, initially focusing on that lobe. Chairman Miles Kennedy said the drilling may result in further increases to the estimated resource base at the mine.

“Since the commencement of mining at Ellendale 9 in mid-2002, the operation has consistently delivered significantly higher, actual mined tonnages than predicted by the model—an overcall of approximately 17 percent over the life-of-mine to date,” the company said. “In the last three months, this variance has increased to 40 percent.”

Date: 2007-07-23 Time: 12.25 PM


» Ontario announces details of diamond royalty
Source: AFNS

The Canadian province of Ontario has finalized the royalties it intends to impose on rough diamonds mined within its jurisdiction, ranging from 4 percent up to a maximum of 10.4 percent, depending on the mine’s net profits and allowing for deductions. The top rate applies to diamond companies making a net profit of more than Can. $281 million (U.S.$268 million) a year.

“This new system acknowledges the unique challenges associated with mining in Northern Ontario,” Rick Bartolucci, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, said. “The additional deductions provided in the diamond royalty will encourage the long-term sustainability and global competitiveness of diamond production in Ontario, and support investments in diamond mining communities—in particular, northern and aboriginal communities.”

The deductions the province will allow include 100 percent of qualifying expenditures under agreements with aboriginal communities or municipalities; 100 percent of qualifying donations in Ontario of a charitable, educational or benevolent nature; and 15 percent of the cost of establishing and operating a new diamond mine in Ontario.

The latter allowance will be in addition to the allowable deductions for such expenses already available under the royalty, and limited to a maximum 20 percent of annual net profits. Qualifying expenses for this allowance will include salaries and wages, training costs, infrastructure investments, exploration, research and development, charitable donations and payments to municipalities or aboriginal communities.

Ontario’s first diamond mine will be the Victor Project, a De Beers Canada project in the James Bay lowlands of the northern part of the province. It is scheduled to start production in the middle of 2008.

Date: 2007-07-22 Time: 09.56 AM


» CIBJO president meets with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon
Source: AFNS

A delegation headed by CIBJO president Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri has met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and discussed the global jewelry industry's efforts to help eradicate poverty and increase awareness of environmental issues, as well as the organization's endeavor to play a pivotal role in improving the livelihoods of those involved in the jewelry production pipeline, in particular in developing countries.

The meeting with Ban Ki Moon took place earlier this month in Geneva where the CIBJO delegation attended the 2007 session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which serves as the central UN forum for discussing international economic and social issues and for formulating policy recommendations. The session's meetings are being held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, July 2 to 27.

The UN Secretary General was accompanied to the meeting by Dr. Hanifa Mezoui, chief of the NGO Section at ECOSOC. The CIBJO delegation consisted of Dr. Cavalieri; Richard Peplow, a member of the CIBJO's Presidential Council; Marc-Alain Christen, Chief Financial Officer of CIBJO; Piero Blondi, Vice President of the Italian Trade Association, who is also a member of CIBJO Sector II; Pierre Strauss, UN liaison to CIBJO, and Mila Bonini, CIBJO Director,

Ban Ki Moon, who had been briefed by Dr. Cavalieri on CIBJO's recent congress in South Africa, commended the world jewellery confederation on its exemplary role in creating an innovative partnership between the jewellery industry and the UN principles.

"We were all inspired by his interest and his resolve to help bring the principles of the United Nations to our industry," Cavalieri said. "The UN Secretary General expressed his support of CIBJO's effort in this regard, and stressed the need to employ and to strengthen all the instruments required to assure the international community that diamonds and other jewellery products are assets of peace.”

Date: 2007-07-21 Time: 12.25 PM


» Belgian exports of rough and polished diamonds rise sharply in June
Source: AFNS

Exports of both rough and polished diamonds from Belgium rose sharply in June, both in terms of value and volume. This capped out a first half to 2007, in which polished diamond exports rose 9.06 percent in U.S. dollar terms, when compared to the first half of 2006, and rough diamond exports rose by 18.5 percent.

According to data provided by the Diamond Office at the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC), Belgium’s exports in June in terms of value equaled $968.4 million, 18.5 percent more than the $817.0 million reported for the same month a year earlier. In terms of volume, 818,446 carats were exported, 11.0 percent more than the 737,579 carats in June 2006.

An even more significant rise was reported by the rough diamond sector, which saw its exports in June increasing to $1.09 billion, 41.6 percent more than the $770.6 million registered a year before. By volume13.5 million carats were exported, 27.2 percent more than the 10.7 million carats exported during the same month a year earlier.

Polished diamond imports were also up in June, although not at the same rate as polished diamond exports. This would imply that members of the Belgian trade were able to draw down on stock. Some 882,054 carats worth $977.6 million were imported into Belgium, respectively 5.8 percent and 9.7 percent more than the 833,548 carats worth $890.8 million in June 2006.

However rough diamond imports rose by a more modest 6.52 percent in value to $812.4 million in June, from $762.7 million during the corresponding month in year before, while in terms of volume a 16.2 percent fall occurred, falling from 11.4 million carats in June 2006 to 9.6 million carats in June 2007.

Belgium’s largest export market saw a 12.3 percent increase in its intake of polished goods from Belgium, while in terms of carats a 6.3 percent decrease was registered. This certainly could have been influenced by the massive JCK Show in Las Vegas, where strong demand for larger, more expensive goods was reported and somewhat sluggish demand for smaller goods.

Climbing fast up the export tables was India, which stood in ninth place in June. Its imports of Belgian polished goods rose a whopping 384.7 percent in terms of volume and 418.2 percent in terms of volume, when compared to its imports in June 2006.

The Belgian diamond sector closed out the first half with polished diamond exports worth $5.28 billion and rough diamond exports worth $5.67 billion. Both the polished and rough diamond sectors remained in the black, with polished imports worth $4.99 billion reported and rough imports worth $5.02 billion during the first six months of 2007.

Date: 2007-07-20 Time: 09.56 AM


» Rival bids for ABM AMRO
Source: AFNS

The Netherlands-based ABN AMRO Bank, a major financier of the international diamond and jewelry trade, now has two competing bidders to buy it up—the U.K.-based Barclays Bank and a consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

As of May, ABN AMRO was valued at about $76 billion and Barclays Bank was valued at about $86 billion. The Royal Bank of Scotland group also includes Fortis and Santander, a consortium of European banks.

The Dutch market regulator Autoriteit Financiële Markten has given both competitors until July 23 to finalize their bids. All sides are waiting for a decision by the Dutch Supreme Court on whether ABN AMRO’s shareholders would have to approve the sale of the bank’s U.S. subsidiary LaSalle to Bank of America, which will be required as part of ABN AMRO’s merger with a larger bank.

Earlier reports indicated that if Barclays wins out, the merged bank will be headquartered in Amsterdam, and the Dutch Central Bank will regulate it, but the holding company and board of directors will be British. ABM AMRO would nominate the first chairman and Barclays the first CEO. ABM AMRO has said it is interested in expanding into Asia, Italy and Brazil, and Barclays is said to be particularly interested in ABM AMRO’s Asian and other foreign holdings.

Date: 2007-07-19 Time: 08.45 AM


» Cat accused of swallowing $18,000 diamond
Source: AFNS

British actress Dora Bryan said her cat must have swallowed a £9000 ($18,000) diamond missing from her ring.

According to Bryan, “Kitty Puss” loves to play with her ring, so the animal is likely responsible for the stone’s disappearance from its setting. Unfortunately, the kitty litter was emptied before the owner noticed the stone was missing.

Bryan is currently squabbling with her insurance company, which is refusing to make good the loss.

Date: 2007-07-18 Time: 16.30 PM


» Diamonds at Botswana sample site worth $130 a carat
Source: AFNS

African Diamonds plc announced that the interim value of the diamonds recovered at the AK6 diamond discovery in the Orapa province of Botswana is $130 per carat, at a lower cutoff size of 1 millimeter. These results are from Phase I and partial Phase II drilling, and were reported by De Beers, African Diamonds’ joint venture partner. This compares to a Phase 1 diamond value of $150 per carat reported by De Beers in July 2006.

“The diamonds produced to date from Phase II are generally smaller, due in part to a higher level of diamond breakage, than those in Phase I,” African Diamonds said. “At this time it is not clear whether the breakage occurs in the kimberlite or arises from the exploration techniques used. An investigation in this regard has already commenced. It should be noted that Type II diamonds may be brittle as well as large, so they can be easily broken in the crushing stage of exploration.”

Partial results from a sample trench at AK6 yielded 266 diamonds totaling 70.82 carats from approximately 540 tons of kimberlite, with a lower cutoff size of plus 2 millimeters. A Type II diamond weighing 10.71 carats was one of those recovered, and “breakage analysis” suggests that this diamond, together with two others weighing 2.465 carats and two weighing 8.729 carats, were likely to have originally formed part of a single stone weighing 21.894 carats. Type II diamonds, including the broken large ones, make up 69 percent by weight of the diamonds recovered to the plus 11 sieve class in the processed material from this sample.

Date: 2007-07-17 Time: 11.21AM


» West African Diamonds to produce diamonds in Sierra Leone
Source: AFNS

West African Diamonds plc said it expects to start diamond and gold production at Koidu, Sierra Leone by the end of September, following the recent arrival of a 150 ton per hour gold processing plant and a five ton per hour dense media separation diamond recovery plant.

Initial processing from previous bulk sampling yielded 5,670 diamonds weighing a total of 1,075.49 carats, and worth $198 per carat at a grade of 5.26 carats per hundred tons (cpht). The mobile DMS plant has so far extracted 348 diamonds weighing 40.47 carats from 487 tons of the tailings, implying that the kimberlite pipe sampled has a grade of more than 10 cpht.

Moreover, the company said, diamonds that it produced from samples in 2004 and 2005 were revalued at $228 per carat this June.

West African Diamonds plc (WAD) is a diamond exploration company with operations in Sierra Leone and Guinea, which was spun off from the West African assets of African Diamonds plc.

Date: 2007-07-16 Time: 09.11AM


» Environmental review may delay new De Beers mine
Source: AFNS

De Beers Canada’s planned diamond mine at Gahcho Kué in the Northwest Territories may be further delayed by a new extended environmental impact review imposed by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board.

The board is concerned by the fact that the proposed mine would have to drain Kennady Lake. Its review is expected to be completed in the middle of 2009.

De Beers Canada has two other mines in advanced stages of construction—Snap Lake, also in the Northwest Territories, which is scheduled to open at the end of the third quarter of 2007 and will be the first de Beers diamond mine outside Africa; and the Victor Project in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario, approximately 90 km west of the coastal community of Attawapiskat, which will be the first diamond mine in Ontario.

Date: 2007-07-15 Time: 18.50 PM


» LVMH said to be eyeing Tiffany
Source: AFNS

Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) is interested in acquiring luxury retail jeweler Tiffany, according to media reports.

The reports caused Tiffany shares to jump more than 6 percent on a single trading day, June 25.

LVMH and De Beers have a 50-50 retail diamond jewelry partnership, now called De Beers Diamond Jewellers, that has opened outlets in New York, London and Tokyo, among other cities, and launched an e-commerce website early in June.

Date: 2007-07-14 Time: 09.15 AM


» Diamond analysis facility opens in Saskatoon, Canada
Source: AFNS

The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) announced the opening of a new high-security diamond analysis facility in Saskatoon June 25. To meet growing demand, SRC expanded its existing Geoanalytical Laboratories diamond operations to this new location.

The facility includes a new dense media separation plant with additional processing capacity. The first client scheduled to use this plant is Saskatchewan-based Great Western Diamonds Corp.

The new lab will “offer the diamond industry some much needed additional capacity and options for accelerated delivery of trustworthy quantitative results, so crucial to our prospecting and evaluation efforts,” De Beers Canada Manager of Advanced Exploration Peter Williamson said.

SRC initially expanded its mining support services to include diamonds in the 1980s, after the first Saskatchewan diamond find at Fort à la Corne. Overall mineral exploration in Saskatchewan increased more than tenfold in the past five years, and an additional 15 percent increase is expected this year, according to SRC.

Date: 2007-07-13 Time: 08.45 AM


» EU allows diamond imports from Liberia
Source: AFNS

The European Union has now joined the UN Security Council in lifting its embargo on rough diamonds from Liberia.

The UN Security Council lifted its ban on April 27, following the recommendations of a panel of experts that found that the West African country now has sufficient internal controls in place to regulate the trade. The EU made the lifting of its ban retroactive to that date.

The EU is the current chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which admitted Liberia to its ranks last month. The Kimberley Process was established in response to the outcry over the trade in conflict diamonds from Liberia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere, during the wars that raged in many of Africa’s diamond producing nations in the 1990s.

The man responsible for the trade in conflict diamonds from Liberia and Sierra Leone and the loss of more than 400,000 lives in wars in those two countries, former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, is now standing trial in The Hague on war crimes charges.

Date: 2007-07-12 Time: 09.35AM


» Russia may abolish duty on small rough diamonds
Source: AFNS

The Russian government will consider positively a suggestion by the government-controlled diamond mining monopoly, Alrosa, to abolish the import duty on small rough stones, Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref told the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on June 23.

Gref said that first it would have to be determined where to draw the line between small and large rough diamonds for customs purposes, and added that the Ministry of Finance would have to be consulted.

Alrosa announced that its dividends went up 14 percent in 2006. The company will pay out a total of $86.46 million, or $432 per share. The Russian government currently holds about 48 percent of the shares, but has long been angling for 50 percent plus one share, at the expense of the autonomous Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), where Alrosa’s largest diamond mine is located.

Date: 2007-07-11 Time: 18.50 PM


» IDMA expresses concern about derivatives at President Meeting
Source: AFNS

Meeting at the Presidents Meeting in Amsterdan, June 24-26, the leaders of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) questioned the benefits to prospective investors number of pending diamond investment products and expressed grave concerns regarding the risks to the industry resulting from the anticipated volatility which will be injected into an otherwise reasonably stable marketplace.

In a press release issued after the event, the IDMA Presidents urged that any diamond financial product must incorporate full transparency and remain free from any potential conflicts of interest.

At the meeting, the IDMA presidents unanimously reaffirmed their endorsement of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an initiative of the diamond industry, NGO’s, governments, banks and other interested parties, to improve conditions in the artisinal alluvial diamond mining sectors. The presidents also unanimously approved the appointment of IDMA’s Secretary General, Stephane Fischler, to the newly formed DDI Board of Directors.

In the context of preserving consumer confidence in diamonds, IDMA Presidents secured the involvement of CIBJO President, Gaetano Cavalieri, in establishing guidelines to ensure that all diamond grading laboratories are properly equipped with the technology and expertise necessary to ensure detection and full disclosure of all treatments, simulants, and synthetic diamonds.

IDMA also welcomed the Diamond Manufacturers Association of Canada as a full member. The IDMA presidents invited all new manufacturing centers to submit an application for membership.

In other issues, the IDMA presidents discussed and reviewed the three year report of the Kimberly Process Secretariat and KP compliance. In addition, IDMA president, Jeffrey Fischer, repeated the organization’s support for the WFDB Mark, and reiterated IDMA’s confidence that the bourses will back the Mark with all the power required to ensure its credibility.

Date: 2007-07-10 Time: 17.25 PM


» Diamond derivatives brought under the spotlight in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

The possibility of diamonds being traded as a commodity by the investment community was raised once again in two seminars conducted in Antwerp at the end of June. Both seminars addressed the subject of diamond derivatives, which unlike financial instruments such as stocks and bonds, usually involves a contract rather than an asset. Trading in derivatives involves a promise to convey ownership of the asset, rather than the asset itself.

The first seminar, which took place on June 27 at the Beurs voor Diamanthandel, featured Martin Rapaport. Delivering what he described as a “State of the Diamond Industry” address, he explained that he currently is seeking approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to start the world's first diamond-futures contracts. In his presentation, Rapaport emphasized that diamond stakeholders, especially small to medium size firms, will benefit from the proposal.

"We're going to produce something like a commodities contract for diamonds,” said Rapaport, who added, “We will be pushing pricing transparency to a level it's never been to before.”

Rapaport first plans create a traded cash index for one carat diamonds. He will begin operation with weekly Internet auctions, for individual polished diamonds of between 1 carat and 1.2 carats, end higher end colors, clarities and cut. A chart of prices for the various grades would produce a single futures price, with a cash settlement each month. "It's very much the same way as you have the Dow Jones Industrial Average from individual stocks," he said.

The second seminar took place June 28 at the AWDC headquarters. It included a working panel established by PolishedPrices.com group, which also is investigating the start of a diamond derivatives market, and currently is holding talks with leading operators in the commodities and futures market, such as the London Metal Exchange and ICAP, the interdealer group, the Chicago Board of Trade and Cargill.

PolishedPrices.com’s panel was created in December, following the launch of a discussion paper for diamond derivatives, which it compiled in collaboration with ABN AMRO Bank, ICICI Bank of India and Bank Leumi of Israel. The discussion paper later was presented to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), which is the largest global financial trade association representing participants in the privately negotiated derivatives industry.

Charles Wyndham, founder of PolishedPrices, said that the working panel needs to establish the terms of a derivatives contract, answering questions about its size, certification and the issue of physical delivery or not. He predicted that such contracts would available for purchase within a year. “The first conclusion is that derivatives are absolutely inevitable,'' he stated.

While the possibility of diamonds being used as an investment tool is clearly causing anxiety in the industry, Loet Kniphorst, the global head of ABN AMRO diamond and jewelry group in Antwerp sees a definite opportunity. “The commercial funding being done by banks to [the] diamond industry has doubled in the past five years,” he noted, as quoted by the Financial Times. “The interest of banks [in promoting derivatives] is that it will mitigate some of the risks and will allow our clients to have a more rational behavior.”

Freddy Hanard, CEO of the AWDC, also see diamond derivatives as possibly being advantageous to the industry. "A contract would give dealers with large stocks the chance to limit their risk," he said during a press conference after the June 28 seminar.

Date: 2007-07-09 Time: 10.23 AM


» Alrosa sells 21,000 carats of large stones for $45.2 million
Source: AFNS

At its recent 22nd auction of “special size” diamonds, Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa sold 21,000 carats of large diamonds, raising a total of more than $45.2 million.

The largest stone sold at the auction weighed in at 135.46 carats, and there were 15 other stones weighing more than 50 carats apiece.

In all, 165 parcels of stones were sold to winning bidders chosen from among 62 companies from Russia, Israel, Belgium, India, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Lebanon.

These auctions are restricted to stones weighing 10.8 carats or more apiece. The next one will be held at the end of June.

Date: 2007-07-08 Time: 13.10 PM


» Tanzania establishing mineral offices
Source: AFNS

Tanzania’s government has announced that it plans to set up mineral offices for each of the country’s mining regions, now that government-sponsored geological studies have shown that vast quantities of mineral resources can be exploited.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Minerals William Ngelejato, who announced the plan on June 22, said diamonds and gold are among the minerals to be organized by these offices.

Tanzania is the site of the Mwadui Williamson Mine, a huge diamond mine that is a 75-25 partnership between De Beers and the government. The mine produces mainly lower quality stones.

Date: 2007-07-07 Time: 09.15AM


» South Africa says no income tax break from diamond levy
Source: AFNS

South African diamond mining companies that are subject to the new 5 percent diamond export levy because they are not “beneficiating” enough stones to the domestic polishing industry will not be allowed to write this expense off against their income taxes, South African Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel told the National Assembly.

Some Treasury officials had backed the industry’s call for the tax break, but Manuel said it did not make sense since the levy is supposed to be punitive in nature.

Trevor also said that the reduction in the threshold required for a company to qualify as a large diamond producer was a tightening of requirements, not a concession to the industry. The threshold has been set at R3 billion a year ($420 million), instead of R5 billion ($700 million). Large producers must beneficiate 40 percent of their diamonds to domestic manufacturers, while medium-sized ones must beneficiate 15 percent.

Manuel said that while the reduction of levy to 5 percent from 15 percent would help reduce the incentive to smuggle diamonds out of the country.

Date: 2007-07-06 Time: 07.32AM


» Paz reelected Israel Diamond Exchange president
Source: AFNS

Avi Paz was unanimously elected to a second term as president of the Israel Diamond Exchange at the bourse’s 58th annual general meeting in June. Elections for the bourse’s board of directors took place the following day, with 26 candidates running for 16 seats.

In his annual report, Paz promised to continue his efforts to promote and maintain the Israeli diamond industry’s status as world leader. He noted that during his first term of office, the amount of rough imported into Israel increased significantly.

“During the past two years, we have created a positive climate for foreign companies to invest in Israel,” Paz said. “Just recently, the State Bank of India opened its first branch in the Israel Diamond Exchange complex. It is my hope that other foreign and Israeli banks will follow.”

Paz vowed to fight alongside the Israel Diamond Manufacturers association against De Beers’ decision to close down the Israeli offices of Diamdel, its subsidiary for selling rough to companies too small to be sightholders.

Paz highlighted plans to expand the Israel Diamond Exchange so that additional companies can open businesses within the complex.


Date: 2007-07-05 Time: 07.30AM


» Weak start for Indian diamond industry in new fiscal year
Source: AFNS

India’s diamond industry suffered a weak start to its new fiscal year in April, with net polished diamond exports falling 2.9 percent to $561.32 million, according to the country’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

India’s net rough diamond imports crept up 2 percent to $758.22 million, a disappointment given intensive government and private efforts to diversify the sources of rough the industry can count on.

The news was more positive for the broader Indian gem and jewelry industry, which saw exports rise 10.8 percent to $1.23 billion.

The enormous size of the country’s domestic gem and jewelry market was underscored, as imports rose 16 percent to $1.17 billion. The country also exported $16.99 million of colored gemstones, a 22 percent increase.

Date: 2007-07-04 Time: 12.25 PM


» Cavanagh retires as DTC sales director
Source: AFNS

Des Cavanagh, sales director of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC), will retire at the end of September, DTC Managing Director Varda Shine said. No replacement has yet been announced, but it is expected soon.

Cavanagh has worked for De Beers since 1977, first as a diamond sorter and valuer. By the late 1990s, he had risen to managing director of the Diamdel Group, the arm of De Beers that is responsible for selling rough to companies too small to be DTC sightholders, but is now being downsized.

In 2004, Cavanagh was appointed Executive Director of Purchasing at DTC, and then replaced Shine as sales director when she became managing director in 2005.

Date: 2007-07-03 Time: 09.56 AM


» Bharat Diamond Bourse to open later this year
Source: AFNS

Following years of anticipation and repeated delays, India’s Bharat Diamond Bourse is to open for full-scale operations in October or November, during the important Hindu festival of Diwali, said its President, Anoop Mehta.

The timing is intended to help diamantaires shift their businesses there, he said.

Mehta said that 90 percent of the country’s vast diamond business will operate through the bourse in some way.

The Bharat Diamond Bourse will be in the Bandra-Kurla Complex, a business district in the suburbs of Mumbai (Bombay). More than 30,000 people are expected to pass through it each day.

Date: 2007-07-02 Time: 12.25 PM


» De Beers faces possible strike in South Africa
Source: AFNS

De Beers is facing a possible strike in South Africa due to a wage dispute that would affect De Beers Consolidated Mines.

The company offered a 7 percent wage increase on June 19, but the National Union of Mineworkers says this is insufficient and has filed an official complaint, the first prerequisite to launching a legal strike.

The union is looking for an 11 percent wage hike.

Before any strike can occur, the union and management are required to meet with government mediators.

Date: 2007-07-01 Time: 09.56 AM


» Alrosa president outlines new marketing strategy
Source: AFNS

Alrosa will reduce the number of companies to which it sells rough diamonds, and market 80 percent of its stones to the remaining select list of large firms in deals to be struck in Moscow, company President Sergei Vybornov said.

This could include De Beers, Vybornov said, since even though Alrosa is not supposed to sell any rough to De Beers after the end of 2008 under an antitrust ruling by the European Commission, the EC’s writ does not extend to Moscow. Outside experts doubted Vybornov’s interpretation.

Other prospective major customers for Alrosa’s rough include Smolensk Kristall, the Russian diamond polishing company, and Ruiz Diamonds, owned by Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev.

The remaining 20 percent of Alrosa’s rough would be sold by the company’s sales offices in Israel, Belgium, New York and elsewhere. Alrosa’s largest shareholder is the Russian government.

Date: 2007-06-30 Time: 12.25 PM


» WFDB resolves to upgrade federation’s operation and infrastructure
Source: AFNS

Leaders of the 26 diamond exchanges that are members of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses have wrapped up their meeting at the 2007 Presidents Meeting in Amsterdam, June 24-26, for the biennial assembly held between World Diamond Congresses.
The meeting, which coincided with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the WFDB in 1947, resolved to upgrade both the operation and administrative infrastructure of the organisation, so that it is better equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century business environment, in which it provides an expanded range of services directly to WFDB bourse members.

Specifically, it was decided that for the first time the WFDB would employ a full time chief executive, who will operate out of the WFDB Secretary General’s Office in Antwerp, Belgium. The President’s Meeting also decided that the Secretary General’s Office also will be expanded as well, and new revenue streams developed in order to finance the enlarged operation.

“I believe that we currently are standing at a threshold, and we are left essentially with two choices,” said WFDB President Ernest Blom, addressing the WFDB presidents. “The first is to cross over and expand the role of the WFDB so that it remains relevant and is able to serve the interests of the bourses and bourse members in the 21st century. The second is stay where we are, but over time lose our relevance and our ability to influence events in our business.”

“Clearly our intention should be to move forward, but to do so we will need to make some significant decisions about the way in which we are structured, how we operate and how we are financed,” the WFDB President continued.

The WFDB presidents also approved the launch of the WFDB Mark Associate Member programme, by which the right to display a special WFDB Mark will be extended to other participants in the diamond and jewellery industries, on condition that they commit themselves to upholding the principles of the WFCOP.

The Presidents Meeting was formally opened on June 25 by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Marius (Job) Cohen, who described to the assembled crowd the central role played by the diamond business in the development and history of his city.

In his address to the opening ceremony, Blom paid tribute to the host of the Presidents Meeting, the Vereniging Beurs voor den Diamanthandel, and its president Ed Blik. “This city lays claim to being the home of the first modern diamond exchange, and the foundations that were laid here gave birth to a community that is today 26 bourses strong, with four more applicants currently being processed. What was begun in Amsterdam more than 120 years ago resonates in this hall today.

Among the bourses in the process for applying for WFDB membership are Australia, and three other diamond exchanges. A delegation from a bourse in Panama attended the meeting.

The General Assembly of the WFDB will meet next in May 2008 at the World Diamond Congress in Shanghai, China. A delegation organised by the Shanghai Diamond.


Date: 2007-06-29 Time: 09.56 AM


» HRD Antwerp engaged in talks about gemmological facility in China
Source: AFNS

HRD Antwerp has signed a memorandum of understanding that sets out a possible cooperation with Worldmart Jewelry & Gems Emporium in Panyu, China.

This happened in the presence of Mr Tan Ying-Hua, Party Secretary of the Panyu District Government of China and prominent members of the diamond and jewellery community from Belgium and China.

Worldmart has recently engaged in talks with HRD Antwerp to establish a functional gemmological service centre in Panyu. This centre may consist of a school that will cater for the training needs of the growing diamond and jewellery market in China.

The HRD Antwerp educational programme may also be supported by a ‘fast track’ service for diamond certification in Antwerp and an expert facility in Panyu.

“We are looking forward to a cooperation with one of the leading industry organizations in Panyu and to further extend the opportunities for the HRD certificates and courses in one of the fastest growing markets today”, says Georges Brys, General Manager of HRD Antwerp NV.

“We are very happy to profit from Antwerp’s world famous expertise and know how in the field of education and certification”, adds Mr Chen, Chairman of Worldmart Jewelry & Gem Emporium.

Worldmart is a materials trading and service platform dedicated to the support of the Chinese jewellery industry which is located largely at Panyu and its vicinity.

HRD Antwerp NV is the recently created commercial subsidiary of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the private foundation formerly known as the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD). HRD Antwerp operates five services : HRD Diamond Lab, which issues one of the world’s most respected diamond certificates, the HRD Precious Stones Lab; HRD Education; HRD Equipment and HRD Research. The HRD Antwerp Diamond Lab is the first ISO-certified lab.

Date: 2007-06-28 Time: 08.45 AM


» Helzberg Diamonds gets lost bag of diamond jewelry back
Source: AFNS

Thanks to an honest ramp agent at Kansas City International Airport, Helzberg Diamonds, New York City, has back in its possession a lost bag of diamond jewelry.

Robert Lewis, a ramp agent for Midwest Airlines, found the cargo bag with 40 pounds of weddings rings, bands, jewelry sets and loose diamonds worth $266,000 lying in the street and turned it over to the police.

Helzberg CEO Marvin Beasley indicated that the company will reward Lewis.

Date: 2007-06-27 Time: 13.11 PM


» Alrosa planning move into retail outlets
Source: AFNS

diamond mining giant Alrosa is mulling a move downstream with the establishment of a chain of diamond jewelry stores in a move to boost diamond demand.

The Russian newspaper Vedomosty reported that Alrosa plans to invest $50 million in setting up the high-end retail operation. Vedomosty reports that Alrosa is looking into jewelry lines for men, women and children, with prices starting at $800.

Vedomosty quoted Alrosa president Sergey Vybornov as saying that Alrosa could establish 50 shops in Moscow and the country’s other main cities within a period of five years.

Vybornov also said the products could be made outside of Russia, possibly in Armenia.

Alrosa’s plan has already come under attack, with Ararat Evoyan, vice president of the Russian Diamond Manufacturers Association, describing it as a “reckless scheme.” He said that such a project required an investment of more than $50 million.

Date: 2007-06-26 Time: 17.19 PM


» Rosy Blue Group denies synthetic diamonds rumors
Source: AFNS

The Rosy Blue Group has issued a statement categorically denying reports from India that it mixes laboratory grown diamonds with natural diamonds.

"We know that the rumor started in India and subsequently people have added spice to it, saying that we are buying synthetic diamonds, manufacturing them and mixing them with our product," the company's CEO, Dilip Mehta, told Rapaport News. "We did not pay attention to the rumors for the first four to six weeks, but they have continued so we thought it was about time we put the record straight."

In its statement, Rosy Blue said: “We would like to state for the record that we are neither buying nor distributing laboratory grown diamonds. It is categorically false that we are knowingly mixing laboratory grown diamonds with natural diamonds and selling them on as parcels consisting entirely of natural diamonds.

“As a founding member of the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices and adherents to the Diamond Trading Company’s Best Practice Principles as well as Rio Tinto Diamonds’ Business Excellence Model, the Rosy Blue Group considers responsible behaviour and protection of consumer confidence to be top priorities.

“The Rosy Blue Group, as a premier diamond company, was built on trust and integrity. Integrity is and always will be a fundamental Rosy Blue principle. We make all necessary product related disclosures at all times.

“The Rosy Blue Group will pursue every lawful means available, including lawsuits, to deal with unfounded, deceitful, disparaging and malicious allegations of the Group misrepresenting products or undermining consumer confidence.”


Date: 2007-06-25 Time: 10.23 AM


» IGC Group to build polishing plant in Botswana
Source: AFNS

Belgium’s IGC Group of Companies has announced that it is setting up a diamond polishing plant in Botswana. “Next to our state-of-the-art factories in Thailand and Laos we are now opening a factory in this diamond producing country,” Jacques Claes, a company principal, said.

IGC, which is a Diamond Trading Company sightholder, has bought a 10,000 square meter site in the Botswanan capital of Gaborone, next to the new DTC/Debswana building, where it will build the new Zebra Diamonds plant. By July, a training unit will be operational.

“Opening the training facility with a capacity of 120 polishers in Botswana confirms our group’s vision that manufacturing in producing countries is the future of our industry and of the Botswana people,” Mmoloki George, the general manager of Zebra Diamonds, said.

Date: 2007-06-24 Time: 15.01 PM


» BHP Billiton to use new diamond prospecting method in Angola
Source: AFNS

BHP Billiton will use a new method of prospecting for diamond-bearing kimberlite deposits in Angola, said Wayne Pettit, director of the company’s geophysics department.

He said the company has used the method in Canada and Brazil as well, and will introduce it in Angola as soon as it can find a big enough helicopter for the necessary equipment.

Pettit made the remarks at a recent seminar in Angola entitled “New Technologies and Advanced Methods for Diamond Mining.”

Date: 2007-06-23 Time: 07.30AM


» Australian diamond mining industry sees decline
Source: AFNS

Australia produced 3.58 million carats of rough diamonds during the first quarter of 2007, down 31.7 percent from the first quarter of 2006, and a 56 percent fall from the fourth quarter of the year, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The reason for the decline was that Western Australia, the location of all the country’s diamond mines, including Rio Tinto’s enormous Argyle Mine, was hit by a series of cyclones.

Australian diamond exports, including both industrial and gem diamonds, plummeted 30 percent to $76 million in the first quarter, while imports totaled 789,000 carats worth $106 million, an 8 percent increase in value terms.

Date: 2007-06-22 Time: 10.00 AM


» Prince Philip to lead Belgian trade mission to China
Source: AFNS

Belgium’s HRH Prince Philip, Honorary President of the Agency for Foreign Trade, will lead a trade mission to China June 16-26 in which the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) will be taking part.

The Belgian delegation will visit Beijing, Shenyang, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

HRH Princess Mathilde will visit the Beijing University of Clothing Technology, Arts & Crafts Department on June 18. The visit, an initiative of the AWDC, underlines not only the importance of the relationship between the Antwerp diamond industry and China, but also emphasizes the cultural aspect.

During the visit, eight unique diamond jewellery creations designed by the Chinese participants in the HRD Awards 2007 competition, A Night at the Opera, will be displayed in the presence of HRH Princess Mathilde.

China is an important growth market for the AWDC, with huge potential as a diamond consuming country due to its fast-growing middle class.

In 2006, Antwerp’s exports of polished diamonds increased by 36 percent in weight and 54 percent by value. Flanders Investment and Trade Agency predicts that by the end of 2010 China will outshine the USA as the biggest jewellery consuming market in the world.

Today, diamond jewellery represents 52 percent of total jewellery sales. The AWDC has already become active in this market and participated in the Shanghai Jewellery Fair last April.

In Beijing, HRD Antwerp NV will organize free workshops on Diamond Grading for the students of the Arts and Crafts department of the Beijing University of Clothing Technology.

Date: 2007-06-21 Time: 18.25PM


» DTC’s Shine forecasts fewer sightholders next year
Source: AFNS

There will be fewer Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sightholders in the three-year contract period starting April 1, 2008 than the 93 firms that now hold that title, DTC Managing Director Varda Shine told a gathering of diamantaires in Antwerp. Current and would-be sightholders must apply for the next contract period by July.

The reason is that the DTC will have less rough to go around due to “beneficiation” efforts in southern Africa—De Beers’s commitment to supply locally mined rough diamonds to the diamond polishing industries in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, Shine said.

Another probable reason why the DTC will have less rough on hand is that Russian monopoly diamond producer Alrosa is required to stop selling De Beers rough after December 31, 2008, due to an antitrust ruling by the European Commission.


Date: 2007-06-20 Time: 11.21AM


» Diamond derivatives on the agenda in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has said it will sponsor an international working panel on diamond derivatives at its headquarters in Antwerp on June 28.

Representatives of leading financial institutions, financial exchanges and the diamond trade have been invited to discuss contracts for diamond derivatives.

Participants include ABN AMRO Bank, India’s ICICI Bank, the Chicago Board of Trade, ISDA, Cargill, Diarough, DD Manufacturing, Eurostar, Pluczenik and Rosy Blue.

Derivatives are a type of financial instrument used for other commodities. Diamond industry observers say the idea makes sense due to the uncertain supply situation diamond companies are facing because of the anticipated shortages of rough diamonds along with rapidly growing diamond jewelry markets in India, China and elsewhere.

Date: 2007-06-19 Time: 09.15AM


» HRD Antwerp has signed a memorandum of understanding that sets out a possible cooperation with World
Source: AFNS

This happened in the presence of Mr Tan Ying-Hua, Party Secretary of the Panyu District Government of China and prominent members of the diamond and jewellery community from Belgium and China.

Worldmart has recently engaged in talks with HRD Antwerp to establish a functional gemmological service centre in Panyu. This centre may consist of a school that will cater for the training needs of the growing diamond and jewellery market in China.

The HRD Antwerp educational programme may also be supported by a ‘fast track’ service for diamond certification in Antwerp and an expert facility in Panyu.

“We are looking forward to a cooperation with one of the leading industry organizations in Panyu and to further extend the opportunities for the HRD certificates and courses in one of the fastest growing markets today”, says Georges Brys, General Manager of HRD Antwerp NV.

“We are very happy to profit from Antwerp’s world famous expertise and know how in the field of education and certification”, adds Mr Chen, Chairman of Worldmart Jewelry & Gem Emporium.

Worldmart is a materials trading and service platform dedicated to the support of the Chinese jewellery industry which is located largely at Panyu and its vicinity.

HRD Antwerp NV is the recently created commercial subsidiary of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the private foundation formerly known as the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD). HRD Antwerp operates five services : HRD Diamond Lab, which issues one of the world’s most respected diamond certificates, the HRD Precious Stones Lab; HRD Education; HRD Equipment and HRD Research. The HRD Antwerp Diamond Lab is the first ISO-certified lab.

Date: 2007-06-18 Time: 07.32AM


» Diamonds set off Monaco Grand Prix auto race
Source: AFNS

Diamonds made a spectacular showing in advance of the May 27 Grand Prix auto race in Monaco, with Formula One racing champions Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, both of the McLaren team, showing off diamond-studded racing helmets.

The helmets bore the words “Formula ’07” written in white diamonds on the side. The stones were by Steinmetz Diamonds, which sponsors the McLaren racing team. The drivers were each given a $10,000 diamond ring with a tire tread motif to keep.

The auto racing champions also posed with a model wearing a necklace set with some $50 million worth of diamonds cut from a 316 carat rough that was the largest stone found at De Beers’s Venetia Mine. The necklace will be sold to the highest bidder if an unspecified reserve price is met. It is dubbed “Ponahalo,” after the Black Economic Empowerment partner and 26 percent stakeholder in De Beers’ South African arm, De Beers Consolidated Mines.

Date: 2007-06-17 Time: 09.56 AM


» Analyst says Amazon.com may start online diamond store
Source: AFNS

Amazon.com may build on its success selling jewelry online by opening a separate diamond jewelry website, Douglas Anmuth, an analyst with Lehman Brothers, speculated.

If so, that could prove a major challenge for Blue Nile, the leading Internet-based jewelry retailer.

Alternatively, Amazon.com could buy out Blue Nile. Amazon.com has offices in the same Seattle office building where Blue Nile has its headquarters, Anmuth noted.

Date: 2007-06-16 Time: 16.30 PM


» Namibian union signs deal with Leviev polishing plant
Source: AFNS

The Mine Workers Union of Namibia has signed a labor agreement with Lev Leviev Diamonds, the local polishing plant subsidiary of the Israel-based diamond behemoth. The agreement calls for arbitration of any labor disputes.

This follows a work stoppage last year, when about 400 of the company’s 500 employees protested the conditions under which 356 temporary workers were to be turned into permanent employees. The strikers demanded salaries of N$3,500 (U.S.$500) a month, and pay for overtime, Sunday and holiday work.

While signing the agreement, union Secretary-General Joseph Hengari expressed concern about a wave of recent dismissals at the polishing plant. But Managing Director Kombadayedu Kapwanga said the fired workers had been caught stealing.

Date: 2007-06-15 Time: 11.21AM


» Rio Tinto, Petra Diamonds interested in Cullinan Mine
Source: AFNS

De Beers has prequalified two potential bidders for its Cullinan Mine in South Africa: Rio Tinto and Petra Diamonds.

De Beers said in February it is selling the 1.3 million carat a year mine because it is finding it hard to make a profit from it; according to RBC Capital Markets, profits are only 3 percent of revenues there, compared to 88 percent at the Jwaneng Mine in Botswana.

The Cullinan Mine’s buyer will have to agree to bringing in a black economic empowerment partner. The mine has only five years of life left, absent an expansion plan such as a $1 billion project De Beers decided against in 2004.

Petra Diamonds has set target production of 500,000 carats a year, including 300,000 carats from its South African properties. It is shifting its emphasis from prospecting to production and hopes to bring its Kono project in Sierra Leone into production, according to Chairman Adonis Pouroulis.

Rio Tinto produces about 8 percent of the world’s supply of diamonds, mainly through its Argyle Mine in Western Australia. The company also holds a 78 percent stake in the Murowa Mine in Zimbabwe, but production there has been declining amid that country’s economic and political crisis. Rio Tinto Diamonds CEO Keith Johnson said Murowa will be much bigger mine one day.

Date: 2007-06-14 Time: 09.15AM


» Man convicted of using 43-carat diamond in laundering scheme
Source: AFNS

An Ohio businessman has been convicted of trying to use a 43 carat yellow diamond in a money-laundering scheme, but his lawyer says he was entrapped by the government and that he will appeal, reports the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal.

Paul Monea, 60, was convicted of attempting to sell the diamond and an estate once owned by boxer Mike Tyson to an undercover FBI agent who was pretending to represent drug dealers who wanted to launder their ill-gotten gains. He faces up to 80 years in prison. Codefendant Mickey Miller, a car dealer, pled guilty and testified against Monea at his trial in federal U.S. District Court in Akron, Ohio.

Monea and Miller were promised $19.5 million and a speedboat in exchange for the diamond and estate. Monea previously served prison time for tax evasion related to his sales of a fraudulent pain relief device called “the Stimulator.” The diamond, which is said to be worth up to $15 million, and the land are forfeited to the government, the jury ruled.

Date: 2007-06-13 Time: 07.32AM


» Karelian Diamonds hopeful about prospecting in Finland
Source: AFNS

Karelian Diamonds, based in Dublin, Ireland, is hopeful that it will find a diamond-bearing kimberlite source within a geographical feature called the Karelian Craton that extends from Finland east into neighboring Russia. The company’s prospecting operations are restricted to Finland.

Dr. Stephen Grimmer, the firm’s senior geologist, told a recent mining conference that the company has analyzed data from almost 500 Finnish sites and has found diamond indicator minerals— G9 and G10 pyrope garnets and a lot of chromite grains. Karelian Diamonds next hopes to evaluate the kimberlite pipes in the region and conduct a bulk sample to see if it contains diamonds, probably next year.

Grimmer said that Finland’s status as an advanced European country with a good transportation network makes it easy to work in.

Dublin-based Conroy Diamonds & Gold has a 62 percent stake in Karelian Diamonds, Gartmore Fund Managers has an 11 percent stake and less than 27 percent is publicly traded on London’s Alternative Investment Market. The company’s market capitalization is about £3.47 million ($6.88 million).

Date: 2007-06-12 Time: 07.30AM


» Blue Nile introduces fancy color diamond collection
Source: AFNS

Blue Nile, the online diamond and jewelry retailer, has announced the availability of a collection of fancy color diamonds, including rare red and pink stones.

Approximately 90 fancy color diamonds worth a total of $4.5 million are available to begin with on the Blue Nile site, in colors such as orange, pink, cognac, yellow, green and red. In addition, Blue Nile says it has access to more than 1,000 fancy color stones not displayed on the site, which can be used to fill individual customer requests.

The company says it is offering substantial savings. Prices for a fancy color diamond at Blue Nile start at $2,250 for a 0.5 carat cognac diamond. A green diamond retails for $160,380, a 0.55 carat red diamond for $350,000 and a 3.65 carat pink diamond for $650,000.

Buyers can choose to have their fancy color diamond set in one of the more than 100 ring designs, or in pendants or diamond earrings.

Date: 2007-06-11 Time: 12.25 PM


» Zimbabwe parliament addresses disarray in mining sector
Source: AFNS

Members of the Zimbabwean parliament recently discussed the disarray in the country’s diamond and gold sectors. Joel Gabbuza, chairman of the Committee on Mines, Energy and Tourism, called for the establishment of a committee that would represent all stakeholders in setting diamond and gold prices, which the official Reserve Bank has failed to do.

He also said the dispute over the diamond fields at Chiadzwa/Marange must be resolved. The government had revoked the license of the U.K. company Africa Consolidated Resources and turned the site over to the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. Local residents also claim the Chiadzwa/Marange site, and much unauthorized digging has taken place.

Gabbuza said the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation has not produced a single stone anywhere since January, and has failed at such locales as Kamativi.

Another committee member, Pearson Mungofa, said the police and Reserve Bank officials have not been forthcoming with the names of prominent diamond smugglers as a way of stopping the widespread phenomenon.

Gabbuza said the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe must provide an accurate accounting of diamond production lest the country end up blacklisted by the Kimberley Process and unable to export its diamonds.

Date: 2007-06-10 Time: 09.56 AM


» Belgian Diamond Club unveiled in southern China
Source: AFNS

The Belgian Consulate-General in Guangzhou, southern China has opened a new Belgian Diamond Club of China, designed to help Belgian diamantaires negotiate the complexities of the Chinese market and to help Chinese companies with diamond subsidiaries in Belgium.

The center will seek to foster the sharing of goods, know-how, technical skills and business opportunities, as well as helping China bring its diamond standards into line with those prevailing in the rest of the world.

The announcement of the new center was made on May 18, in tandem with the opening ceremony for Guangzhou’s new Worldmart Jewelry & Gems Emporium. The event drew close to 100 diamond trade representatives from India, South Africa, Hong Kong and China.

Date: 2007-06-09 Time: 16.30 PM


» Official Launch of AWDC and HRD Antwerp NV Announced at Press Conference in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

A new era in the history of Antwerp’s illustrious diamond sector formally began today with the official announcement of the disbanding of the old Diamond High Council (HRD), and the establishment in its stead of a foundation called the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), which will be responsible for the advocacy and defense of the Belgian diamond industry and trade in general, and an independent company, HRD Antwerp NV, which will encompass the old organisation’s commercial divisions.

The announcement was made at a press conference in the AWDC/HRD headquarters by CEO Freddy Hanard, which was attended by Fientje Moerman, the Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Economy, Enterprise, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade; and by Ludo Van Campenhout, Antwerp’s City Alderman with responsibility for the diamond sector.

“One cannot overstate how important this restructuring is for the two organisations,” Hanard said. “In the modern diamond business environment, the challenges facing both are great and varied. It is essential that they be streamlined and empowered to act so that they achieve their goals in the best way possible.”

The AWDC will be responsible for representing the collective interests of the Belgian diamond sector with all municipal, provincial, regional and federal and international bodies, and also for the promotion of Antwerp as the world’s leading diamond business centre. HRD Antwerp NV, which began operating on May 2, is a commercial operation with currently five divisions: The Diamond Lab, formerly HRD Certificates; the Precious Stones Lab; Education, formerly the HRD Institute of Gemmology; HRD Research; and HRD Equipment, formerly Comdiam.

At the press conference, separate corporate identities were unveiled for the two organisations. The new AWDC logo features a representation of the Antwerp city skyline above the cutline “Antwerp World Diamond Centre.” The AWDC will also make extensive use of the slogan “Diamonds Love Antwerp” in its upcoming campaign, and also will encourage local diamond companies to incorporate it in their marketing materials. “The association of those three words—Antwerp, Love and Diamonds—expresses the essence of our industry,” Hanard explained.

For its part, HRD Antwerp NV will develop its own brand identity and corporate logo. “While HRD Antwerp NV competes in an international environment and must operate according to its rules, the company’s affiliation to the Belgian centre is a major asset, because it implies experience, professionalism, impeccable standards and stability. Its identity should reflect all of that,” Hanard said.

The AWDC CEO took the opportunity to introduce to the media the senior management teams of both the AWDC and HRD Antwerp NV, including the recently appointed General Manager of HRD Antwerp NV, Georges Brys. “These are the people who are going to lead us into the future,” Hanard said. “It is a most exciting time for all of us.”

Contact : Philip Claes
Tel. Number : +32 (0)3 222 05 02
Mobile +32 (0)496 455 680

Date: 2007-06-08 Time: 09.10 AM


» Famed sculptor to create diamond-encrusted skull
Source: AFNS

British sculptor Damien Hirst, probably best-known for his formaldehyde-dipped shark, is to create a platinum-cast skull encrusted with about 8,500 diamonds, reports Britain’s Observer newspaper.

The art object is expected to cost £8 million to £10 million ($15.8 million to $19.7 million) and could sell for up to £50 million ($98.6 million).

Jewelers Bentley & Skinner of Bond Street, London are helping Hirst acquire the diamonds, a process he said is going slowly. He said the single biggest expense will be a 50 carat diamond he wants for the center of the skull’s forehead, which will cost £3 million to £5 million ($5.9 million to $9.9 million).

Date: 2007-06-07 Time: 08.45 AM


» Warren Buffett to increase holdings in jewelry with new acquisition
Source: AFNS

Berkshire Hathaway, the company of U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett-has announced its intention to acquire U.S. gold jewelry manufacturers, Bel-Oro International and Aurafin LLC, and to combine them into the newly formed Richline Group, which intends becoming the largest jewelry supply group in the United States.

Speaking to Associated Press, Mark Hanna, a spokesman for Bel-Oro, said that the combined company will account for about 6 percent of the world gold jewelry market. Berkshire already owns a number of U.S.-based jewelry retailers including Helzberg's and Borsheim's.

In a press release, Dave Meleski, Auragin’s CEO, called the Berkshire Hathaway move “an unprecedented transaction in our industry." Meleski and Bel-Ore’s CEO Dennis Ulrich have already agreed to merge the companies into two large and cohesive operating entities under the Richline Group. Ulrich will become the CEO of Richline Group and will manage the company, while Meleski will become president of the new group. The companies currently generate more than $500 million in revenue per annum and employ 1,800 people internationally.

Buffett, who is the is the largest shareholder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has an estimated current net worth of around US$52 billion, and was ranked by Forbes as the third-richest person in the world as of April 2007.

Date: 2007-06-06 Time: 13.11 PM


» Steinmetz buys Sierra Leonean diamond mine for $18 million
Source: AFNS

The Geneva-based diamond company Steinmetz Group has turned the Sierra Leonean diamond mining company Koidu Holdings into a wholly-owned subsidiary for just over $18 million.

Vancouver, Canada-based Energem Resources Inc. said it has sold its 40 percent stake in Koidu Holdings, which owns and operates the Koidu kimberlite diamond mine and Tongo Fields exploration area in Sierra Leone, to BSG Resources Limited for $18.25 million (U.S.). This raises BSG’s stake in Koidu to 65 percent. The balance is held by Magma Diamond Resources Limited. Both BSG and Magma are part of the Steinmetz Group.

Energem said it is getting out of the diamond business altogether in favor of oil, gas and biofuels. The company has invested almost $13 million in the Koidu Mine since operations recommenced there in 2003, only to find out that underground development would require a capital investment of more than $41 million. Moreover, the company said that it was not happy with the encumbrance of a 5-year exclusive marketing agreement with Steinmetz.

Date: 2007-06-05 Time: 09.00 AM


» For want of tires, Botswanan diamond supply may slow
Source: AFNS

A shortage of tires for the trucks that transport kimberlite ore from Botswana’s diamond mines is threatening supply.

The U.K. tire industry publication Tyres and Accessories quotes Kabelo Letlhoma, mine section manager at the Jwaneng Mine, as saying the shortage began in late February and may last through 2011, disabling seven of the mine’s 22 trucks. The trucks have a capacity of 240 tonnes and can move 7,000 tonnes of ore a day.

Jwaneng is one of the four major Botswanan diamond mines run by Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between the country’s government and De Beers, which recently agreed on a 25-year license renewal for all four mines.

Date: 2007-06-04 Time: 16.30 PM


» 591 million worth of stones forecast for Liqhobong
Source: AFNS

European Diamonds said it has revised its calculations of how many diamonds are in the main kimberlite pipe at the Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho to a depth of 130 meters below the earth’s surface. The new totals are 30.4 million tons of kimberlite and 8.44 million carats of diamonds, which represents an in-situ diamond value of $591 million.

The figures are based on data collected during drilling and bulk sampling last year. Approximately 30,000 tons of samples were collected, yielding 9,014 carats of diamonds. In addition, 6,990 carats of “run of mine” diamonds were recovered from the main pipe during 2006.

The company added that the resource estimates do not include the three large, high quality stones weighing between 15 and 27.7 carats that were produced from the main pipe in December 2006 and that sold for up to $27,000 per carat.

European Diamonds also said that its satellite diamond plant at Liqhobong, which treats material from an open pit, is now capable of production at its rated capacity of 400,000 tons a year.

European Diamonds, a U.K.-based diamond development and exploration company, operates the Liqhobong Mine through its 75 percent owned subsidiary, Liqhobong Mining Development Company. Lesotho is a small southern African kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa. The firm also has advanced projects in Finland.


Date: 2007-06-03 Time: 14.15 PM


» Chinese jewelry sales up 31 percent in April
Source: AFNS

Retail sales of gold, silver and jewelry in China rose 30.8 percent in April, compared to April 2006, according to the country’s national statistics bureau.

This compared to total retail sales of consumer goods of $87 billion, which was a 15.5 percent increase. Urban areas were responsible for more than two-thirds of total retail sales at $59 billion, tending to prove experts’ assertions that China’s astonishing economic growth benefits only a minority of the population of 1.2 billion, though a substantial one at perhaps 250 million people.

The Shanghai Diamond Exchange, one of the newest members of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, serves as a center of the diamond trade in China, while Hong Kong, the former British colony ruled as a “special administrative area” of China, has long been a major world center for the diamond business.

Date: 2007-06-02 Time: 16.45PM


» Rio Tinto joining battle to combat global warming
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto and the BP oil company have announced the formation of a new jointly-owned company, Hydrogen Energy, which will develop decarbonized energy projects around the world. The venture will initially focus on hydrogen-fuelled power generation, using fossil fuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to produce new large-scale supplies of clean electricity.

Decarbonized energy projects are based on the conversion of fossil fuel feedstocks such as coal, petroleum coke (a refinery by-product) or natural gas, to hydrogen and carbon dioxide gases, with the carbon dioxide being captured and sent for permanent storage in geological formations deep beneath the Earth’s surface.

In power projects, the hydrogen would be used to fuel a gas turbine for generation of industrial-scale supplies of electrical power. Full integration with CCS technology would ensure that 90 per cent of the carbon dioxide which would otherwise have been emitted to the atmosphere would be safely captured and stored.

Date: 2007-06-01 Time: 07.50AM


» South African export levy allows loophole for ‘beneficiation’
Source: AFNS

The revised version of the South African government’s Diamond Export Levy Bill would allow rough diamond producers to avoid paying the mandated 5 percent levy if they provide local diamond polishing companies with enough rough stones. As in the past, the government has said the purpose of the levy is to stimulate the domestic diamond polishing industry, not to raise government revenue.

Under the bill, all rough diamond producers would have to provide 10 percent of their stones to the new State Diamond Trader, which in turn is to provide them to domestic diamond polishing firms. To avoid the levy the rough diamond producers would have to sell a substantial proportion of their production to local firms over and above this.

This additional selling requirement is based on the rough diamond producers’ size. Companies with annual gross sales of more than 5 billion rand ($711 million), such as De Beers, would have to sell 40 percent of their annual production to local diamond polishers through the new Diamond Exchange and Export Centre to get the duty exemption.

Rough producers with less than this level in sales but that sell more than 10 million rand ($1.4 million) a year would have to sell 15 percent of their annual production to local polishers. Producers smaller than that would enjoy a duty exemption without this requirement, as long as the Diamond Exchange and Export Centre does not want any of their stones.

In a further twist, if the large and medium-size rough producers do not quite meet the 40 percent and 15 percent quotas, they can get a percentage point for percentage point reduction off the 5 percent levy—e.g., if De Beers sells 39 percent of its production to local firms, it would pay a levy of 4 percent.

Date: 2007-05-31 Time: 07.32AM


» Shortages, rising prices seen for rough diamonds
Source: AFNS

Rough diamond prices are likely to rise between 2 and 5 percent annually for the next five years, and up to 10 percent annually in the better qualities, due to growing demand and the lack of major new mines, Des Kilalea, director of global mining research at RBC Capital Markets, said in advance of a conference his company is holding on the subject.

This accords with remarks made in February by Gareth Penny, managing director of De Beers, to the effect that the lack of major new mines would mean that demand will outrun supply of rough diamonds for the next five years. BHP Billiton’s president of diamond and speciality products said the shortfall could continue for the next 10 years.

More than $800 million will be spent this year on diamond prospecting worldwide, three times the spend five years ago. In Canada alone, some $1 billion has been spent since the Diavik Mine opened in the Northwest Territories in 2003. This has paid off for De Beers in the coming opening of the Snap Lake Mine in the Northwest Territories, the Victor Project in northern Ontario and Gahcho Kué, also in the Northwest Territories, but apparently none of these are considered “major” mines by analysts.

The AK6 kimberlite pipe in Botswana, a joint venture between De Beers and African Diamonds, and the Alto Cuilo project in Angola, a joint venture between BHP Billiton and Petra, could bring significant quantities of stones onto the market when they are up and running, Kilalea said. However, fewer than 40 out of the world’s total of more than 6,200 known kimberlite bodies contain diamonds and are profitable to mine. At the same time, the world diamond market needs a new equivalent to BHP Billiton’s 2.56 million carat a year Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territories every year to keep with demand, Kilalea said.

BHP Billiton said that synthetic diamonds could account for 5 percent of the world diamond market in five years’ time, and Kilalea said that Indian diamond cutters could turn to lab-manufactured stones if the supply of natural rough gets sufficiently scarce.

Date: 2007-05-30 Time: 07.30AM


» Antwerp Diamond Conference to be held October 15 & 16
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre will be holding once again the prestigious Antwerp Diamond Conference on October 15 & 16. Entitled ‘Producer countries: changing the industry dynamic’. Confirmed speaker for the conference is Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, who served as World Bank chief economist from 1996 to 1999. He also served on the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers from 1993 to 1997 under President Clinton. For the evening, also Javier Solana, the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Defense of the European Union will be present. Leaders from several African diamond-producing countries are also due to attend the Antwerp conference, which will be held at the Flanders Congress & Concert Centre (Elisabethzaal), while the gala dinner will take place at the Waagnatie, which is a reconverted warehouse on the bank of the Scheldt River.

Date: 2007-05-29 Time: 12.25 PM


» British firm offers diamond-studded stereo speakers
Source: AFNS

A British firm, Bowers and Wilkins, has unveiled a set of stereo speakers that come encased in a choice of black or white marble, and studded with diamonds.

The asking price is £11,000 (almost $22,000), and the fact that only 1,000 have been manufactured seems calculated to drive demand.

The company had modest beginnings as a retail hi-fi store in post-World War II Worthing, England.

Date: 2007-05-28 Time: 16.30 PM


» Antwerp Diamond Pavilion in JCK Las Vegas (June 1-5)
Source: AFNS

This year, JCK Las Vegas show will host no less than 30 Antwerp Diamond Companies! With 2.800 square feet (+-280 m²) exhibition space, the offer of Antwerp Diamonds has never been bigger.

Mr Freddy J. Hanard, Chief Executive Officer of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre underlines the importance of the USA as trade partner for Antwerp. “The strong relationship is clearly proven by the figures. We have an annual export of diamonds (2006) to the USA of 1,674 million carats for a total value of 2,940 million US Dollar. It is clear that the USA is the most important market for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.”

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre is also investing in attracting even more visitors. Therefore we kindly invite you to a Happy Hour on June 1,2 & 3. By providing high level entertainment and organising a happy hour, the Antwerp Diamond Pavilion will be –more than ever- the place to be. You can meet the Antwerp diamond companies all day long, and from 11am till 12 pm & from 4pm to 5 pm we offer you a an extra touch of Belgium.


Date: 2007-05-27 Time: 14.15 PM


» Antwerp Diamond Bank profits down amid tighter credit
Source: AFNS

Antwerp Diamond Bank reported that its consolidated net profit for 2006 was € 28.1 million ($38.1 million) a decrease of 12.8 percent compared to 2005, amid tighter credit conditions.

Antwerp Diamond Bank’s consolidated balance sheet decreased 19.2 percent to € 2.1 billion ($2.84 billion) in 2006, which the bank said was mainly due to a more restrictive credit policy and the weaker U.S. dollar. To respond to “liquidity tensions,” the bank said, it made its credit policy more restrictive, resulting in a lower total of claims on clients.

“In retrospect, the diamond industry faced a difficult year in 2006,” CEO Paul Goris said. “Al¬though the first semester was relatively good, the increased volatility of rough prices put a significant burden on the profitability as well as the li¬quidity of the industry. As such, diamond bankers in some markets were not only forced to adhere to a somewhat more restrictive credit policy but unfortunately also had to create provisions for potentially bad loans.” However, Goris added, 2007 “started off with some moderate optimism.”

Antwerp Diamond Bank is a part of the KBC Group, a Belgium-based international financial services group active in banking, insurance and wealth management.

Date: 2007-05-26 Time: 16.45PM


» World Diamond Council criticizes Zimbabwe, Venezuela
Source: AFNS

Zimbabwe and Venezuela have not been cooperating with the Kimberley Process, the international effort to stamp out the trade in conflict diamonds, but the World Diamond Council (WDC) is working with Zimbabwe to try to solve the problems there, WDC Chairman Eli Izhakoff said during the group’s meeting in Jerusalem in mid-May.

Namibian Minister of Mines Kennedy Hamutenya said that African countries have realized they have to work together to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds, and that the governments of Sierra Leone, Congo-Kinshasa and Zimbabwe have asked his country for help doing so. It is hard to eliminate all smuggling of such small, high-value items as diamonds, he said, but African countries deserve credit for the progress they have made.

Alex Yearsly of the nongovernmental organization Global Witness said that conflict diamonds are indeed on the decline, but that much more remains to be done in compiling reliable statistics and eliminating human rights abuses by corrupt officials in countries where much manual “artisanal” diamond mining is done. The Central African Republic, Congo-Kinshasa and Angola are particularly troubling cases, he said.

Date: 2007-05-25 Time: 07.50AM


» Liberian official says diamond smugglers will be prosecuted
Source: AFNS

Liberian Minister of Mines and Energy Eugene Shannon said his country will crack down on diamond smugglers, both artisanal miners who work with hand tools and those who use mechanized equipment, to comply with the Kimberley Process. The manual diggers will be subject to having their equipment seized and their licenses revoked, while those using heavy equipment will also be subject to fines of up to U.S.$10,000 and prison time.

Shannon said the ministry is setting up a diamond valuation office and is hiring 100 motorcycle policemen to enforce the diamond laws.

The UN Security Council recently ended a six-year-long international ban on rough diamonds from Liberia, and Shannon said the West African country expects to export 200,000 carats the first year and 300,000 carats in the second year. He did not provide any dollar figures.

Two local legislators in Liberia, Representative Dickson Yarsiah and Senator Daniel F. Naatehn, called on the government to revoke all existing diamond mining licenses and reissue them in a controlled process to promote transparency.

Date: 2007-05-24 Time: 07.32AM


» Russia grants four exploration permits in Murmansk region
Source: AFNS

The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources has granted four diamond exploration permits for sites in the Murmansk Oblast (district) in northwestern Russia. Details about the recipients were not immediately available.

The major known diamond deposit in Russia’s northwest, called Lomonosov, is being developed by Severalmaz OJSC, a subsidiary of the government-controlled diamond mining company Alrosa.

Russia produces about 25 percent of the world’s rough diamonds by value. Alrosa is the country’s dominant producer.

Date: 2007-05-23 Time: 07.30AM


» Ontario diamond tax continues to generate controversy
Source: AFNS

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has defended the provincial government’s decision to increase the diamond mining royalty from 5 percent to 13 percent. The decision, announced in the March 22 provincial budget, will immediately affect De Beers Canada, which is building the Victor Project diamond mine in the northern part of the province, with a scheduled opening next year.
In addition to the company, provincial opposition leader John Tory, head of the Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario, has come out against the tax hike, as have aboriginal tribal leaders Mike Carpenter, chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation, and Stan Louttit, grand chief of the Mushkegowuk Council. They said they fear the tax will leach away any gains their impoverished communities will accrue from the Victor Project mine. Carpenter also said that mining companies must contribute to the local communities, and not just take resources out.
McGuinty said the province is working on revenue sharing with the aboriginal communities.

Date: 2007-05-22 Time: 12.25 PM


» Israel to extend money laundering laws to diamond industry
Source: AFNS

Israel will extend its money laundering laws to cover the diamond industry, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai told the World Diamond Council meeting in Jerusalem in mid-May.

Yishai said he has instructed Shmuel Mordechai, the ministry’s diamond controller, to work on an amended law that could be passed in the Knesset, the country’s parliament.

Similar laws exist in other centers of the world diamond industry, such as the United States, where the relevant regulations are authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act, a law passed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Date: 2007-05-21 Time: 09.56 AM


» De Beers managing director calls for broader WDC mandate
Source: AFNS

De Beers Managing Director Gareth Penny used the platform of the World Diamond Council meeting in Jerusalem May 10 to call on the group and the industry to act in a united way against the problem of conflict diamonds and other ethical problems confronting the industry.

Consumers have become more demanding, he said, and the industry too “must demand only the highest standards of ethical behavior from our colleagues, our suppliers and everyone else we do business with. Turning a blind eye to where our diamonds come from will no longer be overlooked or tolerated by society.”

“Quality is no longer just a physical manifestation of the products purchased by consumers. Quality and value are now also measured against where the product comes from, who manufactured it and how. Given the level of competition we face today, you can be assured that if we don’t check the source of our diamonds and don’t manage our individual reputations, someone else will,” he added, according to an official copy of his speech on the De Beers website.

Penny praised the World Diamond Council’s accomplishments but added that “there are many challenges that remain and we must ask ourselves what the WDC requires to fulfill its potential over the coming years. The conflict diamonds issue, for example, has not left us and it would be complacent and dangerous for anyone to believe that it has.”

Moreover, he added, the group “must seek to expand its mandate beyond conflict and the resource capability of the WDC must be reviewed and where possible increased. It has to be in a position to address issues arising from the governance of our industry, its business ethics, environmental concerns and be able to demonstrate awareness of the issues facing the communities in which the industry operates, anywhere in the world…. Serious consideration should be given to enabling NGO [nongovernmental organization] representation at advisory board level.” More companies and sectors should contribute to the council, he said.


Date: 2007-05-20 Time: 11.50 AM


» HRD AWARDS 2007, nearing the finishing line
Source: AFNS

The 2007 HRD Awards competition – the international jewellery design competition organized by Antwerp World Diamond Centre - is nearing the finishing line. 38 finished jewelry pieces were presented to an international jury for final judging on May 9, 2007. The winners will be announced and the awards will be handed out at a glittering prize giving ceremony in Antwerp scheduled for June 13, 2007.

The HRD Awards is considered to be the premiere competition for groundbreaking diamond jewellery design in the world. The biennial contest was launched in 1984 as the “Antwerp Diamond High Council Awards,” with the aim of enhancing creativity and design excellence in contemporary diamond jewelry in Belgium. The 3rd international edition drew entries from 698 designers from 44 countries. The 2007 competition, which had as its theme “A Night at the Opera,” saw 1092 designs submitted.

The 38 laureates are : Reena Ahluwalia (Canada), Esther Belis (Belgium), Sarah Bovendeerd (Belgium), Soraya Camilo (Brazil), Luiza De Castro (Brazil), Neha Ghai (India), Ruth Grieco (Brazil), Ying He Ying (China), Zhao Honggang (China), Kazuyo Ishikawa (Japan) , Shi Jing (China), Mei Lee (Belgium-Taiwan), Ke Yang Ma (China), Jorge Manilla Navarette (Mexico), Gaëlle Marié (France), Hiroshi Matsumoto (Japan), Ximao Miao (China), Sarah Mossaed Bin Abdulaziz (Saudi Arabia), Asako Ohtsuki (Japan), Juliana Pellegrini Lemos (Brazil), Yan Ray (China), Sancha Livia Resende (Brazil), Eliania Rosetti (Brazil),, Hitomi Sasaki (Japan), Kana Sato (Japan), Marleen Schodts (Belgium), Reema Shah (Belgium), Yi Song (China), Alina Sossou Alamorean (France), Nathalie Swinnen (Belgium), Chisa Takagi (Japan), Rachel Tavora & Mariana Tomasi (Brazil), Tamako Tsuda (Japan), Hilde Van Belleghem (Belgium), Annelies Van Isacker (Belgium), Anouck Van Puyvelde (Belgium), Annelies Weinberger (Belgium), Timothé Windeshausen (Belgium), Yi Zhao (China), Ying Zheng Zhi (China).

The jury itself gathered for adjudication on May 9, 2007 at the Hotel Radisson Sas-Park Lane Hotel in Antwerp to elect the five finalists out of the 38 laureates. Its members include Professor Kazumi Arikawa, President Albion Art, Tokyo, Japan; Didier Brodbeck, Editor in Chief/author, World of Dreams, Paris, France; Professor Georges Cuyvers, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium; Professor Max Laurent De Cock, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp Belgium; Susan Farmer, Diamond Information Centre, Be Beers, London, United Kingdom; Jo Hardy, Director of the Jewelry Department, Sotheby’s, London, United Kingdom; Françoise Izaute, Director, Platinum Guilt International, Milan, Italy; Jo Katz, President Antwerp Diamond Jewellery Ass. Antwerp, Keith Penton, Head jewelry specialist, Christie’s, London, United Kingdom; Andrée Putman, Interior-Designer, Paris, France; Johanne Riss, Fashion designer, Brussels, Belgium;
Lieven Struye, Chief Operating Officer Flemish Opera, Antwerp, Belgium; Professor Yoko Takagi, Bunka Fashion Graduate University, Tokyo, Japan; Monique Van Trappen, Chief
Marketing Officer, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, Antwerp, Belgium.

June 13 : the show. The five finalists will be revealed during a glittering prize giving ceremony. One of them will be declared the winner and will be rewarded with a cheque of € 5000. This year, the final show was entrusted to Croisantbleu and director Dirk De Cloedt – also known from the Celine Dion Las Vegas show. The theme of the opera will be personified by opera singer Liesbeth De Vos and violin soloist Eliot Lawson in the superb Queen Elisabeth auditorium in Antwerp.

The sponsor. The major sponsor of the 2007 HRD Awards competition is ABN AMRO. ABN AMRO is the largest diamond bank in the world. The International Diamond & Jewellery Group of ABN AMRO is located in Antwerp, World Diamond Centre.
Brinks is the official carrier of the HRD Awards 2007.

More info?
HRD / Antwerp World Diamond Centre
Jennie Baeten
Tel 03 222 05 40
fax 03 222 05 46
e-mail jb@hrd.be

Date: 2007-05-19 Time: 13.10 PM


» Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale raises more than $39 million
Source: AFNS

Christie’s auction house raised some $39.1 million at its Magnificent Jewels auction in New York City April 25, almost double presale estimates of $20 million. A total of 264 lots were sold, 90 percent of the lots on offer, and 94 percent of the available goods by value.

Eight lots sold for more than $1 million each, including the Baroda Pearls, which were once the property of the Maharajahs of the Gaekwar family of Baroda, India. An anonymous Asian buyer paid almost $7.1 million for a two-strand necklace with 68 natural pearls, a diamond clasp, earrings, brooch and ring.

The second largest amount was bid for an antique natural color Kashmir sapphire set in a diamond frame. At almost $3.1 million or $135,000 per carat, this was said to be the most ever paid for a sapphire anywhere. The third highest amount, almost $2.4 million, was bid on a fancy deep grayish-blue 9.39 cushion-cut diamond ring. The other five lots that sold for more than $1 million apiece were all diamonds, Christie’s said.

Date: 2007-05-18 Time: 09.15AM


» Rio Tinto Diamonds opens New York office
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto Diamonds has opened a U.S. representative office in New York City. This new office will represent Rio Tinto Diamonds in the United States and support Rio Tinto Diamonds’ customers, “Select Diamantaires” (equivalent to De Beers Diamond Trading Company sightholders) in their U.S.-based downstream activities.

Rebecca Foerster, formerly vice president of marketing for bridal jewelry manufacturer Frederick Goldman, has been appointed to manage Rio Tinto Diamonds’ New York office.

Rio Tinto Diamonds is the diamond mining, sales and marketing division of the Rio Tinto Group. It has diamond mining and marketing interests in its wholly owned Argyle Diamond mine in Western Australia, the 60 percent owned Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and its 78 percent owned Murowa Diamond Mine in Zimbabwe.

Date: 2007-05-17 Time: 07.32AM


» Namibian police arrest 71 alleged insider diamond thieves in 2006
Source: AFNS

Namibian police arrested a record 71 diamond miners and service employees for stealing diamonds in 2006. The confiscated loot from the 19 separate cases police cracked included 549 rough diamonds totaling 574.13 carats and worth more than Nam. $2 million (U.S.$284,000).

Of the accused thieves, 44 were employees of Namdeb, the 50-50 diamond mining joint venture between De Beers and the Namibian government, and 27 were employed by contractors. The single biggest catch was a thief who was found with 149.95 carats of rough stones worth Nam. $785,000 (U.S.$112,000). The Namibian authorities in the town of Oranjemund in the Sperrgebiet diamond heartland region are working with their counterparts in nearby Port Nolloth, South Africa, where many of the stolen diamonds are smuggled.

Despite the record number of arrests, Hilifa Mbako, group manager for external affairs and corporate communications at Namdeb, said that the Nam. $200 million (U.S.$28.4 million) the company has spent over the past decade on security has cut diamond theft. The company’s board recently approved spending another Nam. $30 million (U.S.$4.3 million) on security. Mbako said the company relies on changing popular attitudes toward diamond theft as much as on the more obvious measures like using guard dogs.

In 2005 a senior member of management was arrested for stealing diamonds, Mbako said. Namibian diamond thieves are subject to fines of up to Nam. $1 million (U.S.$142,000) and up to 20 years in prison.

Date: 2007-05-16 Time: 07.30AM


» Central Africa seen as leading diamond mining region in future
Source: AFNS

Central Africa will likely outstrip the southern part of the continent in rough diamond production in 10 to 20 years as South Africa and other countries that have been producing diamonds for more than a century pass their peak, according to Dr. Frieder Reichhardt, senior geologist of MSA Geoservices, Botswana.

In 2006, diamond prospecting companies spent 46 percent of the worldwide total of $900 million in Africa, Reichhardt said. The continent was responsible for 54 percent of worldwide diamond production by weight and 76 percent by value, and has more than 60 percent of world rough diamond reserves, according to Reichhardt, who was speaking at the second annual Diamonds Africa 2007 conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Reichhardt’s survey took in the major past and present diamond producers in the continent in central, western and southern Africa. Southern Africa or the Kalahari region is currently the leading producer, at $5.1 billion worth of stones a year. Botswana is the world’s largest diamond producer by value, where more than 20 international diamond mining companies are prospecting and there are many major kimberlites still to be found. Reichhardt said South Africa will be unable to sustain its current production of 15 million carats a year. Major new kimberlites are unlikely to be found there, and prospecting firms should concentrate on profitably exploiting ore bodies as small as 40 meters by 30 meters.

Namibia has the best quality stones, and production has been steadily rising there, especially from offshore sites, since the 1990s. More than 15 international companies are prospecting for diamonds in Angola, where annual production will total 12 million carats in 2010. At present, the country has one kimberlite mine that yields 6 million carats a year and around seven alluvial mines that collectively produce 2 million carats a year, while five new mines are getting ready to debut.

Central African diamond production totals $2.2 billion a year, Reichhardt said. This includes the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), where alluvial production began in 1913 and major production continued until 1980. A new diamond mining law was enacted there in 2003, and there is major prospecting and production potential. The Central African Republic has the fifth highest quality diamonds in the world in terms of value, and enacted a new mining law to encourage production in 2004. Tanzania reached peak diamond production of 1 million carats a year in the 1960s, which fell to 170,000 carats a year by 1994, but De Beers is planning a new production plant there. West Africa produces $340 million of rough a year, including Sierra Leone, which turned out 2 million carats a year in the late 1960s, Liberia, which produced 300,000 carats a year in the 1960s and 1970s, and Guinea. Geologists are working to evaluate the remainder of these nations’ diamond reserves, and alluvial miners are still active.

Date: 2007-05-15 Time: 12.25 PM


» Angola expects more than $1 billion in diamond
Source: AFNS

The Angolan government will make $1 billion from diamond sales this year, Mining Minister Manuel Africano told the state-owned newspaper Jornal de Angola. The government sells diamonds through state-owned mining company Endiama.

In addition, the government will rake in up to $150 million in taxes on diamond production by privately owned and international companies.

The ministry will soon send the government a bill that would regulate diamond mining by freelance garimpeiros, Africano said.

Date: 2007-05-14 Time: 09.56 AM


» Dalumi opens polishing plant in Botswana
Source: AFNS

Israeli diamond manufacturer Dalumi Diamonds has become the latest international diamond company to open a polishing plant in Botswana.

The plant, which opened April 26, employs 100 people and is seeking to double that by the end of 2006.

Botswana is the world’s single largest producer of diamonds by value, turning out about 30 percent of the world’s supply of rough stones each year. Most are produced by Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between the country’s government and De Beers. But like neighboring South Africa and Namibia, Botswana’s government has been seeking to “beneficiate” locally mined diamonds for polishing locally, to create more value-added jobs. The biggest achievement so far in that campaign is De Beers’s agreement to move the Diamond Trading Company’s sorting and aggregation operations to Botswana.

Date: 2007-05-13 Time: 12.25 PM


» Diversified development planned for Namibian diamond area
Source: AFNS

A Namibian company called Diamond Holiday Resorts is planning diversified tourism and other development in the diamond mining town of Oranjemund, at the mouth of the Orange River near the Atlantic Ocean.

A tourist lodge, fishing and retail center is planned at a cost of N$100 million (U.S.$14.2 million), but the designated region must first be designated a legal town and released from the diamond license area controlled by Namdeb, the 50-50 diamond mining joint venture of De Beers and the Namibian government. Namdeb management has approved the idea in principle.

One of the lodge project’s principals, a former Namdeb employee named Israel U.D. Kalenga, said the idea is crucial to the area’s development once the diamonds run out. The hope is to attract soccer fans who will be in the region for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and later to entice Namdeb employees to retire in Oranjemund and buy the houses they now rent. Aquaculture and retail are also possibilities for the town, Kalenga said.

Date: 2007-05-12 Time: 09.56 AM


» Official diamond imports into China up 95.4 percent in Q1
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Administration of China has reported that the import of diamonds into China equaled $188 million during the first quarter, 95.4 percent more than the amount reported for the same period in 2006.

In March alone, stated the Diamond Administration of China, diamond imports increased to $34.9 million, 257 percent more than the amount registered for the same month a year earlier.

Sources said that the decrease is to a decrease of VAT on the import of polished diamonds, which earlier this year fell from 17 percent to 4 percent.

Date: 2007-05-11 Time: 12.25 PM


» African countries set up diamond producers’ association
Source: AFNS

Africa’s biggest diamond producers met in Angola at the end of April to inaugurate the new African Diamond Producers Association. The countries involved—Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe—are also members of the Southern African Development Community.

Josef Iita, permanent secretary of the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy, said the new group has his country’s full backing. He said the group would work with the Kimberley Process to stop the trade in conflict diamonds.

Namibia’s government recently got De Beers to agree to provide 16 percent of the diamonds mined in the country through Namdeb, their 50-50 joint venture, to local polishing plants. South Africa and Botswana have also been pushing De Beers successfully for this kind of “beneficiation” of locally mined rough diamonds.

Date: 2007-05-10 Time: 09.56 AM


» UN Security Council lifts embargo on diamonds
Source: AFNS

The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to lift a six-year-old ban on the export of diamonds from Liberia that was introduced to stop proceeds from the sale of conflict diamonds from fueling wars across West Africa.

The move was welcomed by Alan Doss, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Liberia, who issued a statement congratulating the country's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her government for "working hard to meet the conditions required for the termination of the diamond sanctions and for compliance with the Kimberley Process."

In his statement Mr. Doss called on the Liberian Government "to further intensify its collaborative work with international partners and national stakeholders to ensure that the diamond certification scheme operates effectively for the benefit of all Liberians, including those communities involved in diamond mining."

The Security Council agreed to review, if necessary, its decision to lift the embargo within 90 days.

Date: 2007-05-09 Time: 16.30 PM


» Custom cell phone company offers diamond-encrusted
Source: AFNS

Yet another cell phone manufacturer is now offering handsets encrusted with diamonds.

The latest bling phones are offered by Amosu, founded by entrepreneur Alexander Amosu. The handsets are upgraded versions of the LG Shine, Motorola MOTOKRZR and other familiar brands, featuring gold plating, diamonds and hardwood finishes.

Costs of the handsets range from £200 (about $380) for a plain gold-plated model to £2,000 ($3,800) or even £1 million ($1.9 million) for the phones with diamonds.


Date: 2007-05-08 Time: 08.45 AM


» Survey pegs U.S. Mother’s Day jewelry sales at $2.1 billion
Source: AFNS

U.S. consumers planned to spend $2.1 billion on jewelry for Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 13), 32.8 percent of the total of $15.73 billion they plan to spend on all gifts for mothers, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

The Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council separately found that 16 percent of shoppers intended to give jewelry gifts this Mother’s Day. Earrings, necklaces and fashion rings are the three most popular styles, the survey indicated. For fine jewelry gifts, yellow gold was the top choice among 40 percent of respondents. White gold and sterling silver were distant seconds, selected by 16 percent of respondents. Half of all respondents planning to purchase fine jewelry or a watch for Mother’s Day gift intend to spend between $100 and $300.

Among mothers who wanted fine jewelry for the holiday, diamond jewelry is the top choice among 42 percent, compared to 37 percent in 2006, the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council found.

Specialty stores such as jewelers would be the purchase place for 37.5 percent of the gifts, the NRF found. Another 29 percent of Mother’s Day consumers would go to department stores, 24 percent would shop at a discount store, and 2.9 percent would buy from a catalog. Twenty percent would shop online, up from 16.9 percent last year.

Consumers were expected to spend an average of $139.14 for the holiday this year, compared to last year’s $122.16. The average male shopper planned to spend $172.91 this Mother’s Day, compared to women’s estimated $107.18. Shoppers in the 25-to-34 age group would spend the most this year at $151.42, followed by 35-to 44-year-olds at $147.30, 55-to-64-year-olds at $138.14 and 18-to-24-year-olds at $137.73.

Date: 2007-05-07 Time: 13.11 PM


» Barclays okays purchase of ABN AMRO for € 67 billion
Source: AFNS

Britain’s third largest naming concern, Barclays Plc, has agreed to buy Dutch-headquartered ABN AMRO Holding NV for 67 billion euros ($91 billion), in the largest ever recorded financial-services acquisition. ABN AMRO Global Diamond and Jewelry Group, which is located in Antwerp, is the largest financer of the international diamond trade.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Santander Central Hispano SA and Fortis has been scheduled to deliver a rival offer, but following Barclay’s announcement they canceled a scheduled meeting with ABN AMRO. However, said Joost de Graaf, of Kempen Capital Management in Amsterdam, as quoted by the Bloomberg news agency, “The whole world will now look at what RBS, Santander and Fortis will do. It would be an enormous surprise if they didn't make a counterbid.”

Barclays takeover of ABN AMRO will result in a banking house with some 217,000 employees and 47 million customers. After HSBC Holdings Plc, the new concern will have the second-highest market value among European banks.

Barclays offer comprises 3.225 new shares for each share of ABN AMRO, which amounts to 36.25 euros a share when the Dutch bank's final dividend is included. This bid is 33 percent higher than ABN AMRO's listed price on March 16. In a related deal, ABN Amro agreed to sell Chicago-based LaSalle Bank to Bank of America Corp.

Date: 2007-05-06 Time: 17.19 PM


» Rio Tinto diamond production down 20 percent
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto said it produced 5.033 million carats of rough diamonds in the first quarter of 2007, compared to 6.324 million carats in the first quarter of 2006, a decline of 20.4 percent.

Production at the company’s wholly owned Argyle Mine in Western Australia was 3.47 million carats of rough diamonds in the first quarter of 2007, compared to 5.214 million carats in the first quarter of 2006, a decline of 33.4 percent. The company blamed “low feed grade” and said that variability in feed grade and production rates will continue as the open pit operation approaches the end of its life and the underground operation starts.

The company’s 60 percent share of diamond production at Diavik was 1.551 million carats, a 45 percent increase compared with the first quarter of 2006, due to access to higher grade ore from the A154 South kimberlite pipe. At Murowa in Zimbabwe, the company’s 78 percent share of production was 12,000 carats, down 68.4 percent from the first quarter of 2006.

Rio Tinto also said it is doing diamond prospecting in India, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Botswana, Mauritania and Mali.

Date: 2007-05-05 Time: 10.23 AM


» De Beers alerts sightholders to rough diamond shortage
Source: AFNS

De Beers has reportedly sent a letter to Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sightholders in South Africa warning of a coming shortage of rough diamonds, especially stones weighing more than 2 carats.

The company reportedly blamed the coming shortage on the need to meet demands by southern African governments to supply locally mined rough to local diamond polishing firms.

The company advised sightholders to improve their manufacturing technology so that they can process a wider range of goods if they want to continue buying direct from the DTC.

Date: 2007-05-04 Time: 15.01 PM


» Drastic downsizing seen for De Beers’ Diamdel
Source: AFNS

De Beers has confirmed that it is looking to restructure its Diamdel sales operation, and to this end has entered a 30-day consultation period with the staff of the various Diamdel units. It is speculated that the move will result in a dramatic downsizing of the De Beers subsidiary, which supplies rough diamonds to diamond companies that are too small to be Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sightholders.

According to respected diamond analyst Chaim Even-Zohar, this downsizing will lead to the complete closure of Diamdel’s Shanghai and Hong Kong offices, the reduction of the main office in Antwerp to a skeleton staff numbering fewer than 10 people who will work mainly at collecting market information and testing prices, and the downsizing of the Israeli office to a representative office staffed by no more than one or two people, Even-Zohar said. De Beers has also decided that the South African office of Diamdel is superfluous, and most of the staff there are to be absorbed into the new State Diamond Trader, which De Beers has agreed to run for three years. In Namibia, too, Diamdel is now superfluous due to the creation of the new DTC Namibia.

Diamdel will continue to operate a full rough diamond marketing operation in India, where it operates a joint venture with the government-owned Hindustan Diamond Company, Even-Zohar said.

The changes will take place slowly so as not to disrupt the market and so that Daimdel employees can be relocated, but the news is likely to cause a major shock, especially in Israel, where De Beers officials had said as recently as last year that the size of the Diamdel office would be doubled. Diamdel will not be completely shut down, however, since when the European Commission stopped its investigation of De Beers’s Supplier of Choice program, it extracted a commitment from De Beers that it would keep selling rough diamonds to smaller manufacturers. The downsizing of Diamdel will reduce the quantity of rough diamonds available on the secondary market by $400 million to $600 million a year, Even-Zohar estimated.

Some of the reasons Even-Zohar cited for the downsizing are:
• The reduction in rough diamond sales from Alrosa to De Beers. The European Commission has required that these sales, which once totaled $500 million to $600 million a year, cease completely after the end of 2008;
• Diamdel sales were $480 million last year, which Even-Zohar estimates was $120 million below target and led to a loss of $30 million to $40 million;
• Diamond traders have been disappointed with inconsistent assortments from Diamdel;
• The European Commission had required De Beers to wall off Diamdel’s operations from the DTC’s, with the result that prices of rough diamonds charged by the former have been much lower than the prices charged by the latter, harming the DTC, and diamond companies can no longer “train” to become DTC sightholders by buying from Diamdel;
• Experienced Diamdel staff have been replaced by inexperienced people who rely on computers for diamond pricing; and
• De Beers’s acquiescence to demand by South Africa, Namibia and Botswana to “beneficiate” locally mined goods locally has led to shortages in the company’s internal supplies of some categories of rough, especially larger goods that are being sold to South African diamond cutters. Even-Zohar estimates that in recent years, De Beers has sold South African sightholders 60 percent more of these large stones than were produced in-country by its South African division.

Date: 2007-05-03 Time: 07.30AM


» UN resolution would lift ban on Liberian diamonds
Source: AFNS

The United States has introduced a draft UN resolution that would lift the rough diamond export ban the UN Security Council imposed on Liberia in 2001.

The diamond export ban was imposed because Liberian dictator Charles Taylor was using diamonds to finance brutal civil wars in his own country and neighboring Sierra Leone. The U.S. resolution says that Liberia has now made sufficient progress in complying with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the international system set up to stop the trade in conflict diamonds.

Although Taylor was ousted in August 2003 and is now in jail awaiting trial on war crimes charges, the UN Security Council has kept reimposing the ban for six-month periods, most recently last December 20, because successor regimes have been weak and corrupt. Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who was legitimately elected, has been lobbying intensively for the ban to be lifted.

The United Nations Security Council recently voted to prolong the mandate of the UN mission in Liberia for an additional six months, until September 20, 2007. It acknowledged in that resolution that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s government is working to restore control over the country’s natural resources, including diamonds.

Date: 2007-05-02 Time: 10.00 AM


» Mugabe calls for more government control of mining
Source: AFNS

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has called for greater governmental control over the diamond and gold mining industries, in order, he said, to combat rampant corruption and smuggling and ensure the revenues from these resources flow to the government.

He said a new bill toward that end will be introduced soon in the country’s parliament. In the past, Mugabe’s government has called for nationalizing 51 percent of all mines, but in his April 18 speech marking the 27th anniversary of Zimbabwean independence he did not raise that specific proposal.

Recent diamond smuggling cases have involved high level government officials. However, it is more likely that Mugabe sees diamonds and gold as a ready source of hard currency in a disastrous economy with hyperinflation in the 2,000 percent range and the Zimbabwe dollar valued at 25,000 to one U.S. dollar on the black market.

In his speech, Mugabe blamed profiteers for the hyperinflation and attacked the United Kingdom, the former colonial power. But most independent observers blame Mugabe’s rule and economic mismanagement for ruining a country once known as the breadbasket of Africa. Up to one-quarter of the population has fled, and the life expectancy is just 37 years for men, the lowest in the world.

The only international diamond mine in the country is Murowa, which is 78 percent owned by Rio Tinto. But production there in the first quarter was down more than two-thirds from the first quarter of last year.

Date: 2007-05-01 Time: 09.15AM


» Pluczenik opening diamond polishing plants in Botswana
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp-based Diamond Trading Company sightholder Pluczenik Group has opened a polishing plant in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, with the country’s President, Festus Mogae, on hand for the dedication ceremony.

Pluczenik officially started operations in Gaborone in January 2006, with an initial investment of $3 million. With the inauguration of the cutting plant, the company now has 100 local workers, a number that it expects to quadruple as operations ramp up.

Company Chairman and CEO Chaim Pluczenik said that the most modern laser diamond cutting equipment available will be brought onsite to keep labor costs down. This is expected to help the Botswana branch break even after five years. For now, the plant is using diamonds bought from the Diamond Trading Company in London, but it will switch to using locally mined stones when the Diamond Trading Company moves its sorting and aggregation operations to Gaborone next year, creating some 3,000 local jobs.

The Pluczenik Group also has offices in Ramat Gan, Detroit, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Tokyo. It joins a diamond manufacturing community in Botswana that includes Schachter-Namdar, an Israeli diamond company, and the Belgian-headquartered firm Eurostar. Together with Teemane Manufacturing Company and Diamond Manufacturing Botswana, these veteran polishers employ 1,000 Botswanans. Another Israel-based diamond manufacturer, Moti Ganz, will open a polishing plant in the country in May.

According to a local press account, Schachter-Namdar’s Botswana operations took 10 to 15 years to break even.


Date: 2007-04-30 Time: 07.32AM


» Analyst warns that export tax could cut South African diamond supplies
Source: AFNS

The inclusion of a 5 percent export tax, which is part of the South African government’s Diamond Amendment Act, may have the effect of cutting rough diamond supplies by up to 30 percent and, ultimately, result in the loss of about 5,000 mining jobs, said analyst James Allan, speaking at the Diamonds Africa 2007 conference in Johannesburg.

Allan said that the 5 percent export tax would create a price differential for local diamond cutters that could create an additional 500 jobs in the cutting industry, but added the “unintended consequences” would be a less competitive South African mining industry, which may result in a dramatic falloff in production and a much larger reduction in employment in the mining sector.

In Allan’s opinion, the local cutting industry can only be grown by reducing costs and improved productivity. He said that South African cutters find it very difficult to compete with India and China, when their cutting costs vary between $45 per carat $100 per carat, whereas in India the costs are between $1 per carat and $8 per carat and in China between $6 per carat $12 par carat.

For South Africa to become a major diamond beneficiation center, it would have to cut its production costs to not more than $20 per carat, Hotchreiter stated.

Another unintended consequence of the Diamond Amendment Act, Allan said, is that South Africa could become a diamond smuggling center.

Date: 2007-04-29 Time: 07.30AM


» Tzoffey’s auction to feature ‘million dollar’ chess set
Source: AFNS

The Paris-based auction house Tzoffey’s 1818 will offer a chess set reputedly worth $1 million at its May 9 auction in Dubai, at the end of the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) Congress. The chess pieces and board are made from more than 1 kg of gold set with 9,900 black and white diamonds. The set is being offered alongside a “million-dollar” backgammon set with white, black and other fancy color diamonds.

Tzoffey’s is also offering a heart shaped, intense yellow diamond weighing 22.26 carats and valued at almost $500,000; a pair of old mine, pear-cut emeralds weighing 56.46 carats, valued at approximately $200,000; a cushion-shaped, unheated ruby from Burma; and a 23.23 carat tsavorite known as the “Green King of Africa.”

The items are now on display at Tzoffey’s booth in the BaselWorld jewelry show in Basel, Switzerland, and will be put on display again in the days before the auction in the Al Murooj Rotana Hotel & Suites in Dubai’s business district, where the Congress is to be held. It is expected that gem dealers from at least 42 countries will take part in the congress, the ICA’s first in the region. The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre is cosponsoring the auction.

Date: 2007-04-28 Time: 12.25 PM


» HRD Research reacts to Apollo’s CVD news
Source: AFNS

HRD Research reacts to an article by industry analyst Chaim Even Zohar published last week on Idex Online that claimed some of the CVD synthetic diamonds manufactured by U.S. company Apollo Diamond can escape detection by gemmological equipment.
Yves Kerremans, Director of HRD Research, said the claims should be put in their correct perspective. “First, screening instruments are available on the market to help separate diamonds that are not synthetic from stones that need further investigation in a diamond lab. D-Screen, developed by HRD Research, and DiamondSureTM, produced by DTC, are examples of these screening instruments.”
He said that the instruments are compact and simple to use, and will select only a small fraction of stones on the market for additional sophisticated tests. These include surface luminescence imaging and photoluminescence spectroscopy, both essential to identifying CVD-created stones.
“HRD Research has invested a great deal in research on CVD synthetics and continues to expand its know-how on CVD characteristics by collaboration with several CVD producing universities and companies. The identification of CVD synthetic diamonds at HRD poses no problem.” Kerremans concludes: “Of course HRD Research looks forward to examine any recently produced CVD stone that is claimed by Apollo to be undetectable.”

Date: 2007-04-27 Time: 09.56 AM


» Robbers in Dubai get away with $13.6 million in diamond jewelry
Source: AFNS

Dubai police are searching for a gang of robbers, who armed with automatic weapon, smashed to cars through the glass doors of the Graff jewelry store in the upscale Wafi City shopping mall, and within two minutes had gotten away with $13.6 million in diamond jewelry.

According to police officials, the thieves, who were described at “highly skilled” looted the jewelry from four glass showcases in the front of the store.

The cars, both of which were stolen, were later found abandoned in Zabeel. The robbers had attempted to set them alight, but were successful in burning only one.


Date: 2007-04-26 Time: 12.25 PM


» Alrosa further tightens ties with Russian government
Source: AFNS

The Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa, which is controlled by the Russian government, has signed deal with the government’s Environmental, Engineering and Nuclear Supervisory Agency, Rostekhnadzor, to cooperate on industrial security, development of mineral resources and environmental protection.

The agreement, which runs through 2015, calls for cooperation to improve various environmental and technological aspects of Alrosa’s diamond mining, aggregation and polishing activities. Some 189.5 billion rubles ($7.3 billion) is to be spent over the entire length of the deal, 98.6 billion rubles ($3.8 billion) of that in the first five years alone, according to new Alrosa President Sergei Vybornov.

Vybornov said that underground operations will start before 2014 at the Mir, Udachny and Aikhal diamond mines. Mir, in Yakutia, is Alrosa’s largest mine, and has always been an open pit operation. The three mines together produce 5.5 million metric tons of kimberlite per year at present.

The Russian government is in the process of increasing its stake in Alrosa from 37 percent to just over half, primarily at the expense of the autonomous Republic of Yakutia, which has held a 32 percent stake. Until recently, local regions in Yakutia held an 8 percent stake and company officials the remaining 23 percent.

Date: 2007-04-25 Time: 09.56 AM


» Sierra Leone Diamond Company sells $4.5 million of rough
Source: AFNS

Sierra Leone Diamond Company Limited said it has sold in Antwerp 10,105.91 carats of rough diamonds at $440.96 per carat, for gross proceeds of $4.46 million, in its second sale of rough diamonds sourced wholly from its alluvial operations in the Kono district of Sierra Leone.

The company used Overseas Diamonds NV, a diamond marketing company based in Antwerp, to organize the sale in the Belgian diamond center. Seventeen diamond buyers attended. The company said the diamonds were sourced from production at the company’s alluvial operation from August 23, 2006 to February 23, 2007.

The sale included 13 “special” diamonds that weighed more than 10.8 carats each, for a total weight of 200.45 carats. These stones brought in proceeds of $958,000 at $4,780.38 per carat.

Seasonal rains hampered mining in the latter stages of 2006 and the company believes that actual results to date do not yet represent steady state levels of production. The company has been undertaking bulk sampling activities in conjunction with gravel mining to establish areas of viable grade and tonnage.

Sierra Leone Diamond Company is a U.K.-based diamond and mineral exploration and production company with interests wholly focused in Sierra Leone.

Date: 2007-04-24 Time: 16.30 PM


» Smolensk Kristall sales up 49 percent to $97 million
Source: AFNS

Russian state-owned polished diamond manufacturer Kristall Production Corp. (Smolensk Kristall) had polished diamond sales of $96.9 million in the first quarter, a 49 percent rise from $65.2 million in the first quarter of 2006. For 2006, sales were $358.2 million, a 3.2 percent increase.

The company, which is a Diamond Trading Company sightholder, attributed some of the growth to stronger sales of high-quality diamonds. In addition, the firm said that it was meeting its clients’ requirements better by starting more partnerships with jewelers, customizing orders for polished diamonds and doing more online sales.

Smolensk Kristall has offices in the major international centers of the diamond trade, including Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

Date: 2007-04-23 Time: 08.45 AM


» Gem Diamonds to pay $83 million for owner of Indonesian mine
Source: AFNS

Gem Diamonds, the British company that owns a 74 percent stake in the Letseng diamond mine in Lesotho, has made a cash offer of about £41.9 million ($83.2 million) for BDI Mining, which owns 80 percent of the Cempaka diamond mine in Indonesia. The offer would cover all issued share capital in BDI, which also owns 100 percent of the Woodlark Gold Project in Papua New Guinea through a wholly owned subsidiary. The book value of BDI’s gross assets on December 31, 2006 was $21.7 million. In 2006, the company had an operating loss of $4.6 million.

“We are pleased to have reached agreement with the BDI Mining Directors and that they have unanimously recommended Gem Diamonds’ offer to their shareholders,” Clifford Elphick, chairman and CEO of Gem Diamonds, said. “We believe that Gem Diamonds’ expertise in alluvial diamond mining, together with our intention to undertake additional investment in the Cempaka mine, will significantly enhance the operational performance of Cempaka.”

“We welcome Gem Diamonds’ offer for BDI Mining, which we believe fairly values BDI Mining and provides certainty to shareholders,” Lee Spencer, managing director of BDI Mining, said. “We have successfully commissioned and operated the Cempaka mine since March 2005. We have recently conducted exploratory work and, given the encouraging results, we have plans to increase the production capacity at Cempaka. Gem Diamonds provides both complementary technical skills and additional capacity for investment at a time of technical and implementation risk for BDI Mining.”

Gem Diamonds also has four diamond development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo and one in the Central African Republic. Recently, the company confirmed an agreement with Angolan partners that gives it an option to invest in the Chiri kimberlite concession in Angola. In February 2007, Gem Diamonds listed on the London Stock Exchange and raised more than $600 million to fund development of its existing assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic, as well as to pursue additional growth opportunities.

Cempaka is an alluvial diamond mine in southeastern Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia. The alluvial diamond deposits at Cempaka are in two concealed palaeochannels: Danau Seran, which has produced more than 70,000 carats, and Cempaka. The total contiguous area of the mine covers more than 8,000 hectares. A 30-year mine life was projected in 2003.

Date: 2007-04-22 Time: 13.11 PM


» Ontario proposed 13 percent diamond royalty angering De Beers
Source: AFNS

A 13 percent diamond royalty proposed in the March 22 Ontario provincial budget evoked strong objections from De Beers Canada, which is building the Victor Project diamond mine in the northern part of the province, with a scheduled opening next year.
“We are concerned about these apparently arbitrary changes to the tax structure so close to the start of production at Victor,” the company said, complaining that this proposed royalty “has not previously been covered in any dialogue between the industry and the Ontario government.”
“The future growth and sustainability of the mining industry in Ontario will be best served by a tax regime which is applied equally across the mining sector, is predictable, stable and nondiscriminatory,” the company said, adding that it “look[s] forward to the opportunity to work with the government on its proposed diamond royalty to ensure that the economic development implications for future exploration and mine development are clearly understood.”
De Beers Canada President and CEO Jim Gowans recently met with Ontario’s finance minister to underscore the point. In South Africa, by contrast, the government reduced its proposed diamond royalty from 8 percent to 5 percent.

De Beers is currently investing C$1 billion (U.S.,$880 million) in the construction at Victor, which it says will add approximately C$7 billion (U.S.$6.2 billion) to the Ontario economy.

Date: 2007-04-21 Time: 17.19 PM


» Belgium’s rough diamond exports rise 27.7 percent in March
Source: AFNS

Belgium’s rough diamond trade continued its surge in March, according to figures provided by the Diamond Office at Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), with exports worth $1.03 billion reported, 27.7 percent more than the $802.9 million that was reported in March 2006. In volume terms, a slightly slower but still steep increase of 18.3 percent was reported, with 13.2 million carats exported, compared to 11.2 million carats during the same month a year before.

Imports, although lower than exports in absolute terms, rose at an even higher rate. According to the Diamond Office, rough diamond imports totaled $966.4 million, 49.7 percent more than the $645.4 million reported a year before. Some 12.6 million carats of rough diamonds were imported in March, 23.1 percent higher than the 10.3 million carats imported during the corresponding month in 2006.

During the first quarter of 2007, rough diamond exports equaled $2.93 billion, 20.4 percent more than the $2.43 billion reported during the first three months of 2006. By volume, 39.8 million carats were exported, 17.6 percent more than the 33.8 million carats during the first quarter last year. Rough diamond imports rose 21.4 percent by value, climbing from $2.22 billion to $2.70 billion, and by 19.4 percent in volume, with 38.5 million carats exported during the first three months of 2007, compared with 32.3 million carats during the same period a year earlier.

“Clearly we are seeing a continuation and even an acceleration of a trend that has been visible for much of this year,” said Freddy Hanard, the AWDC Chief Executive Officer. “The rough trade, which slowed in 2006, has picked up strongly, most probably compensating for its lower level of activity last year. The fact is that, while rough sales decelerated in 2006, the market for polished diamonds was steady and even increased. Furthermore, there is a clear feeling that strong growth is imminent. Consequently, a market correction should always have been expected.”

Polished diamond exports, which equaled $1.01 billion in March, dipped by 2.3 percent from the $1.03 billion reported in March 2006. In volume terms, the decrease was more pronounced, 828,559 carats exported, 10.9 percent below the 930,293 million carats reported for March last year. During the first quarter, though, polished diamond exports increased by 4.2 percent to $2.62 billion, and by 1.3 percent to 2.36 million carats.

The two markets that showed the greatest increase in polished diamond imports from Belgium in March were the United Arab Emirates and China, which in dollar terms increased their intake by 46.2 percent and 83.7 percent respectively. The United States, Belgium’s largest export market, increased its purchases of polished goods from Antwerp by 9.8 percent. The falloff in exports was mainly a result of lower exports to Japan and the European market.

Date: 2007-04-20 Time: 10.23 AM


» Israeli arrested in connection with ABN AMRO theft in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

The prosecutor's office in Antwerp has confirmed that Eliser Mishali, an Israeli national, has been arrested in connection with a theft on March 5 of reportedly $28 million worth of diamonds from safety boxes at the branch of ABN AMRO Bank in the Antwerp diamond district.

Mishali, 47, was detained as he was trying to leave Frankfurt, Germany, and the Belgian authorities are now seeking his extradition. The police in Antwerp hope that he will shed light on the whereabouts of the main suspect in the robbery, as well as the location of the missing diamonds. The arrested man is considered an accomplice, and had spent the time since the robbery traveling in Germany and the Netherlands.

According to media reports, the main suspect in the case had presented himself at the bank as an Argentinean national about a year before the robbery, and was considered a regular customer. It is know believed that he was using a a passport that had been stolen in Israel several years ago. According to some media reports, he is 55 years of age and also is believed to be Israeli. He still may be acting under the assumed name of Carlos Flomenbaum.


Date: 2007-04-19 Time: 15.01 PM


» Harrods offers £1 million Easter Egg
Source: AFNS

Harrods, London’s legendary department store in Knightsbridge, has been highlighting its 2007 Easter season with a £1 million Easter Egg. Made of the famous Belgian “fondant-chocolate” the lucky buyer of the egg will also receive a diamond necklace, set with no fewer than 100 carats of polished diamonds.

For those chocolate lovers who may struggle to come up with the £1 million, there is a cheaper option. The egg, evidently, is pretty much the same as the more expensive item, but it comes packaged with less costly jewelry.

Harrods, which is London’s third most popular tourist destination after Buckingham Palace an the London Tower is known for its extravagant promotions. In 1976 its catalogue listed a live elephant, and the most expensive item ever listed was a € 12 million diamond necklace.

Date: 2007-04-18 Time: 07.30AM


» UN Liberia mission extended through September
Source: AFNS

The United Nations Security Council has voted to prolong the mandate of the UN mission in Liberia for an additional six months until September 20, 2007. It did acknowledge that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s government is working to restore control over the country’s natural resources, including diamonds.

The UN Security Council voted on December 20, 2006 to extend until June a rough diamond export ban it had imposed on Liberia in 2001. The diamond export ban was imposed because Liberian dictator Charles Taylor was using diamonds to finance brutal civil wars in his own country and neighboring Sierra Leone.

Although Taylor was ousted in August 2003 and is now in jail awaiting trial on war crimes charges, the UN Security Council has kept reimposing the ban because successor regimes have been weak and corrupt. Johnson-Sirleaf, who was legitimately elected, has been lobbying intensively for the ban to be lifted.

Date: 2007-04-17 Time: 10.00 AM


» Indigenous community also slams proposed Ontario royalty
Source: AFNS

The Attawapiskat first nations community, which lives close by De Beers’ Victor project, which is soon to become Ontario's first operating diamond mine, has added its voice to those criticizing the provincial government's new diamond royalty by calling it a tax grab that will negatively affect aboriginal residents.

"You and your officials are well aware that the only diamond mine in Ontario, and thus the only one to be immediately impacted by your decision, is located in the traditional territory of the Attawapiskat First Nation. Given the obvious importance of this project to our community and to future exploration in our lands, we should have been consulted," Chief Mike Carpenter of the Attawapiskat First Nation wrote in an April 4 letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"This increase constitutes little more than a tax grab by your government that will not benefit our first nation or others," Carpenter wrote.

De Beers Canada’s Victor project is about 90 kilometers west of the Attawapiskat First Nations community on James Bay.

Date: 2007-04-16 Time: 18.25PM


» Abandoned diamond ring auctioned off for $37,000
Source: AFNS

A 3.75 carat diamond ring with an estimated value of $85,000 was sold for $37,375 by Apple Tree Auction Center in Ohio.

The ring was found abandoned in a safe deposit box, and attempts to trace the rightful owner were unsuccessful.

The transaction took place through the Internet auction giant eBay, and the name of the private buyer was not disclosed.

Date: 2007-04-15 Time: 11.21AM


» Shore Gold finds rough diamonds in Saskatchewan
Source: AFNS

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based diamond mining company reported that it found 100.03 carats of rough diamonds at Fort a la Corne, Saskatchewan. The diamond mining site there is a joint venture between Shore Gold, which is the operator and has a 60 percent stake, and Newmont Mining Corporation of Canada Limited, which has a 40 percent interest.

The diamonds were found in 3,403.65 dry metric tons of kimberlite extracted from nine holes at the Orion North Kimberlite at the site. Grades were between 17 and 22 carats per 100 tons. The company said that 99 percent of these diamonds are commercial stones greater than 1.18 mm, the largest being a 3 carat gray stone. The company said that it and Newmont had budgeted about C$66.5 million (U.S.$57.7 million) to evaluate the Orion Kimberlite Cluster, in “the largest work program outlined for any of the Fort a la Corne kimberlites.”

In a separate development, Shore Gold is appealing an adverse ruling in its lawsuit over a diamond claim near Prince Albert. Two companies controlled by Richard Walker won a “first come, first served” claim for the site, and Queen’s Bench Justice Ronald Barclay backed their claim, although Shore Gold presented evidence that Walker’s representatives had physically blocked Shore Gold’s representatives from participating in a line at a government licensing office in June 2003. Shore Gold is seeking to have the case heard by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

Date: 2007-04-14 Time: 09.15AM


» South African State Diamond Trader to follow legislative plan
Source: AFNS

South Africa’s planned State Diamond Trader will follow the outline set forth in the Precious Metals and Diamond Amendment Acts, A.B. Mngolmezulu, deputy director general of the Department of Minerals and Energy, has said. The Minister of Minerals and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica, will provide further details in her May 30 budget speech to the country’s parliament.

De Beers has offered to run the State Diamond Trader for free for three years, but the Department of Minerals and Energy will completely own the new body, which will have an independent board of directors reporting directly to the agency. The State Diamond Trader will have the right of first refusal on South African mined diamonds and is expected to purchase about 10 percent of them for resale to domestic diamond manufacturing industries.

De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer has said that the South African diamond polishing industry, which pays $60 to $80 per carat in labor costs, cannot compete with low-wage cutting centers in India, where costs are $15 to $20 per carat, or China. Mngolmezulu said his agency will encourage local diamond polishers to find niche specialties, but added that the domestic polishing industry is fully capable of competing against the Indians.

Date: 2007-04-13 Time: 07.32AM


» DTC targeting Turkey’s consumer diamond jewelry market
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company (DTC) is working with local companies to boost Turkey’s diamond jewelry market toward the $1 billion mark. Retail diamond jewelry sales in the country have grown 20 percent in the last two years.

The DTC’s latest Turkish marketing campaign, dubbed “Lava: Energy of Love” consists of diamond jewelry pices with two center stones representing two lovers. Recommended retail pricing starts at $700, Turkish DTC Diamond Promotion Manager Esra Büyüközer said.

Local diamond jewelers are running their own marketing campaigns, many based on installment plans. Atasay started an “Installment-based Solitaire” campaign in advance of Valentine’s Day 2007. Altinbas has a campaign dubbed “Ritmi-Sema” and a collection called “Tolerance,” based on UNESCO’s declaration that 2007 is the Year of Tolerance. Zen has a campaign called Sur-i Sultani (Sultan’s City Wall), Aris has a campaign called “Eternal,” and Gilan is promoting diamond jewelry for special occasions.

Date: 2007-04-12 Time: 07.30AM


» Discoveries at Letseng mine launches Lesotho diamond rush
Source: AFNS

The well publicized discovery of several very large diamonds at the Letseng Diamond Mine in Lesotho, has encouraged other companies to investigate diamond mining in the Southern African kingdom, reports South Africa’s Business Day daily.

One of the companies is owned by Australian businessman Alan Bond, whose Diamonds, it was reported, had managed to raise privately the $25 million toward the building of a mine at Kao, northeast of Maseru. According to operators near Kao, there has been some excavation activity and a plant has been ordered.

Two other companies exploring in Lesotho are Angel Diamonds and Motapa Diamonds. Angel Diamonds is exploring the Kolo pipe, and Motapa Diamonds has begun an $8million, two-phase bulk-sampling program to evaluate the economic potential of its Mothae kimberlite prospect, 6.5 kilometers northwest of Letseng.

Gem Diamonds’ Letseng mine is currently producing 50,000 carats a year, but it plans to double that to about 100,000 carats a year. In December 2004, it turned up four diamonds weighing a total of 366 carats, and in October 2006 a 603-carat white stone was found at the site, the 15th largest diamond ever found.

A second diamond mine, Liqhobong, which is owned by European Diamonds, has been operating in Lesotho since last year. In December, it reported the discovery of a 27.7- carat diamond, which later was sold in Antwerp for $750,000.

Date: 2007-04-11 Time: 12.25 PM


» Aber Diamond sales up 11 percent in fiscal year
Source: AFNS

Aber Diamond Corp., which has a 40 percent stake in the Diavik diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, announced net earnings of $104.3 million on sales of $558.8 million for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2007—increases of 28.3 percent and 11 percent, respectively, compared to the previous fiscal year.

“The Diavik mine is developing both an underground mine and a new open pit while our jewelry business continues to open more salons in prime luxury retail locations,” Chairman and CEO Robert Gannicott said. The company finished buying out luxury jeweler Harry Winston during the fiscal year, he added.

Sales from the mining segment increased 6 percent compared to the previous year, but earnings from mining operations totaled $144.5 million, down 11.8 percent from $163.9 million the previous year, which the company attributed to “additional costs incurred during the year due to the early closure of the winter road in early 2006.” Aber’s share of rough diamonds recovered from the Diavik Mine was 3.9 million carats in calendar 2006, up 18.2 percent compared to 3.3 million carats in 2005. The company said it expects underground mining at Diavik to begin in 2008.

In the company’s fourth fiscal quarter, ending January 31, 2007, neat earnings were $27 million on sales of $154 million, compared to net earnings of $15 million on sales of $126 million in the corresponding quarter a year before. Aber’s share of rough stones from Diavik was 997,000 carats in the fourth quarter of calendar 2006, ending December 31, compared to 732,000 carats in the fourth quarter of 2005.

As a result of the acquisition of the balance of Harry Winston, working capital decreased to $164 million as of January 31, 2007 from $285.7 million as of January 31, 2006. Although it is a Canadian company, Aber reports in U.S. dollars.

Date: 2007-04-10 Time: 09.56 AM


» Alrosa net profit $599 million in 2006
Source: AFNS

Alrosa, the Russian diamond mining company, enjoyed net profits of 15.579 billion rubles ($599 million) in 2006, a 3.24 percent increase from the 2005 level of 15.09 billion rubles ($580 million).

The company produced $2.333 billion worth of rough diamonds, 2.4 percent over target. This figure includes the results of subsidiary Alrosa-Nyurba.

The Russian government is in the process of increasing its stake in Alrosa from 37 percent to just over half, primarily at the expense of the autonomous Republic of Yakutia, which has held a 32 percent stake. Local regions in Yakutia held an 8 percent stake and company officials the 23 percent balance.
Aber Diamond sales up 11 percent in fiscal year


Date: 2007-04-09 Time: 16.30 PM


» Diamond cricket balls to be awarded at Cricket World Cup
Source: AFNS

The best Indian player and the best international player at the Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies will be awarded diamond-studded cricket balls.

Mahima Choudhary, an Indian film actress, showed off the cricket balls at a function in Mumbai. Each ball contains 295.6 grams of yellow gold set with 5,728 princess cut diamonds with a total weight of 31.5 carats. They were designed by the Gitanjali Group, a major Indian jewelry firm.

The diamonds all measure 0.9 by 0.9 mm and are H-I color, VS-SI clarity. They all have grading certificates from the International Gemological Institute (IGI).

Date: 2007-04-08 Time: 09.10 AM


» Merger talks underway between ABN AMRO, Barclays
Source: AFNS

The Netherlands-based ABN AMRO Bank, a major financier of the international diamond and jewelry trade, may merge with the U.K.-based Barclays Bank, according to press reports. The two banks are valued at about $76 billion and $86 billion, respectively.

The reports indicate that if the merger goes through, the merged bank will be headquartered in Amsterdam, and the Dutch Central Bank will regulate it, but the holding company and board of directors will be British. ABM AMRO would nominate the first chairman and Barclays the first CEO.

Talks are still at an early stage, the two banks said. ABM AMRO has said it is interested in expanding into Asia, Italy and Brazil, and Barclays is said to be particularly interested in ABM AMRO’s Asian and other foreign holdings.

Date: 2007-04-07 Time: 08.45 AM


» U.S. retail diamond jewelry market sees fifth year of growth
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Information Center (DIC) at advertising agency JWThas said that retail sales of diamond jewelry in the United States increased 6.1 percent in 2006 to $35.2 billion in 2006, a $2 billion increase over 2005 sales of $33.2 billion. Average tickets grew 9.1 percent, even though transactions declined 2.7 percent compared to 2005. Strategic marketing initiatives helped make 2006 a robust year for diamond jewelry sales. The U.S. diamond jewelry market represents more than half the world’s total.

The DIC pointed to the introduction in 2006 of Journey Diamond Jewelry, which it said is responsible for some of the growth in the U.S. market. More than 1 million pieces of Journey Diamond Jewelry were sold in the second half of 2006, an increase of 41 percent in six months, the DIC said. “Three-Stone Diamond Jewelry” saw a 16 percent increase to almost $3.7 billion in sales in 2006, compared to 2005. There was a 14 percent increase in average price for three-stone pieces in 2006, compared to 2005.

The Diamond Right Hand Ring experienced double-digit growth for the third straight year in 2006, increasing 10 percent. Although some women buy these rings for themselves, men buy 69 percent of Diamond Right Hand Rings as a gift, the DIC said. Christmas was a prime selling season for these rings.

Holiday sales in 2006 totaled $5.5 billion, a 9 percent increase over 2005. One in four pieces of non-bridal diamond jewelry were bought for the holidays. The most popular items were necklaces, which grew 19 percent over 2005, in large part due to the introduction of Journey Diamond Jewelry, the DIC said.

In 2006, the total retail value for the diamond engagement ring category grew to $6.2 billion, up 8 percent over 2005. While the number of brides has been relatively constant, the category is growing due to increases in average price. Currently, diamond engagement rings have reached their highest average price ever—$3,200, compared to $2,633 five years ago.

Date: 2007-04-06 Time: 13.11 PM


» UME to buy SouthernEra's diamond exploration database
Source: AFNS

Uruguay Mineral Exploration Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement with Canada-based SouthernEra Diamonds Inc. to buy the latter’s Uruguayan diamond exploration database.

Under the terms of the agreement, SouthernEra will receive a cash payment of $20,000 (U.S.) and an additional 0.8 percent royalty on any net diamond sales from any diamond deposit discovered by Uruguay Mineral Exploration in Uruguay. A further 0.2 percent royalty will be paid to Mr. N.R. Baker, who has an interest in the database.

The database, which relates to exploration completed by SouthernEra and joint venture partners in Uruguay between 1993 and 2001, includes airborne geophysical survey data, heavy mineral results from reconnaissance and follow-up stream sample programs, electron microprobe analysis of selected kimberlite indicator minerals, and results of a diamond drill program.

The geophysical data includes 3,275 line km of airborne magnetic and electromagnetic data from surveys of four areas of northern Uruguay, all of which were completed during 1994 at a line spacing of 200 meters. Uruguay Mineral Exploration intends to process and interpret these data for kimberlite pipe-like targets.

“The database we have purchased comprises more than 500 sample points, and more than 800 electron microprobe analyses,” David Fowler, chief executive of Uruguay Mineral Exploration, said. “During the current quarter, we will incorporate this database, together with the processed geophysical data, into our diamond exploration program. We expect this to reduce the need for sampling in some areas and accelerate our exploration programme for the Cinco Rios project. During February 2007, we carried out a 50 meter line-spaced ground magnetic survey for a total of 200 line kilometers at Cinco Rios and identified targets, some of which have reported pyrope garnet and chrome spinel, that will be trenched during the current quarter. These recent results and the purchase of the database support our plan to continue to build value in the project prior to a farm out or initial public offering.”
Mwana Africa PLC recently said it wants to try to take over SouthernEra in a stock-for-stock transaction.

Date: 2007-04-05 Time: 09.00 AM


» Ireland's Appleby Jewellers designs $4 million diamond dress
Source: AFNS

Ireland’s Appleby Jewellers has produced a dress worth £2.4 million (Irish punts, equal to $4.1 million) because it is set with 4,000 diamonds.

The designer is Thomas Heverin of Sligo, Ireland, and model Tanya Alvarez wore it to the start of the Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. The sheer fabric used in the design is intended to provide the impression that the model is wearing little else but diamonds.

The jewelry house is offering a diamond pendant as a present to the winner of the Most Stylish Lady competition it is cosponsoring with Power Whiskey at the annual Irish Grand National race on April 9.

Date: 2007-04-04 Time: 16.30 PM


» Ekati Mine to give diamonds as prizes in races
Source: AFNS

The Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territories will give out four diamonds worth a total of almost $25,000 (U.S.) to the winners of two foot races and two ski races in the area.

One foot race and one ski race each will be held at each of two courses, the Diamond 300 kilometer and the K-Rock 160 kilometer. The two winners of the longer race will receive a 1 carat diamond each, and the two winners of the shorter race will get a 0.5 carat stone each.

Ekati is 80 percent owned by BHP Billiton and was Canada’s first diamond mine.

Date: 2007-04-03 Time: 14.15 PM


» Diamond-studded laptop to sell for $1 million
Source: AFNS

U.K. luxury goods manufacturer Luvaglio has announced plans to sell a $1 million laptop set with fancy color diamonds.

The diamonds will be used for the power button and other functional purposes, rather than just serving as decoration, said CEO Rohan Sinclair Luvaglio. Buyers will have a choice of colors and other features in the diamonds.

The computer will also boast top-of-the-line technological features such as a 17-inch LCD screen, 128 GB of hard drive space and a slot-loading Blue-Ray drive.

Date: 2007-04-02 Time: 16.45PM


» Debswana donates money to Botswana nature reserve
Source: AFNS

Debswana, the diamond mining company that is a 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government, has donated 1 million pula ($160,000) to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve.

The money is to be used to repair the electrical fence at the nature reserve. Debswana has been a major donor at the park since it opened in 1991, as former Botswana President Sir Ketumile Masire pointed out at the donation ceremony.

Masire called on park officials to seize the opportunity arising from the establishment of a world diamond center in the capital, Gaborone. He noted that the park could attract tourism that would diversify the country’s economy.


Date: 2007-04-01 Time: 07.50AM


» Bank of India opens branch in Antwerp diamond district
Source: AFNS

The Bank of India has officially opened its newest branch in the heart of the Antwerp diamond district. Established in 1906 in Mumbai by a group of influential businessmen, the Bank of India was nationalized in 1969. Starting out with a single branch, it grew to include 2,644 branches across India, and 24 branches or representative offices in foreign centres, including London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. Its latest foreign branch is Antwerp, and there it will specialise in providing services to the diamond trade.

Freddy Hanard, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, issued a warm greeting to Antwerp’s newest financial provider: “In the diamond business, the financing of transactions is more important than it is in any other sector. The addition of specialized diamond banks provides a very positive impetus to Antwerp, as it does to the banks, especially if you consider the risks involved. The Bank of India’s arrival in our city provides evidence of the confidence felt in our diamond sector, and in particular in the way it is regulated and maintained. This sense of confidence and trust is essential to diamantaires.”
The arrival of the Bank of India represents a strengthening of the Antwerp diamond district’s financial sector. While the Belgian-headquartered Dexia Bank left the diamond scene in 2006, there are today three Indian banks in Antwerp, with ICICI and now the Bank of India joining the long-time Antwerp resident, the State Bank of India. They work alongside ABN Amro and the Antwerp Diamond Bank, the international diamond sector’s two largest financial service providers. Another organization which is making a move into the sector is Bank J. Van Breda & Co, which has just taken on its first client and is looking forward to a promising future.


Date: 2007-03-31 Time: 07.32AM


» Diamond Fields International announces record average sales prices
Source: AFNS

Diamond Fields International Ltd. is pleased to announce that a Company record average sales price of US$258 per carat has been realized for diamonds produced from joint operations mining with Bonaparte Diamond Mines NL

The first parcel of 1,343 carats of marine diamonds produced from Namibian offshore mining in the Diaz Prospect 1 (DP1) joint operations area with Bonaparte, has been sold in Belgium at an average value of US$258 per carat, for total sales revenue of US$346,342. This is the highest average per carat price received for diamonds recovered in the Company's ML111 license area and reflects the high quality and larger average stone size in the DP1 area. The parcel included a 1.78ct fancy pink diamond that realized a price of US$25,888 and at US$14,544 per carat this is also the highest per carat price received for an individual rough stone.

The initial 1,343 carats was produced in the first 17.5 days from commencement of mining in DP1 on January 27, 2007. Since then, continued mining on the first anchor spread location up to March 12, 2007, has produced an additional 2,725 diamonds weighing 1,393 carats at an average size of 0.51 carats/stone. Total production from commencement of mining to date is currently an estimated 2,736 carats.

During February, availability of the dual airlift mining system was below optimal capacity due to problems with certain mechanical components requiring repair or replacement. These engineering works have now largely been completed and improvement in mining system availability and production is therefore now anticipated.

Bonaparte has the right to 30% of the proceeds from the sale of diamonds recovered during the mining operations and is obligated to pay 30% of the operating and sales costs. The diamond sale was executed via DFI's existing sales agreement with Diamond Tenders (Belgium) NV in Antwerp, Belgium.

Since mining operations recommenced in late November 2006 and prior to the commencement of joint operations mining with Bonaparte, an additional 3,385 carats of diamonds have been recovered and sold for total revenues of US$630,440 at an average price of US$186 per carat with such revenues being entirely attributable to DFI.

DFI's President and CEO, Roger Daniel commented, "We are very pleased with the sales results of the first parcel mined in terms of the mining agreement with Bonaparte. The significant increase in value per carat for diamonds recovered from the DP1 area strongly reflects the larger average stone size and high quality of these goods."

Roger J. Daniel, B.Sc. (Hons) Geology, London, Pr.Sci.Nat., the Company's President and CEO, is a Qualified Person in terms of National Instrument NI43-101 and has compiled and reviewed the scientific and technical information contained in this News Release.

Date: 2007-03-30 Time: 07.30AM


» Marjan Diamonds creates new solitaire jewelry setting
Source: AFNS

Marjan Diamonds has launched a jewelry collection to complement its unique branded diamond range, NENOIR. It has teamed up with multi-award-winning UK jewelry design house, GE RAKIO, to create an exclusive range of solitaire jewelry settings which enhance the beauty of NENOIR diamonds.

NENOIR is a CanadaMark™ diamond brand, launched in the UK in 2006. It is the first-ever diamond to guarantee consumers First Private Ownership (FPO™). Each diamond is accompanied by a complete life biography, which starts at the mines of Canada's Northwest Territories and ends with a personalized registration to the consumer; the ‘First Private Owner’. It is primarily targeted at the engagement ring market, where consumers most value the emotional significance of this individual and personal connection with their diamond.

This concept is now being extended to the setting. “Today we are taking NENOIR a step further,” said Ali Nasser, managing director of Marjan Diamonds. “We will be the first national brand to offer the consumer ultimate flexibility over the setting of their diamond. Our retailers will now be selling NENOIR diamonds either loose, pre-set in a ring of their own design or set in the branded NENOIR solitaire collection exclusively designed by our jewelry partner GE RAKIO.”

GE RAKIO is an established jewelry house, with a reputation for exemplary quality and elegant design amongst many top retailers in the UK and Europe. Its experience and specialization in the bridal market make it a perfect partner for NENOIR. Creative director of GE RAKIO, Georgio Gerakio, said: “we are delighted to be working with NENOIR on this exciting collaboration, to bring out the unique essence of the brand in a dazzling collection of jewelry”. The collection is composed of 7 distinct solitaire ring designs, with complementary earring and pendant pieces. Each design is available in platinum, or 18kt white or yellow gold.

The exclusive branded NENOIR jewelry collection will be available to selected retailers from March 2007. All retailers will enjoy regional exclusivity and the benefits that the NENOIR support program provides.

Date: 2007-03-29 Time: 12.25 PM


» WDC to meet in Jerusalem May 9-10
Source: AFNS

The World Diamond Council (WDC) plans to hold its fifth annual meeting May 9-10 in Jerusalem, Israel.

The organization’s purpose is to stamp out conflict diamonds by strengthening the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which counts 71 countries as signatories.

De Beers’ Managing Director Gareth Penny said the WDC has succeeded in reducing conflict diamonds to less than 1 percent of all rough diamond production in the world, and added that the upcoming meeting is an opportunity for the industry and nongovernmental organizations to join together to help stamp out conflict diamonds completely.

The WDC represents more than 50 diamond mining companies, trade associations, manufacturers, and retailers from around the world. It was set up in Antwerp in 2000.

Date: 2007-03-28 Time: 09.56 AM


» Growth in Belgian rough diamond trade outpaces polished
Source: AFNS

Belgium’s diamond trade exported $1.63 billion worth of rough stones in the first two months of 2007, a 17 percent increase. It imported $1.58 billion worth of rough stones, a 10 percent increase.

In February, the figures were $910.4 million worth of rough diamond imports, a 15.4 percent increase, and $936.9 million worth of rough diamond exports, a 7 percent increase, according to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

The figures for polished stones were $1.49 billion worth of exports in the first two months of 2007, an 8.7 percent increase, and $1.43 billion worth of polished imports, a 2.9 percent increase, which meant the trade exported about $60 million more than it imported.

In February, Belgium exported $859.7 million worth of polished stones, a 7.3 percent increase, and imported $712.4 million worth of polished stones, a 4.2 percent increase, making net polished exports for the month $147.3 million.

Date: 2007-03-27 Time: 11.50 AM


» Stolen diamond found in jail shower drain
Source: AFNS

A high-quality 2-carat diamond stolen almost two years ago was recovered in Orange County, California, recently, 14 months after the man who allegedly stole it reportedly threw it down a shower drain during a raid by jail guards.

Bret A. Langford, 39, allegedly stole the stone in a snatch-and-grab from Karim Ayoub at Jewelry Express on April 8, 2005, but Costa Mesa, Calif., Police caught him and his girlfriend after a car chase soon afterward and recovered the diamond’s certificate from the car’s gas tank.

Langford allegedly kept swallowing and regurgitating the diamond as he was moved to different jails, according to sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino. The alleged thief reportedly wanted the stone for a wedding ring, and even got a private investigator to get a court order for the search that found it, but it will now be returned to the jewelry store.


Date: 2007-03-26 Time: 13.10 PM


» Sierra Leone diamond to auction 10,000 carats of rough
Source: AFNS

The Sierra Leone Diamond Company announced that it is planning to hold an auction toward the end of March of more than 10,000 carats of rough diamonds at an average value of $379.67 per carat.

The company said it has discovered kimberlite deposits at Lake Popei in the West African country, and is drilling to gain more information. The results are expected to be made public by the end of April.

Sierra Leone’s diamond mining industry has been making a steady recovery since the end of the devastating civil war depicted in the recent movie Blood Diamond, but problems remain.

Date: 2007-03-25 Time: 09.11AM


» Jwaneng profits 80 to 90 percent of revenue, official says
Source: AFNS

Profits at the Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana are an astounding 80 to 90 percent of the $2 billion a year revenues, General Manager Dale Ekmark told the Dallas Morning News.

The mine is one of four run by Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government.

Last year it produced 15.7 million carats of rough, for which De Beers paid Debswana an average of $125 a carat, the newspaper said. If the polished stones sell for $5,000 a carat, the markup from mine to jewelry store is some 3,900 percent, the article added.

Jwaneng operates around the clock all but 13 days a year, and is projected to exhaust its diamond reserves in 2032, according to Ekmark.

Date: 2007-03-24 Time: 18.50 PM


» SouthernEra finds diamonds in Congo-Kinshasa
Source: AFNS

SouthernEra Diamonds said it has found 3,124 diamonds totaling 348.11 carats in initial bulk sampling at its wholly owned Badibanga Alluvial Diamond Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).

The program is continuing with the objective of extracting a representative 2,000 carat parcel for valuation, which it expects to finish by the end of this quarter.

Badibanga is one of SouthernEra’s two large alluvial diamond projects and is located in Kasai Oriental Province, approximately 60 km northwest of the producing Mbuji-Mayi kimberlite diamond region.

The company said that historical reports indicate that between 1926 and 1955, when Congo-Kinshasa was a Belgian colony, the Belgian mining companies Forminiere, E.K.L. and Socieite de Miniere du Beceka mined more than 194 million carats in the area within and adjacent to SouthernEra’s permits.

SouthernEra, which is based in Canada, is also evaluating a second alluvial project area in Congo-Kinshasa. The 70 percent owned Tshikapa alluvial diamond project is underway as a joint venture with two local companies.

The company also carries out alluvial and kimberlite diamond exploration elsewhere in Congo-Kinshasa, as well as in other countries, including Canada and South Africa. The company also owns the Klipspringer Diamond Mine in South Africa and maintains an 18 percent free-carried interest in the Camafuca Diamond Project in Angola.

Date: 2007-03-23 Time: 10.00 AM


» Polished and rough diamond exports rise strongly in February.
Source: AFNS

Exports of both rough and polished diamonds from Antwerp climbed strongly in February, capping an optimistic start to the 2007 during which trading activity has picked up smartly. Polished diamond exports equaled $859.5 million, 7.3 percent more than the $801.0 million reported in February 2006, and in terms of volume a 4.26 percent increase was recorded.

Rough diamond exports rose even more sharply in February, with exports worth $936.9 million, 6.9 percent more than in February 2006, when $876.1 million worth of rough diamonds were exported. The volume of rough diamond exports also rose in February, with 11.6 million carats sold, 1.7 percent above the 11.4 million carats reported for the same month a year earlier.

Among Antwerp’s key polished diamond markets showing the most dramatic improvement were China, which increased the value of its imports by 95.4 percent; and the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland, whose imports of Belgian polished rose by 43.8 percent, when compared to the amounts imported in February 2006.

Imports of polished diamonds in February totaled $712.4 million. 4.2 percent higher than the $683.7 million reported in February 2006. By volume, polished diamond imports dipped 6.3 percent. Rough diamond imports rose dramatically, climbing 15.4 percent to $910.4. By volume, the increase was even more significant, with 12.6 million carats sold, 18.3 percent more than during the same month a year earlier.

“February showed much of the same activity that we saw in January, albeit at a slightly slower rate of increase,” said Philip Claes, the spokesperson of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). “In essence, this appears to indicate the general sense of optimism in the diamond jewelry markets. Following a somewhat slow year, there is an apparent need to refill depleted stocks, and that would suggest that retailers expect business to pick up over the course of the year.”

Date: 2007-03-22 Time: 08.45 AM


» Qatar and Belgium to sign tax agreement
Source: AFNS

Qatar and Belgium together are expected to end double taxation on goods during 2007, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht said during a visit to Qatar last week. The comments came as Belgium opened an embassy in Qatar.
Diamonds in particular represent a fast-rising element of exports, according to Belgium's new ambassador to Qatar Guy De Lauwer.
Belgium's exports to Qatar in 2006 are predicted to show a rise of two-thirds to 190 million euros.
Prince Philippe of Belgium is expected to visit Qatar with a trade delegation in the second half of this year at which time an investment protection agreement is expected to be signed, according to de Gucht.
De Lauwer said that there were efforts underway to arrange for direct flights between the countries as well.

Date: 2007-03-21 Time: 10.00 AM


» Ice road to Canadian diamond mines in good shape
Source: AFNS

Ice road to Canadian diamond mines in good shape
The ice road used to truck supplies to the diamond mines in Canada’s far north is in much better shape this year than it was last year. In 2005-06, unseasonably warm weather forced the road’s early closure before the usual date in early April, and the diamond mines had to fly in fuel and equipment at a much higher cost, resulting in some work being postponed until this season.

The road consists of ice more than one meter thick, stretching 570 km to a spot northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

It costs more than C$10 million (U.S.$8.5 million) for the coalition of diamond mining companies that contribute to it to create each year. At present, the road is servicing the Diavik, Ekati and Snap Lake mines in the Northwest Territories (the latter is scheduled to open later this year) and Jericho in Nunavut.

This year, there was better advance preparation before the road opened on January 28. It has already carried more than 7,000 truck loads, compared to 6,906 for all of last year’s season. The number of truck loads is expected to reach 10,000 by the time the road closes this spring.

Date: 2007-03-20 Time: 08.45 AM


» Gem Diamonds sells 215-carat stone for $8.3 million
Source: AFNS

Gem Diamonds said it sold a single 215-carat, D flawless diamond in Antwerp on February 28 to Omega Diamonds for $8.3 million. The stone was mined at Gem Diamonds’ 76 percent-owned Letseng Diamond Mine in Lesotho on January 26.

At the same Antwerp tender, Gem Diamonds sold two other D flawless stones from Letseng—a 66 carater for $1.2 million, and a 54 carater for $1.4 million.
An expansion is currently underway at Letseng and is expected to approximately double production by the second quarter of 2008, once it is operating at full capacity.
Based on projected production levels of 430,000 metric tons per month, the lifespan of Letseng is put at approximately 35 years. The minority owner of what is reputedly the world’s highest elevation diamond mine is the Kingdom of Lesotho itself.
Gem Diamonds issued shares on the London Stock Exchange in February, in an offering directed at institutional investors.

Date: 2007-03-19 Time: 09.35AM


» CIBJO 2007 Congress kicks off in Cape Town
Source: AFNS

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, opened its 2007 congress in Cape Town, South Africa, on Monday with a call by the South African Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, to take an active role in the creation of sustainable development programmes in African countries that supply the bulk of the industry’s raw materials.

The Deputy President previously served as South Africa’s Minister of Minerals and Energy, and was one primary instigators of the Kimberley Process.

In his opening address, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri outlined the theme of the 2007 congress, which concerns the role of the jewellery industry as a responsible and sustainable force. “In many regions of Africa, the greater jewellery industry is not viewed primarily as an enterprise that produces luxury items, but it is considered a business that provides employment and support to many millions of people. It also should offer those people the promise of a better future,” he said.

The keynote speech was delivered by De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer.He praised the progress of the new South Africa in righting the wrongs of its apartheid past, and said De Beers embraced the changes taking place, particularly black empowerment in which it was playing a part.
He praised the progress of the new South Africa in righting the wrongs of its apartheid past, and said De Beers embraced the changes taking place, particularly black empowerment in which it was playing a part.

He also paid tribute to CIBJO for transforming the global jewelry industry into a more united body which was “a far cry from the fractured, discordant and frankly often ineffective organisation of the past.”

Oppenheimer said that partnerships and unity were the theme of his speech, and saluted the work of the worldwide diamond and jewelry industry bodies, including the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers’ Association.

He also pointed to the work of the World Diamond Council in the fight against conflict diamonds and the establishment of the Kimberley Process.

Oppenheimer then spoke of the importance of consumer confidence issues, such as maintaining a high reputation and the need to ensure that all diamond and jewelry companies operated in a transparent and legal manner.

He called for action regarding small-scale miners so they can receive a fair wage and to bring them into the formal, legitimate industry.

In this regard, he mentioned the work of the Diamond Development Initiative and called on CIBJO to become involved in its work.

He ended by calling on members “to ensure that our business is a key component of the campaign to “make poverty history.”

Later in the day, the the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices (CRJP) recognized Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council, as a Friend of the Council. The honor acknowledges Izhakoff's commitment to the promotion of responsible practices in the international diamond industry.

Date: 2007-03-18 Time: 18.50 PM


» Thief steals $28 million of diamonds from ABN Amro Bank in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

Rough and polished diamonds worth $28 million have been stolen from ABN Amro Bank in Antwerp. A $2.6 million reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a man who stole the goods, although Belgian police have not disclosed who is offering the reward.

Employees of the Antwerp ABN Amro bank, situated in the heart of the Antwerp diamond district, noticed on March 5 that several vaults from the safe room had been broken open. Although these were mostly used by the bank itself as safes for guarantees in the form of diamonds, some diamantaires also had access to the safe room.

The stolen gems amount to 120,000 carats and include some exceptional stones. These include a 133.20 carat long-shape rough diamond of good quality, 41 blue round brilliant cut diamonds weighing a total of 13 carats, an important lot of pink and yellow rough diamonds, and two natural green pear shape diamonds of 5.42 carats and 3.61 carats.

Belgian police suspect a man who was the last person to leave the vault room on March 2 and the first to enter on March 5. The man was a regular customer of the Antwerp diamond district bank. He had access to the vault room and was known as Carlos Hector Flomenbaum, born on September 27, 1947. Authorities are now certain he used a false identity. A passport with that name was stolen from Israel several years ago.

The suspect has now disappeared, but almost certainly lived in Antwerp for the past year. Based on images taken by the security cameras and reports from eye witnesses, the suspect is reported to be about 6 feet tall (1.90 meters) and has gray hair and scaly skin. He is between 55 and 65-years-old and speaks American English. He was always dressed in a suit, wearing a baseball cap.

Any useful information on the man and the stolen diamonds, can be reported to the Belgian police on +32 800 91119.

Date: 2007-03-17 Time: 16.30 PM


» Oscar ceremony actress wears diamond shoes
Source: AFNS

Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose, who co-starred in 2006's hit film Dreamgirls, wore the Stuart Weitzman Diamond Dream Shoe to the 79th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night.

The Diamond Dream Shoe was created exclusively for Rose, who performed ‘Patience’, one of three Best Original Song nominations from the film at the Oscar ceremony.

The shoe was a silver evening shoe with a stiletto heel, adorned with 1,420 individual brilliant cut Kwiat diamonds, weighing over 30 carats.

The diamonds were set in platinum circles, and the shoes are worth $500,000.

“As Anika pursues and accomplishes her dream, I wanted to recognize this young actress by creating a luxuriously glamorous shoe for her to wear down the red carpet on Hollywood's most celebrated evening,” said designer Stuart Weitzman.

She starred opposite Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson in the film.

Date: 2007-03-16 Time: 14.15 PM


» DDC launches Grand Market Week
Source: AFNS

New York’s Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) hosts Grand Market Week 2007 on February 27 and 28. The event features a range of loose diamonds and colored stones on the DDC’s 25,000 square foot trading floor at 580 Fifth Avenue and 47th Street.

The event also features seminars to provide retailers with vital information and guidance on how to raise diamond sales and profits, and staying ahead of competitors.

DDC President Jacob Banda said, “Grand Market Week is a very exciting event for wholesalers and retailers to come together on the DDC’s diamond trading floor.

“We have an exciting selection of diamonds and colored stones from premier wholesalers and manufacturers and a dynamic range of seminars. We invite retailers and wholesalers to register and join us for this event.”

Date: 2007-03-15 Time: 13.34 AM


» Monroe Minerals raising $1.3 Million
Source: AFNS

Calgary, Alberta-based diamond mining company Monroe Minerals Inc. said it is seeking to raise up to Can.$1.5 million (U.S.$1.29 million) in a stock offering.

The company said it will use the proceeds of the offering for diamond exploration, buying uranium properties and for general working capital purposes. The offering is subject to regulatory approval.

Monroe Minerals has been reevaluating its strategy since its mining application for the London Mine in South Africa was rejected late last year by the country’s Department of Minerals and Energy due to what President and CEO Derek Moran called a “misunderstanding regarding Monroe’s Black Economic Empowerment credentials.”

The company said it would file a new application instead of appealing the rejection.

Date: 2007-03-14 Time: 17.19 PM


» BHP Billiton exploration spurred by diamond forecasts
Source: AFNS

Global diversified miner BHP Billiton is pushing its joint venture diamond projects in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo following predictions that more than half of the world's diamond supply will come from sub-Saharan Africa, Alberto Calderon, the president of the group’s diamonds and speciality products division, said.

Calderon said Billiton and its partners held nine or 10 concessions in Angola and large tracts of prospecting land in the Congo.

In the Billiton joint venture with Petra Diamonds at Alto Cuilo in Angola, kimberlites have been discovered in 90 percent of the anomalies or prospective diamond sites identified in initial surveys.

This is unusually high and compares with an average of around 50-60 percent. The partners are focusing on five or six of the best kimberlite pipes and were drilling the second of these, Calderon said.

It will take some months before results will be published, but exploration was at a very interesting stage, he added. If all goes well, the partners would move into a pre-feasibility study.

He explained that Billiton's second joint venture in Angola, with Portuguese bank Escom, involves three concessions covering 12,000 square km, but this was at an earlier stage of exploration.

In the Congo, Billiton's joint venture with SouthernEra Diamonds has identified sites where drilling will begin shortly. Its second joint venture with Gravity Diamonds is also at an earlier stage.

Billiton has invested $2-$3 million in a diamond analysis laboratory in Johannesburg aimed at speeding up the results analysis process to around three months from eight months. “We are still years away from production, but we are on the right track,” Calderon said.

Date: 2007-03-13 Time: 10.23 AM


» De Beers Canada to supply NWT with part of Snap Lake output
Source: AFNS

De Beers Canada and the government of the Northwest Territories (NWT) announced that the miner will make 10 percent of its Snap Lake diamond mine output available to a secondary diamond industry in the NWT.

The arrangement also calls for De Beers Canada to provide diamond-sorting training for NWT residents.

Once construction of Snap Lake is completed, it will be De Beers’ first mine outside of Africa and Canada’s first completely underground diamond mine. The mine is expected to produce 1.4 million carats of diamonds annually and employ 400 workers at full production..

Construction is due to be completed this summer, with the mine’s life estimated at 20 years.

Snap Lake’s diamond output will be sorted in Yellowknife, and prepared in London for sale to clients of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC).

NWT Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Brendan Bell said, “I am confident that Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT)-approved manufacturers, who qualify as DTC clients, will have equitable access to Snap Lake rough diamonds and that we will be able to certify these diamonds as mined, cut and polished in the NWT.”

The GNWT also has supply agreements with the two other diamond mining operations in the NWT, Diavik and Ekati.

Date: 2007-03-12 Time: 15.01 PM


» Leviev planning Russian diamond offering
Source: AFNS

Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev is planning to bring together his Russian diamond interests, creating a vertically integrated mining, manufacturing, and retailing group which will be sold to investors in a public shareholding offering (IPO).

It has not yet been decided where the IPO will take place.

Leviev’s diamond business turnover is estimated at $2.5 billion with mining assets in Angola and Namibia, as well as in Russia, and he also has substantial commercial real estate worldwide.

Leviev's Moscow representative, Valery Morozov said the Russian assets include a small alluvial mining concern, Uralalmaz, Ruis Diamonds, Leviev's Moscow manufacturing plant, Kama Kristall, a smaller cutting plant in Perm, and the Moscow Jewellery Factory, which operates at the same premises as Ruis.

“We wish to become more transparent and clear for investors,” Morozov told Mineweb.com. “In the future we can take the company on to a stock exchange, issue debt paper, or involve bank credits. Different ways for attracting finance will be considered. It is necessary to investigate further to judge how the market will accept the new company.”

Morozov estimates that Uralalmaz produced about 60,000 carats from central Russian regional operations last year, and generated sales revenues of about $30 million. Ruis is currently producing about $300 million worth of polished goods per annum, he said.

Morozov told Mineweb that a $300 million asset valuation for the consolidated group was “too pessimistic”.


Date: 2007-03-11 Time: 08.26AM


» Little change in prices, assortments at DTC sight of 2007
Source: AFNS

Prices and assortments at the second Diamond Trading Company sight of 2007 were mostly unchanged.

The amount of goods sold was estimated at $650 million to $680 million, according to media reports.

Sightholders reported that they could receive premiums of 10 percent to 20 percent on boxes. The high-end figure applies to ‘Indian goods.’

The DTC also was reported to have cut levels on its Intention to Offer for the first half of 2007.

Date: 2007-03-10 Time: 07.32AM


» 2003 HRD Awards top design also a laureate in Hong Kong
Source: AFNS

The winners of the HRD Awards diamond jewelry design contest in 2003 have also been named as laureates in Hong Kong International JDI Competition, which is widely regarded as the Champions League of jewelry design.

Brazil’s Adriano Mol and Fernando Maculan, who took top prize in the 2003 HRD Awards contest with their "Hidra" design, a dog collar made from white gold, polymer and featuring 56 brilliant cut diamonds weighing 12.53 carats, were awarded the “Innovation & Uniqueness in Design” prize in the Hong Kong International JDI Competition.

Said Jennie Baeten, HRD Special Event Manager: “The HRD (Antwerp World Diamond Centre) welcomes the initiative of the JDI Competition. Winning the Innovation & Uniqueness in Design proves the importance of creativity in contemporary diamond jewelry design. The HRD Awards were introduced to stimulate creativity and innovation in the contemporary diamond jewel. Throughout the years the contest has become an ideal stepping stone for many talented designers, and the best proof is the result in the 2006 JDI Award Competition. On this occasion I would like to congratulate the winners Adriano and Fernando.”

The Hong Kong International JDI competition was held in December 2006. Its object is to promote design excellence. Some 92 entries from 28 countries were entered, including the winners of HRD Awards, which in 2003 featured jewelry inspired by the theme of “Movements.”

Date: 2007-03-09 Time: 08.45AM


» Mugabe threatens takeover of Zimbabwe diamond mines
Source: AFNS

Zimbabwe head of state President Robert Mugabe threatened a government takeover of the country’s diamond mines in a late February interview.

He said that only the government would mine diamonds and accused diamond exploration companies of illegally selling the goods they have been finding.

The country has only two functioning diamond mines: Murowa, in which international mining giant Rio Tinto holds a 77.8 percent stake, and River Ranch, which was seized by people with political ties to Mugabe’s regime.

Mugabe did not use the word nationalization and did not mention Rio Tinto, and the company said it did not feel that Mugabe meant to refer to it. The government had previously threatened to nationalize 51 percent of all mines in the country.

A third diamond site, Marange, which is located in the eastern part of the country, was owned by African Consolidated Resources but was overrun last year by illegal freelance diggers and was then taken over by the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp.

Andrew Cranswick, CEO of African Consolidated Resources, said that Mugabe’s threat would put an end to diamond exploration in Zimbabwe if carried out. His company has been trying to fight its expropriation in court.

Date: 2007-03-08 Time: 19.29PM


» Ghana braces for Kimberley Process inspection
Source: AFNS

Ghana has established better controls over rough diamond exports ahead of a scheduled March 26 visit by a delegation from the Kimberley Process, according to Dominic Fobih, the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines.

Ghana and Mali have allegedly served as trans-shipment points for conflict diamonds mined by rebels in nearby Cote D’Ivoire, according to reports.

Fobih said Ghanaian authorities are being trained to recognize diamonds that are not of local origin and should not be issued with the certificates.

If the Kimberley Process delegation finds that Ghana’s progress is unsatisfactory, it could recommend that the country be suspended from participation, effectively shutting down its legal diamond exports.

Date: 2007-03-07 Time: 17.19 PM


» Diamond shirt weighs more than 300 carats
Source: AFNS

The British singer Skin wore a black shirt studded with more than 300 carats of diamonds during the Milan’s fashion week recently. The shirt’s value was said to be $1.3 million.

The item was designed through a joint venture between the Italian fashion house Gianfranco Ferré and Dalumi Diamonds.

The shirt, which is worn with tuxedo pants and a silk cape, is not for sale at present.

Date: 2007-03-06 Time: 08.45 AM


» Zimbabwe diamond mine production down
Source: AFNS

The Murowa diamond mine in southwestern Zimbabwe produced 240,026 carats of rough diamonds in 2006, down 4 percent from 251,000 carats the year before, according to reports.

The mine is 77.8 percent owned by Rio Tinto, with the balance held by RioZim, a local company. The latter company’s Chairman Eric Kahari is the source of the figures. But despite the production drop, profits soared to $485 million, compared to $172 million the previous year.

Kahari said the production decline was due to lower ore grades and electrical blackouts due to the country’s deteriorating infrastructure. RioZim is investing $120 million to improve production at the mine.

Date: 2007-03-05 Time: 13.11 PM


» DTC Botswana plant under construction
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Trading company (DTC) Botswana is on the way to becoming a reality, with the building of the $83 million sorting facility under way and scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

De Beers agreed to the Botswana government’s request to move the DTC’s sorting facilities to the country, which produces 30 percent of the world’s rough gem diamonds, mostly through Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government.

As in neighboring South Africa, the government’s goal is to promote a local diamond polishing and jewelry manufacturing industry. To that end, the Botswana authorities are establishing a Diamond Office to ensure that the local industry gets its fair share of goods and that the country’s citizens make up the majority of employees of the new diamond plants. The hope is that more than 3,000 new jobs will be created in the industry, expanding it 30 percent and Botswana’s overall manufacturing sector by 10 percent.

So far, 11 foreign diamond companies have been granted licenses to set up polishing plants in the country. It is hoped that despite this modest start, the DTC Botswana will sell $500 million worth of rough stones to the local industry each year by 2010.

Date: 2007-03-04 Time: 09.00 AM


» U.S. consumer confidence index hits five-and-a-half year high
Source: AFNS

The U.S. Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had marginally increased in January, improved in February. The Index now stands at 112.5 (1985=100), up from 110.2 in January. The Present Situation Index increased to 139.0 from 133.9. The Expectations Index edged up slightly to 94.8 from 94.4 the previous month.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: "Consumer Confidence now stands at a five-and-a-half year high, as improving present-day business conditions and an easing in the proportion of consumers claiming jobs are hard to get have combined to lift consumers' spirits. Looking ahead six months, consumers' outlook was little changed from last month. All in all, it appears that the pace of economic growth exhibited in the final months of 2006 has carried over into early 2007 and may have even gained a little momentum."

Consumers' assessment of present conditions improved further in February. Those claiming conditions are "good" increased to 29.4 percent from 28.0 percent. Those saying conditions are "bad" declined to 14.3 percent from 16.2 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the next six months did not change significantly in February. Those anticipating business conditions to worsen remained at 8.0 percent, while those expecting business conditions to improve increased slightly to 16.7 percent from 16.3 percent.

Date: 2007-03-03 Time: 16.30 PM


» Petra Diamonds losses mounting
Source: AFNS

Petra Diamonds lost $9.5 million (U.S.) on sales of only $8.2 million in the second half of 2006, compared to a loss of $1.9 million on sales of $9.7 million in the second half of 2005. Carat production fell to 71,928 from 88,640. In the first half of 2006 carat production was 86,371, and sales were $11.1 million, but losses were $16.9 million.

However, the company’s South African mines recorded a significant improvement, including a 30 percent increase in prices received for January 2007 to $166 per carat, compared to the average $127 per carat for the last half of 2006. South African diamond sales in January 2007 were 13,904 carats, up 28 percent on the average monthly sales for the last half of 2006. The company also finished acquiring the Koffiefontein Mine from De Beers.

In Angola, the company said that large diameter drilling operations at Alto Cuilo are continuing alongside plant treatment, and 73 kimberlites have now been identified.

In Sierra Leone, the company reported “encouraging diamond recoveries from mini samples at the Kono project of 638 diamonds totaling 58.78 carats.”

The company said it is confident of reaching its goal of 500,000 carats total production annually by the 2009-10.

Date: 2007-03-02 Time: 14.15 PM


» Russell Simmons donates diamond money for development
Source: AFNS

Hip-hop fashion guru Russell Simmons is donating 25 percent of the proceeds of his jewelry company, Simmons Jewelry Inc., to support educational institutions in South Africa and Botswana and otherwise support economic development there.

The project is dubbed the “Green Initiative.” For buyers of a special green bracelet, the proportion of the proceeds donated for the development project is 50 percent rather than 25 percent.

Simmons had faced criticism for his support for diamonds last year, when the release of the film “The Blood Diamonds” refocused public attention on the trade in conflict diamonds.


Date: 2007-03-01 Time: 16.45PM


» Angola looks to host World Diamond Summit
Source: AFNS

The government of Angola has launched a campaign to host the World Diamond Summit in November 2008 in Luanda.

The campaign was announced by an aide to the Angolan prime minister, Aguinaldo Jaime, during a convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada in Toronto, Canada.

During the convention Jaime presented Angola`s program for the World Diamond Summit. Angola`s Foreign Ministry is leading the organization of the World Diamond Summit with the technical assistance of Endiama. The summit hopes to attract 15,000 experts.

Date: 2007-02-28 Time: 07.50AM


» Alrosa to complete federalization by end of 2007, considering IPO
Source: AFNS

Sergei Vybornov, the new president of Russian government-owned diamond mining monopoly Alrosa, said in an interview that the process of expansion of the Russian federal government’s stake in Alrosa from 37 percent to just above 50 percent will be complete by the end of the year. He also said that the political divisions between the federal government and the government of the autonomous Republic of Yakutia, another major shareholder in Alrosa, are a thing of the past.

Vybornov also said the company may hold an IPO, but only if it can increase its sales significantly above the present $3 billion a year level.

As to future plans, Vybornov said that Alrosa will try to increase its rough diamond production and its share of the world diamond market, trying to narrow the gap with De Beers in the latter regard by 2015. The Russian company will also focus on prospecting at two or three diamond sites.

Vybornov said that while the company will keep its foreign sales network, it may have to renegotiate some long-term sales contracts with overseas companies and may try to set up a diamond trading floor in Moscow or Yakutia and encourage foreign buyers to come there.

Alrosa may also drop its appeal against the European Commission’s order that it stop selling rough diamonds to De Beers after the beginning of 2009, Vybornov said. He denied any intent to buy Norilsk Nickel, where he used to work.

Date: 2007-02-27 Time: 07.32AM


» DTC opens Antwerp diamond marking facility
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company (DTC) and a number of its sightholders held a reception Feb. 27 to celebrate the opening of Forevermark Antwerp, a new facility that began marking diamonds last November, two months ahead of schedule.

This is the DTC’s first marking facility outside the United Kingdom. It was created to satisfy what the DTC said is growing demand due to the launch of the Forevermark program in Hong Kong, Japan, China and India. The Antwerp facility currently employs 14 people and has 30 percent more capacity than the U.K. unit.

The Forevermark is a special symbol and unique identification number that the DTC can provide to diamonds weighing 0.3 carats and up. Each Forevermark stone carries a Certificate of Authenticity and a promise that the diamond is genuine, natural and untreated and has been tracked from the mine to the end consumer, and that it was mined, cut and polished in an ethically, socially and environmentally responsible way. The laser inscribed marks are only 1/20 of a micron deep and can be seen with a special Forevermark viewer.

The program was launched in Hong Kong in September 2004. In 2006, sales rose 56 percent by volume and 71 percent by value compared with 2005. To date, more than 75,000 stones have been marked.

Date: 2007-02-26 Time: 07.30AM


» Belgium, Alrosa to strengthen diamond cooperation
Source: AFNS

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt met with Sergei Vybornov, the new president of Russian government-owned diamond mining monopoly Alrosa, in Moscow March 2. The two sides expressed the desire to expand cooperation on diamonds.

The goal is to expand a cooperation agreement signed in October 2002 by Alrosa, Gokhran (the Diamond Chamber of Russia), the Russian Diamond Manufacturers Association and Belgium’s Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

Verhofstadt invited Vybornov to a diamond industry conference in Antwerp in October. The Belgian prime minister noted that cooperation may be easier now that Belgium has passed laws easing legislative and tax restrictions on the diamond industry. Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht also attended the Moscow meeting.

Date: 2007-02-25 Time: 10.00 AM


» Diamond-set cue highlights Antwerp Diamond Billiard Week
Source: AFNS

The Flanders region of Belgian has a very weak spot for billiards, which is not simply a leisure pastime but also a closely followed spectator sport. It comes as no surprise then that the region’s most noteworthy trading commodity is inserted into the name of one of the game’s most prestigious tournaments, the Antwerp Diamond Billiard Week. The competition with conclude February 10.

This year diamonds feature more than in just the name of the tournament. The winner of the 2007 World 3-Cushion Cup will not only received the usual trophy, but also will take away a golden diamond encrusted billiard cue, created specially for the event by Antwerp jewelry designer Didier Verhille, of the firm Bijorca.

The Antwerp Diamond Billiard Week is organized by Ludo Dielis, the nine-time world champion.

Date: 2007-02-24 Time: 18.25PM


» Rio Tinto diamond sales, revenues down sharply in 2006
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto reported net earnings of $205 million on revenues of $838 million from rough diamond sales in 2006, down 27 percent and 22 percent from 2005, respectively. The company said that while consumer demand for diamond jewelry remains strong, the supply chain has been affected by high levels of indebtedness, rising interest rates and flood related factory closures in the main Indian cutting centers.

At Argyle, the company’s wholly owned diamond mine in Western Australia, net earnings were $64 million, $53 million below 2005, on sales of $345 million, compared to sales of $572 million in 2005. As a result of softer markets, Argyle held more than $100 million of surplus rough diamonds in inventory at the end of 2006. This was partially offset by higher prices for rough diamonds and lower depreciation due to the inclusion of underground reserves, Rio Tinto said.

At Diavik in the Northwest Territories, where Rio Tinto holds a 60 percent stake, the company’s share of net earnings was $131 million, $12 million below 2005, and its share of sales was $460 million, about the same as in 2005. According to Rio Tinto, the effects of the stronger Canadian dollar together with an adverse sales mix and the impact of higher costs from the early closure of the ice road were partly compensated for by record production and a reduction in Canadian tax rates, which led to a $21 million release of deferred tax provisions.

At Murowa in Zimbabwe, a mine in which Rio Tinto holds a 77.8 percent stake, the company’s share of net earnings was $10 million, $11 million below 2005, which the company attributed to an adverse sales mix, with the extraction of smaller stones as mining moved below the enriched surface layer. The company’s share of sales at Murowa was $33 million, compared to $44 million in 2005.

Date: 2007-02-23 Time: 11.21AM


» Debswana mines 31 million carats
Source: AFNS

the Botswana government, produced 31 million carats of rough diamonds in 2006, compared to 31.9 million carats in 2005, according to preliminary results disclosed by General Manager Sebetlela Sebetlela, who did not say what the diamond production was worth in dollar terms.

The results include a record-setting total of 18.6 million carats produced at three of the company’s four mines, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines. The most those mines ever produced before was 17.5 million carats in 2003. That would mean that the fourth mine, Jwaneng, produced about 12.4 million carats in 2006.

Sebetlela attributed the good results to the “performance management systems” he said the company has introduced in cooperation with the Botswana Mine Workers Union. He said labor-management relations were good, a somewhat surprising statement given the company’s crushing of a strike in 2005. Only one worker died in a job-related incident in 2006—an electrician who was electrocuted at Letlhakane—and there were nine safety incidents at all four mines, down from 12 in 2005. Sebetlela said the company will keep working toward its “Vision 2010” goals.

Date: 2007-02-22 Time: 09.15AM


» South African State Diamond Trader to start operating by July
Source: AFNS

South Africa’s new State Diamond Trader will start operating by July, said Abbey Chikane, chairman of the South African Diamond Board.

The establishment of the State Diamond Trader is mandated by legislation proposed by the country’s government and passed by the National Assembly, over opposition from De Beers and much of the rest of the diamond industry.

Diamond mining companies will have to offer their rough to the State Diamond Trader first, before exporting it, so that the government body can offer it to domestic diamond polishing firms as a way of boosting this industry and creating jobs.

Date: 2007-02-21 Time: 07.32AM


» Letseng produces another huge diamond
Source: AFNS

The world's highest-altitude diamond mine at Letseng in Lesotho has produced another huge diamond gem following the discovery of a 603-carat stone last October.

The latest find is a 216-carat white diamond, according to the mine's owners Gem Diamonds and the Lesotho government.

The 603-carat diamond was the 15th-largest diamond ever found and sold in Antwerp in November for $12.4 million.

The 216-carat white D color diamond, which was found on January 26, has been shipped to Antwerp to be sold along with two other white D flawless stones weighing 54.9 carats and 30 carats.

Date: 2007-02-20 Time: 07.30AM


» Namibia suspends diamond cutting and polishing licenses
Source: AFNS

Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy has suspended the granting of licenses for diamond cutting and polishing, according to The Namibian daily newspaper.

The decision follows the signing of a five-year sales agreement between the government and De Beers last week.

Under the deal, 16 percent of Namdeb's rough diamonds will be provided to local cutting and polishing factories through the new Namibia Diamond Trading company (NDTC).

The news led cutters and polishers from around the world to apply to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to set up operations in Namibia.

"No pending or incoming licenses will be considered any longer until further notice. Though unlimited growth of the diamond sector would have been an ideal scenario, unfortunately, the quantity of diamonds available to ensure a viable and sustainable sector is a constraint that had to be taken into consideration," said Minister Erkki Nghimtina in a statement issued on Friday. He gave no indication of how long the freeze would last.

Nghimtina said 320,000 carats out of the two million produced annually by Namdeb would be sent to existing factories, and they had to receive first preference before new companies could come into the industry. There are 12 licensed diamond cutting and polishing companies in Namibia.

Three of these, NamGem, LLD Diamonds Namibia, and NamCot, are operating while the others are awaiting rough diamond supply. Four other companies are expected to become fully operational this year.

Nghimtina praised the factories for investing in equipment and training despite having no diamonds to cut.

"The Ministry, therefore, deems it necessary to support those companies that believed in and had faith in the potential of Namibia's diamond sector that they hung around long enough to witness the signing of our watershed agreement that makes provision for local supply," said Nghimtina.

Date: 2007-02-19 Time: 12.25 PM


» De Beers' Director of External Affairs to retire in March
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ Director for External Affairs Rory More O’Ferrall is retiring on March 30 after 36 years with the company.

“Rory has been an outstanding ambassador for De Beers and the diamond industry in the international arena, especially in the Kimberley Process. I think it is this particular achievement for which De Beers and the entire diamond industry owe Rory our greatest gratitude,” said Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of De Beers.

O’ Ferrall joined the then Central Selling Organization in 1971 as a diamond buyer and spent five years in outside buying in Zaire, Sierra Leone and Antwerp. During the 1970s and 1980s, O’Ferrall served in the sales department, responsible for rough diamond sales to Belgium, the United States, Israel and the Far East, before becoming sales manager and a member of the CSO’s Management Committee in 1986.

O’Ferrall moved to South Africa as advisor to the sales and corporate communications departments in 1989, returning to London in 1991 as manager for Banking Liaison. In the latter capacity he was responsible for De Beers’ contacts with leading banks financing the international diamond industry. He held the position for seven years.

O’Ferrall joined the Corporate Communications Department in 1998, and was appointed director corporate affairs (later Public & Corporate Affairs) in July 2000. He was responsible for a sweeping restructuring of the department and redefined its role. In the De Beers Group’s reorganization in 2004, he became director of external affairs.

O’Ferrall played a major role in the development and implementation of De Beers’ policy on conflict diamonds, chairing the firm’s conflict diamonds committee. He was also a key player in the creation of the World Diamond Council (of which he is a director), and was active in the Kimberley Process.

O’Ferrall also served as De Beers’ main point of contact with the United Nations, the U.S. State, Treasury and Commerce Departments, the U.K. and other national governments, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and many other non-governmental organizations.

His contribution to the diamond industry has been marked over the years by Honorary Life Membership of the London Diamond Bourse & Club, honorary life membership in CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation, and a “distinguished service” award from the New York Diamond Dealers Club.

Date: 2007-02-18 Time: 09.56 AM


» Alexander Nichiporuk resigns as president of Alrosa
Source: AFNS

Alexander Nichiporuk, the president of Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa, has announced he is resigning from the post, according to a company press release.

Alrosa said Nichiporuk's decision "arises from the need to fulfill tasks set before him by the company's shareholders."

"These include, primarily, the group's efficient work to carry out the Russian president's instructions concerning the protection of state property in the diamond sector, including the purchase of a large stake from minority shareholders."

Russia's federal government, the largest single shareholder in Alrosa, plans to increase its 37 percent stake in the world's second-largest rough diamond producer to a controlling interest. The government of Sakha (Yakutia), the republic in Russia’s Far East where most of the company's operations are based, owns 32 percent, while 23 percent is held by the company's staff, and 8 percent belongs to Yakutia's provinces.

The Kremlin is trying to raise its share by redistributing the company's capital assets between itself and the Yakut government. It has promised Yakutia a larger share of federal tax revenues and more generous allocations for social and environmental programs, but the republic's government is reluctant to cede control of the company which produces around 23 percent of global rough diamond output.

There is no word yet on Nichiporuk’s successor.

Date: 2007-02-17 Time: 16.30 PM


» Flemish Minister Fientje Moerman visits AWDC's Research Department
Source: AFNS

Flemish Minister Fientje Moerman has paid a visit to the AWDC Research Department and the HRD Antwerp Diamond Lab.

Fientje Moerman, the Flemish Minister for Economy, Enterprise, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade, paid a visit to Antwerp’s diamond district on Wednesday, February 7, 2007, during which she toured the HRD Antwerp Diamond Lab, one of the world’s most important providers of diamond grading reports, and was hosted by the Research Department of AWDC

The AWDC Research Department is recognised internationally as an authority in development of detection methods for treated and synthetic diamonds. In this respect, it provides crucial support to the HRD Antwerp Diamond Lab. Its team of scientists is considered a strategic asset by the Belgian diamond trade, in that is helps ensure the competitiveness of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

“Anwerp is proud of its outstanding scientific knowledge centre, which plays a leading role in the research of diamond treatments and synthetics. It comfortably stands alongside the very best institutes doing similar research in other parts of the world,” stated the minister.
Ms. Moerman also took the opportunity to hand a cheque of € 10,000 from the AWDC to Anne De Roeck, director of “De Hoeve vzw,” which runs project providing housing and work opportunities to adults with autism and other mental handicaps. The organisation currently offers small-scale housing facilities with adapted infrastructures to 20 autistic adults, and an additional housing facility for 10 adults with other mental handicaps.

Date: 2007-02-16 Time: 14.15 PM


» European Commission rejects complaints against 'Supplier of Choice'
Source: AFNS

The European Commission has rejected all outstanding complaints against De Beers’s Diamond Trading Company over the “Supplier of Choice” (SoC) program, which has long been controversial in the industry.

The DTC said that it voluntarily agreed in the course of discussions with the EC to expand the scope of the SoC Ombudsman’s investigative powers so that it can undertake investigations on its own initiative or at the EC’s request. In addition, the mechanism by which the Ombudsman reports to the Commission will be more formal.

The revised mandate of the Ombudsman will allow enhanced transparency in the selection of De Beers’s sightholders and in the allocation of diamonds, and will therefore enhance competition on the worldwide rough diamond market, the EC said. Other changes the EC said the DTC had agreed to included enhanced transparency of the SoC criteria through the publication of their weightings, the possibility for the Ombudsman to apply compensation for incorrect supply decisions in certain circumstances, and more detailed rules on conflicts of interest.

The EC said it also considered the existence of alternative sources of rough diamond supply outside SoC, which were the subject of a separate complaint against De Beers, but which were resolved when De Beers agreed to stop buying rough diamonds from Russian monopoly producer Alrosa after the end of 2008. The EC said it will continue to monitor the implementation of De Beers’s commitments and the SoC system.

“The combination of more diamonds coming onto the open market from alternative sources of supply, together with the improvements to the way De Beers' Supplier of Choice scheme works, means that there is now more competition on the rough diamonds market as a result of the Commission's intervention,” said Neelie Kroes, the EC’s Competition Commissioner.

Date: 2007-02-15 Time: 16.45PM


» Camilla wears diamond-set gift at gala dinner in Philadelphia
Source: AFNS

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, wowed guests to a white-tie gala dinner in Philadelphia with a necklace comprising 36 rubies interspersed with diamonds. The duchess is on an official overseas tour in the United States with her husband, the Prince of Wales.

A royal spokesman said that the necklace was given to the Duchess of Cornwall as a gift, but he would not name the benefactor. “When people give presents it’s on the understanding that it’s private. It’s the first time she’s worn it. She very much likes it,” the spokesman said, according to The Times.

The newspaper speculated that the gift has been provided by the Saudis, who are known for their generosity to the British royal family. On an earlier visit to the Arabian Gulf, Prince Charles was presented with an Aston Martin sports car.

To date, the Duchess of Cornwall has depended mainly on her mother in law, Queen Elizabeth II, to lend her jewelry pieces for state occasions. On different occasions she has borrowed the diamond-encrusted Delhi Durbar tiara made for Queen Mary in 1911, a diamond brooch with Prince of Wales feathers given as a wedding present to Princess Alexandra of Denmark when she married the future Edward VII, and a fisherman’s fly given to the Queen Mother on her 100th birthday.

Regarding the latter item, it was reported that the jewelry piece’s designer saw a news photograph of Camilla wearing it on her lapel, and noticed that it was upside down.

Date: 2007-02-14 Time: 07.50AM


» Analyst says Canadian mining industry needs a major new find
Source: AFNS

Canada’s diamond mining industry needs a major new find this year to pull out of its current slump, analyst John Kaiser told the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference.

Kaiser, editor of the Bottom Fish Report, and fellow analyst Eric Coffin, co-editor of the Hard Rock Analyst newsletter, noted that diamond exploration and mine development takes a very long time. Kaiser also said that mining firms have already made the big discoveries in Canada and are now scrounging for more isolated locations.

Canada has three functioning diamond mines—Diavik and Ekati in the Northwest Territories and the Jericho Diamond Mine in Nunavut. De Beers Canada is starting up two more mines this year—the Victor Project in northern Ontario and Snap Lake in the Northwest Territories.

Date: 2007-02-13 Time: 07.32AM


» Xceldiam says unnamed company may take it over
Source: AFNS

Xceldiam, a diamond exploration and mining firm with a focus on Angola, sent its stock price on London’s Alternative Investment Market up late in January when it confirmed rumors that it was negotiating with a bigger company interested in taking it over.

The company’s main prospecting interest is in the 3,000-square-kilometer Luangue concession, which is in the kimberlite zone of northeastern Angola and is operated as a joint venture with Angolan government-owned mining company Endiama and privately owned Bapsil Service. Xceldiam owns a 40 percent stake in the aullvial deposits and a 39 percent stake in the kimberlite deposits at Projecto Luangue.

Xceldiam also has an agreement with Petra Diamonds under which the two firms are cooperating on Projecto Luangue and the Alto Cuilo concession in Angola, where Petra is active. Petra has the right to spend £14 million ($27.4 million) to buy up to 26 percent of Xceldiam’s wholly owned subsidiary, Frannor, which holds its stake in Luangue.

Date: 2007-02-12 Time: 07.30AM


» AK6' diamond mine on track in Botswana
Source: AFNS

Botswana will gain a new diamond mine by the end of 2009, as African Diamonds develops the “AK6” kimberlite into a full-fledged open-cast mine.

African Diamonds Chairman John Teeling told shareholders earlier this month that the company is focusing on Botswana, especially the 4,500 square km Boteti license area that includes AK6 and 29 other known kimberlites. The license area is a joint venture between African Diamonds with a 49 percent stake and De Beers with a 51 percent stake. The most recent prospecting results have shown an average grade of 25 carats per 100 metric tons of ore, and diamonds worth $138 per carat.

African Diamonds is test drilling the 5 hectare “AK8” kimberlite pipe 10 km from AK6. The company would like to turn this into a satellite of the planned AK6 mine or a standalone mine. The license area is in Orapa Province, not far from the Orapa Mine, one of four giant diamond mines owned by Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswanan government. Elsewhere in Orapa Province, African Diamonds is exploring three kimberlites on a 14.5 hectare license area it was granted late last year.

African Diamonds has spun off diamond assets in Guinea and Sierra Leone as a new company called West African Diamonds, in which it holds a 15 percent stake. In Sierra Leone, a combined diamond and gold tailings plant is scheduled to start work in the third quarter. It will treat 150 tons of material an hour. In Guinea, West African Diamonds is in advanced discussions with a mining contractor to start up the Bomboko alluvial diamonds project later this year.

Date: 2007-02-11 Time: 12.25 PM


» Alrosa polished diamond auction in Tokyo nets $2.18 million
Source: AFNS

Polished diamonds worth $2.18 million were sold at the third Brilliant ALROSA auction held at the International Jewellery Tokyo trade show in the Japanese capital. The auction was organized by the Russian company in association with the Tokyo Diamond Exchange.

Bidders competed for lots comprised of loose diamonds of 0.53 carats to 31.22 carats in size, with the average starting price of the lots equaling $2,260. Some 33 lots were sold, with the diamonds in most demand being two-carats and up.

Thirty seven companies from Japan, the United States, Belgium and Israel participated in the auction.

In 2006, 63 diamonds were sold for a total of $5.80 million.

Date: 2007-02-10 Time: 09.56 AM


» Botswana gets new mining minister
Source: AFNS

A cabinet reshuffle in Botswana has resulted in the replacement of long-serving Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Charles Tibone with Ponatshego Kedikilwe, a member of parliament.

Tibone, who is becoming Minister of Labor and Home Affairs in the southern African nations’ government, is considered to be business friendly, but Kedikilwe is also thought to be very experienced.

Botswana is the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds in value terms, producing around 30 percent of the world total, mainly through Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the country’s government.

Date: 2007-02-09 Time: 11.50 AM


» Production up 53 percent at Ekati
Source: AFNS

BHP Billiton reported diamond production totaling 937,000 carats from its 80 percent owned Ekati Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories in the fourth quarter of 2006, up 53 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005. The processing of higher grade ore, albeit with lower diamond values, had a positive impact on production, the company said.

In the second half of 2006, the total produced at the mine was 1.424 million carats, down 3 percent from the second half of 2005.

The Koala Underground mine in Canada, which is expected to start operations by the end of 2007, is on schedule and budget. Procurement is well advanced and engineering is nearly complete, the company said. The mine will treat 3,300 metric tons of ore daily. Diamond prospecting continued, meanwhile, in Angola, Canada and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).

Date: 2007-02-08 Time: 13.10 PM


» Gem Diamonds to list on the London Stock Exchange
Source: AFNS

Gem Diamonds Limited said it is planning to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange in February, in an offering directed at institutional investors. The purpose is to raise money to start diamond production at four alluvial and kimberlite sites in the Democratic Republic on Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and one kimberlite site in the Central African Republic.

The company also plans to use the money it will raise to evaluate exploration targets and pursue acquisition opportunities.

Gem Diamonds is a diamond mining company with a portfolio that includes a 76 percent stake in the Letseng Diamond Mine in Lesotho, as well as a number of prospective projects in central and southern Africa. An expansion is currently underway at Letseng and is expected to approximately double production by the second quarter of 2008, once it is operating at full capacity. Based on projected production levels of 430,000 metric tons per month, the lifespan of Letseng is put at approximately 35 years.

Date: 2007-02-07 Time: 09.11AM


» M. Fabrikant & Sons gets new financing amid bankruptcy
Source: AFNS

New York-based diamond and jewelry wholesaler M. Fabrikant & Sons, Inc., which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, said it has negotiated new financing as it “continues to actively pursue a full range of strategic alternatives, including the sale, refinancing, or reorganization of the firm.”

M. Fabrikant & Sons CEO Matthew Fortgang said the new financing will make it possible “to get back to levels of service our customers have come to expect and trust from Fabrikant.”

M. Fabrikant & Sons, which has been in business for more than four generations, has a number of strategic manufacturing and distributing international affiliates.

Date: 2007-02-06 Time: 18.50 PM


» WTOCD releases formulae for calculating weight of brilliant cuts
Source: AFNS

The WTOCD, the Antwerp Diamond Research Centre, has published on its website formulae which accurately calculate the weight of brilliant cut diamonds. It is expected that they will provide diamond manufacturers with an important tool in production, by enabling them to ascertain how to achieve a optimal optical performance from the stone while maintaining a high yield.

Diamond polishing companies have traditionally depended on estimates to determine how to maximize optics and weight yield in polished stones, but computerization has made greater precision possible and at the same time has increased its importance. Through the development of custom-made computer software, WTOCD was able to arrive at the formulae that provide the exact mathematical calculation of the weight of a perfectly symmetrical brilliant cut, based on its angles and proportions.

The formulae are published on the WTOCD website, which is located at www.wtocd.be, under “Diamond / articles / The Brilliant Cut”.

Founded in 1977, WTOCD’s objective is to provide technical support and develop machinery and devices for the Belgian diamond industry and trade, in order to improve their competitive advantage.

Date: 2007-02-05 Time: 10.00 AM


» Pepsi to give away $100,000 soda can set with diamonds, gemstones
Source: AFNS

Pepsi is holding a Super Bowl sweepstakes at which it will give away a $100,000 sterling silver soda can set with 300 diamonds, 100 sapphires and 100 rubies, along with two Super Bowl tickets that the winner will collect every year as long as he or she lives.

The design of the can is based on past Super Bowl rings and the Vince Lombardi trophy for the winning team at the annual competition. It does not, however, contain any actual soda soft drink.

Similarly, Philips Electronics put on display a diamond-studded LCD “Ambilight FlatTV” earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The TV set contains some 2,250 diamonds. It will be auctioned off for charity, after being put on display at additional Philips events.

Other recent “bling” diamond and jewelry extravaganzas, according to a list compiled by USA Today, have included: Victoria’s Secret annual jeweled bra, which this year is a $6.5 million item set with diamonds by Boston-based Hearts on Fire (none of these bras have actually been sold); Motorola and Baby Phat’s limited-edition $700 diamond-accented “Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons” cell phone, which was unveiled in October 2004; and Montblanc’s jewel-encrusted special-edition pens.

Date: 2007-02-04 Time: 18.25PM


» Rio Tinto diamond production tops 35 million carats in 2006
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto produced 9.561 million carats of diamonds in the fourth quarter of 2006, up 26 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005 but down 5 percent from the third quarter of 2006. In the company’s fiscal year 2006, it produced 35.162 million carats of rough, down 1 percent from 2005.

At the company’s wholly-owned Argyle Mine in Western Australia, production totaled 8.026 million carats in the fourth quarter, up 24 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005, due to continued high grades, while production at the mine in fiscal 2006 totaled 29.078 million carats, off 5 percent from fiscal 2005, due to wet conditions in the first half of the year. The company said it expects continued variability in production as the mine approaches the end of the open-pit life and the transition to an underground operation continues to progress. Argyle held more than $100 million of surplus rough diamonds in inventory at the end of 2006.

At the Diavik Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, in which Rio Tinto holds a 60 percent stake, the company’s share of production was 1.495 million carats in the fourth quarter of 2006, up 36 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005, while fiscal 2006 production totaled 5.897 million carats, up 19 percent. The onset of winter weather conditions at Diavik resulted in a 30 percent decline in ore processed in the fourth quarter compared with the previous quarter. However, this impact was partly mitigated by higher grades, with all ore originating from the A154 South pipe. Despite the early closure of the ice road to the mine in early 2006, Diavik achieved record production for the year.

At the Murowa Mine in Zimbabwe, where Rio Tinto holds a 78 percent stake, the company’s share of production was 39,000 carats in the fourth quarter and 187,000 carats for the fiscal year, off 11.4 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.

Rio Tinto is prospecting for diamonds in Canada, Botswana, India, Brazil and Mauritania.

Date: 2007-02-03 Time: 11.21AM


» Big diamonds on display at Golden Globe Awards
Source: AFNS

The release of the controversial film “The Blood Diamond” did not appear to discourage movie stars from wearing expensive diamond jewelry at the Golden Globe awards earlier this month. Large stones, including fancy yellows, were especially prominent.

Among the more prominent “bling” bearers were Beyoncé, who wore a multicolored diamond and old ivory bangle worth $125,000 by Lorraine Schwartz, multicolored diamond earrings with a total weight of 40 carats, worth $225,000, and a gray, yellow and white diamond ring with a total weight of 25 carats, worth $110,000.

Jennifer Lopez also wore pieces designed by Lorraine Schwartz, including 10 carat yellow and white diamond earrings set in yellow and black gold, and a large fancy yellow diamond ring. Penelope Cruz sported yellow and white diamond flower earrings by Chopard, weighing 10 carats each. Sienna Miller wore a pair of Cartier private collection diamond chandelier earrings, while Angelina Jolie wore a diamond and 22K gold necklace and earrings by Bochic.

Date: 2007-02-02 Time: 09.15AM


» Russia jails four Israelis for diamond smuggling
Source: AFNS

Russia is holding four Israelis convicted of diamond smuggling in a prison 12 hours from Moscow, despite a treaty between the two countries that says that each country’s nationals are to be allowed to serve prison sentences in their home countries, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

The four men, Eli Katz, Shimon Hirshorn, Vladislav Kagan and Shalom Ksirer, have been in jail for four years already, while their trial dragged on. They were sentenced to varying terms in prison. Katz is reportedly ill with cancer, but his family’s pleas have failed to sway the Russian authorities.

Russia is reportedly prepared to transfer the four to serve their prison sentences in Israel only on condition that Israel extradite Leonid Nevzlin, former CEO of the Russian oil company Yukos and a strident of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who the Russian prosecutors office has accused of involvement in the murder in London of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Date: 2007-02-01 Time: 18.50 PM


» DTC vows to work more closely with sightholders
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Trading Company (DTC), the sales and marketing arm of the De Beers Group, will work more closely with sightholders, according to Managing Director Varda Shine, who was speaking at the DTC’s “sightholder dinner” January 17.

Among the steps she said the DTC will take will be: extending the intention to offer period for the 2008 contract period to 12 months; providing “a simplified but robust application process” that recognizes applicants’ expertise in specific types of rough diamonds; and reinforcing the ethical standards required for doing business with the DTC. She said the DTC and sightholders alike must “stand up and be counted” on the issue of ethical business practices.

Shine said the DTC will consult with sightholders and diamond brokers on how to meet the company’s strategic goals from 2008 on, and will sponsor a series of workshops on the subject, starting in February. Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of the De Beers Group spoke about the pressures on profitability, while Gareth Penny, managing director of the De Beers Group, talked about ethical business practices, sustainability, De Beers’s increased investment in diamond prospecting and new projects throughout the world, and the company’s commitment to supporting the countries and communities where its diamonds are mined.

Well-known diamond industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar said the changes Shine in particular is introducing to the DTC are more than cosmetic. “The marketing will be more focused; the goods will go to manufacturers; human ‘intervention’ will again play a role in the over-computerized allocation system; and the DTC will reduce its ‘macro-management’ of its clients’ business,” Even-Zohar wrote. He added that Shine’s stress on ethics is substantive, and that Shine’s changes should help make the promise of De Beers’ long controversial “Supplier of Choice” program more real.

Date: 2007-01-31 Time: 16.30 PM


» Zimbabwe parliament to investigate diamond, gold deals
Source: AFNS

Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary Committee on Mines, Energy and the Environment is to investigate powerful politicians for engaging in illicit diamond and gold deals, said committee Chairman Joel Gabuza.

Attention has focused on ordinary villagers doing illegal freelance mining of diamonds and gold, but they are just a small part of the problem in reality, Gabuza said.

Zimbabwe has one diamond mine controlled by Rio Tinto and two others which the government or its supporters are accused of seizing by force.

Date: 2007-01-30 Time: 11.21AM


» AWDC names Johan Hellemans as Human Resources Manager
Source: AFNS

Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), formerly HRD, has announced the appointment of Johan Hellemans as the body’s new Human Resources Manager. In his new position he will support the development of AWDC as a progressive organisation with more than 300 employees.

Mr Hellemans, 49, began his career as corporate lawyer specialising in labour and social security law, before he was appointed the legal advisor at Multipharma Group. In 1998 he joined Bayer Antwerp as an HR Officer, and in 2002 became the HR Manager at Lanxess Rubber. Over the years, he accumulated a rich expertise in labour and employment-related issues on operational and management level.

In addition to his law degree, Mr. Hellemans holds a master’s degree in human resource management.

About AWDC and HRD Antwerp NV

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is the official representative of the Belgian diamond sector, and in this capacity is charged with managing the relationship between the diamond sector and government, and promoting the interests of the Belgian diamond industry worldwide.
HRD Antwerp NV is the commercial subsidiary of AWDC, and is a leading provider internationally of diamond and gemstone identification and grading reports, gemological education, and specialized equipment for the diamond, gemstone and jewelry industries.
Both organizations are located at Hoveniersstraat 22, Antwerp, Belgium.

Date: 2007-01-29 Time: 09.11AM


» Tax cut accelerates Chinese diamond trade, says bourse
Source: AFNS

A tax reduction on rough diamond imports in 2006 led to a 44.4 percent increase in China’s imports and exports of diamonds that same year, which stood at a record high of $610 million U.S. dollars reported the Shanghai Diamond Exchange, according to the Xinhua news agency. The figure excludes figures for goods brought into the country purely for processing.

China abolished VAT on imported rough diamonds on July 1, 2006, and reduced the tax rate on imported polished diamonds from 17 percent to 4 percent. As a result, polished diamond imports increased by 194 percent during the second half of the year, when compared to the same period in 2005, to $147 million.

In 2006, the Shanghai Diamond Exchange was responsible for the collection of 131 million yuan ($16.8 million) in VAT on imported diamonds, which was below the amount reported in 2005.

Date: 2007-01-28 Time: 18.50 PM


» Diamonds keeping Namibian economy healthy
Source: AFNS

Record diamond production by Namdeb and some smaller diamond producers should help keep the Namibian economy strong this year and next, according to Martin Mwinga, portfolio manager for RMB Asset Management Namibia, who was quoted in The Namibian, a Windhoek newspaper.

Mwinga’s company expects GDP growth of 4 percent in 2007 and 4.5 percent in 2008, compared to an estimated 3.9 percent in 2006. Similarly, Old Mutual Africa Operations Managing Director Johannes Gawaxab expects 4.3 percent GDP growth in Namibia this year.

Namdeb is the 50-50 joint venture between the Namibian government and De Beers. Namibia, Botswana, Angola and South Africa have all been pressing De Beers and other diamond producers to “beneficiate” more locally produced rough diamonds back to the countries where they are mined, so as to encourage the development of the local diamond polishing and jewelry manufacturing industries.

Date: 2007-01-27 Time: 09.15 AM


» Philips unveils flat TV set with 225 carats of diamonds
Source: AFNS

Philips Electronics has used the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to celebrate the production of its one millionth Ambilight FlatTV with the unveiling of a television set featuring 2,250 diamonds, with a total weight of 225 carats. The TV created in conjunction with New York–based jewelry company A.Link, which is a partner of the Antwerp based DTC sightholder, Dali Diamond.

Diamonds are set in the frame of the flat television screen in a graceful floral pattern. “The combination of our top of the line diamonds and the Ambilight technology creates a beautiful radiance of colorful light and glamour,” said Jeffrey Link, president of A.Link. “We pride ourselves in developing products that are iconic and highlight the diamonds in a stylish and sophisticated manner. The millionth Ambilight FlatTV is an amazing icon that we are proud to have helped develop.”

Date: 2007-01-26 Time: 08.45 AM


» Black diamonds come from outer space, researchers say
Source: AFNS

Black diamonds came from outer space, according to a paper published online in the scientific journal Astrophysical Journal Letters. The research was summarized on the U.S. National Science Foundation’s website.

Scientists Jozsef Garai and Stephen Haggerty of Florida International University along with Case Western Reserve University researchers Sandeep Rekhi and Mark Chance, claim an extraterrestrial origin for the unusual black diamonds. Also called carbonado diamonds, the stones are found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic, and appear to be completely unrelated to terrestrial diamonds, which are found in volcanic kimberlite ore.

Infrared synchrotron radiation at Brookhaven National Laboratory was used to discover the diamonds’ source. Trace amounts hydrogen in the carbonado diamonds indicate an origin in a hydrogen-rich interstellar space, the researchers believe.

The term carbonado was coined by the Portuguese in Brazil in the mid-18th century, based on the diamonds’ visual similarity to porous charcoal. The new data support earlier research by Haggerty showing that carbonado diamonds formed in stellar supernovae explosions. Black diamonds were once the size of asteroids, a kilometer or more in diameter when they first landed on Earth.

Date: 2007-01-25 Time: 09.35AM


» Growth of Dubai's rough diamond trade may slow
Source: AFNS

The growth of Dubai's rough trade may slow to a still rapid 10 percent to 15 percent per year, said Dubai Diamond Exchange CEO Noora Jamsheer, during a consumer confidence conference in the city.

Dubai’s rough diamond trade equaled $3.73 billion in 2005, which was 46 percent more than the amount reported in 2004, according to figures released during the conference. Between January and August 2006, the rough diamond trade equaled $2.41 billion.

Speaking at the conference, Jamsheer said that Dubai is today one of the world’s five leading rough diamond trading centers.

Date: 2007-01-24 Time: 18.50 PM


» Mine guard swallows $1 million worth of diamonds
Source: AFNS

A guard at the Bakwanga Mining Company (MIBA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has reportedly confessed to swallowing some 136 rough diamonds worth a total of $1 million.

A company scanning machine detected the swallowed stones, all of which were recovered from the guard’s stomach after he went to the hospital.

The guard, named Nkongolo, said he acted alone, but investigators do not believe that given the quantity of diamonds the man swallowed. Four security officials at the mine were suspended as the investigation proceeded, and Nkongolo faced trial in Mbuji Mayi, DRC.

Date: 2007-01-23 Time: 17.25 PM


» Kimberley Process investigating Zimbabwe
Source: AFNS

The Kimberley Process is investigating a complaint from the World Diamond Council that Zimbabwe is exporting rough diamonds without proper certification. The European Commission, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the Kimberley Process, said it is looking into the allegations and has received cooperation from the African country’s government.

The complaints relate to two incidents in which the government has allegedly seized privately owned diamond mines.

Foreign investors in Zimbabwe’s mining industry are facing the threat of nationalization by the regime of President Robert Mugabe.

Date: 2007-01-22 Time: 10.23 AM


» Fifteen dead in Congo diamond mine disaster
Source: AFNS

Fifteen dead bodies were recovered after a diamond mine in Tshikapa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) caved in at the beginning of January, officials said. The rescue effort was later called off.

Three people were saved from the cave-in, but rescuers gave up hope after two days, said Tshikapa Mayor Mwamba Mutombo. He said the victims were apparently local teenagers who hoped to find diamonds washed loose by recent rains. The mine has suspended operations, and two managers have been arrested.

Cave-ins during rainy season are just one of many problems facing Congo-Kinshasa’s diamond mining industry, which has been devastated by the country’s civil war of the late 1990s and ravaged by plagues.

Date: 2007-01-21 Time: 06.30AM


» Diamond Dealers Club renews 5th Avenue lease
Source: AFNS

The New York Diamond Dealers Club, the oldest and largest diamond bourse in the United States, has signed a long-term renewal of its lease at the World Diamond Tower at 580 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, where it has been located since 1984. The announcement scotches rumors that the DDC might move to a new diamond and jewelry-dedicated skyscraper about to be built in Manhattan.

The Diamond Dealers Club was established in Lower Manhattan in 1931 and moved to 47th Street in the 1940s. It has more than 2,000 members, including manufacturers, dealers, brokers and rough diamond traders.

The DDC renewed its lease on very favorable terms because of 580 Fifth Avenue’s worldwide recognition and because its members want to remain close to the diamond and jewelry businesses concentrated in the building, said Jacob Banda, president of the bourse.

The Diamond Dealers Club currently leases approximately 25,000 square feet in the 38-story office building. It occupies an entire floor and has its own secure private entrance from 47th Street. The building is currently in the midst of a $25 million capital improvement program.

Date: 2007-01-20 Time: 18.25PM


» Diamond Chamber of Russia marks $900 million in sales
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Chamber of Russia has seen $900 million worth of contracts for rough and polished stones completed under its aegis in the 10 years it has been in business, according to its President, Sergei Oulin.

Oulin is also the vice president of Alrosa, the monopoly Russian diamond mining company.

The Diamond Chamber of Russia is one of two Russian members of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. The other member is the Moscow Diamond Bourse.

Date: 2007-01-19 Time: 11.21AM


» Angolan diamond production put at 10 million carats in 2008
Source: AFNS

Angola will produce 10 million carats of rough diamonds in 2008, compared to about 8 million carats in 2006, said Arnaldo Calado, the chairman of the state-owned diamond mining company Endiama.

Calado said the government had achieved all of its goals for the diamond sector in 2006. He said the company will prospect for diamonds in eight new provinces in 2007.

Angola has risen to become one of the major sources of rough diamonds in the world since the end of its civil war in 2002. De Beers, Alrosa, the Leviev Group and other diamond mining majors have flocked to the country.

Date: 2007-01-18 Time: 09.15AM


» Senior appointments at AWDC and HRD Antwerp NV announced
Source: AFNS

Two senior appointments have been announced at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the foundation that has assumed the public functions of the former HRD, and at HRD Antwerp NV, the AWDC’s commercial subsidiary. Monique Van Stappen has been named as AWDC’s new Chief Marketing Officer, and she will assume the position on February 15. Dirk Dullaert was named as commercial director of HRD Antwerp NV with immediate effect.

Ms. Van Trappen, 58, will be responsible for the development of AWDC’s marketing strategy and the reinforcement of Antwerp’s image as the World Diamond Centre, both in Belgium and abroad. With more than 25 years of experience in marketing, advertising and management. She has worked at a number of Belgium’s most prominent advertising and marketing agencies, including stints at LVH Alliance, where she served as a Managing Partner, Garbarski Euro RSCG, and Saatchi & Saatchi Belgium, where she directed business development for the agency’s three local companies. During a five-year period as Director of Communications at De Post-La Poste, the national mail carrier, she developed an integrated communication strategy, which included the creation of a new department with reponsibilty for both internal and external communication. More recently, Ms. Van Stappen served as Chief Corporate Officer at Canal+ Benelux, a pay-for-view television network, and as Director of Network and Marketing at Euronics Belgium, an electronic appliance retailer with 225 outlets.

Ms. Van Trappen holds a master’s degree in political and social sciences from KUL, University of Leuven.

Mr. Dullaert, 38, will be responsible for the development of HRD Antwerp NV’s commercial activities both in Belgium and abroad, which include the grading and certification of polished diamonds and colored gemstones, educational programs in diamond and gemstone grading and identification, and the marketing and sale of specialized equipment for the diamond and gemstone industries. He began his professional career as a credit advisor at Bank J. Van Breda & Co. He joined the diamond sector in 1998 as a Global Relations Manager at ABN AMRO Bank, where he acquired extensive experience in the international diamond market. In 2004 he was appointed commercial director at Driesassur, a worldwide insurance broker specializing in diamond companies.

Mr. Dullaert, who studied law, also holds a master degree in business administration from the University of Antwerp.

Date: 2007-01-17 Time: 18.50 PM


» Movie star Lindsay Lohan given $1 million worth of diamonds
Source: AFNS

Movie star Lindsay Lohan reportedly has received a gift of $1 million worth of diamond jewelry from her new boyfriend Scott Storch.

According to the unconfirmed report, Lohan was seen at a mansion wearing a diamond necklace, earrings and a three-stone diamond ring.

Storch is a music producer who reportedly has made more than $70 million in the business.

Date: 2007-01-16 Time: 16.30 PM


» Zale holiday sales sluggish
Source: AFNS

Zale Corporation, a leading specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America, reported that comparable store sales increased just 2.3 percent for the combined months of November and December 2006, including the entire holiday selling period. Total revenues for the two-month period were $905 million, compared to $860 million last year, an increase of 5.2 percent.

The revenue figures for 2005 exclude the results of the Bailey Banks & Biddle stores that were closed and managed by an independent liquidator during the second fiscal quarter of 2006. Including the store closures, 2005 total revenues for the two-month period were $873 million, which were exceeded this year by 3.7 percent.

The company said that margins were lower than expected due to more aggressive pricing and increased promotional activity. In addition, the company’s Gordon’s and Piercing Pagoda brands saw comparable store sales fall, although this was offset by strong performances at Zale Canada, Zales Outlet, and ZLC Direct stores. The company said it now expects comparable store sales increases for the quarter ending January 31 to be about 2 percent.


Date: 2007-01-15 Time: 14.15 PM


» Massive casualties reported in collapse at diamond mine in DRC
Source: AFNS

Officials have reported that 13 people are dead and 30 missing after collapse at a diamond mine in Kasai province in the Central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday, January 5, 2007.

According to officials in Tshikapa, a rescue operation is under way. But, as time passes, hopes for pulling more survivors from the earth are fading.

Speaking to the Xinhua news agency, Eddy Musangilay, a local journalist, said that more than 100 local residents were digging for diamonds when the pit collapsed. He estimated that the death toll could eventually number in the dozens.

Tshikapa mayor Albert Mutombo said an investigation has been underway into the cause of the accident. It is believed that the collapse was a results of unstable earth caused by illegal mining, compounded by heavy rains that have fallen in the area in recent days.


Date: 2007-01-14 Time: 13.34 AM


» U.S. online spending healthy in holiday season
Source: AFNS

US. retail online spending showed a 26 percent increase to $23.11 billion from the beginning of November through Dec. 26, according to comScore Networks. Online sales for the final business week before Christmas, December 18 to 22, were up 38 percent from 2005, while e-commerce excluding travel from the beginning of the year until December 23 exceeded the $100 billion, a first.

Amazon.com, which sells diamonds and jewelry among other products, did the best of any online retailer this season.

Some 7 percent of U.S. retail spending is now done online, according to Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore Networks.

Date: 2007-01-13 Time: 17.19 PM


» 27.2-carat D-color rough diamond sold for $27,008 per carat
Source: AFNS

European Diamonds, the operator of the Liqhobong mine in Lesotho, has reported that it discovered and sold a 27.7-carat clean D-color rough diamond for $27,008 a carat. In October, the 603-carat Lesotho Promise from Lesotho’s Letseng mine was sold in Antwerp for $12.4 million, or $20,564 a carat. The Lesotho Promise was the 15th largest diamond ever sold.

“We believe this may be the highest price paid on a per carat basis from Lesotho in recent times,” said European Diamonds’ CEO, Roy Spence, in a statement.

The 27.7-carat was part of a parcel of 13,567 carats, including stones of between 11 and 23 carats each, mined from the company’s Liqhobong mine. Some 11,608 carats of the parcel were sold for $2.17 million.

“The price for this parcel is significantly higher than that achieved in previous sales, due in no small measure to the extraordinarily high price of $27,008 per carat achieved for a 27.7 carat clean D-color stone, recovered from the main pipe, which was included in this sale, together with several other smaller high quality stones of between 11 carats and 23 carats,” said Spencer.

This sale brings to a total of $4.3 million, the gross proceeds from diamond sales by the company in the last 12 months.

European Diamonds holds a 25 year mining license to develop the Liqhobong diamondiferous kimberlites.

Date: 2007-01-12 Time: 10.23 AM


» WDC chairman expresses concern about Zimbabwe's rough exports
Source: AFNS

Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council, has expressed concern that rough diamonds from Zimbabwe are being smuggled into South Africa without legitimate Kimberley Process certification. Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Kimberley Process.

The diamonds that are being questioned are being sourced from a mine near the southern town of Beitbridge whose ownership is in dispute, and from the Marange region in eastern Zimbabwe, where in late November, the Zimbabwean government was accused of using security forces to seize an industrial diamond mine in violation of a high court order supporting the claim of British-based African Consolidated Resources to rightful ownership of the mine.

The Bubye mine Beit Bridge’s was ceased by a group led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru, husband of Zimbabwe’s Vice President Joyce Mujuru, who renamed River Ranch Mine.

In a statement Izhakoff said: “Such illegal exportation presents a clear threat to the integrity of the legitimate export process as a whole.” He said he has written to European Commission official Karel Kovanda, the chairman of the Kimberley Process, to express his concern over the smuggling of rough diamonds from Marange and River Ranch. He said that all rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe should be suspended until the matter is resolved.

"While remaining mindful of Zimbabwe's membership of the Kimberley Process nations, such illegal exports present a clear threat to the integrity of the legitimate export process as a whole. In addition, we have heard that the River Ranch diamonds are being mixed with production from the DRC. We appeal to the chair and participant nations of the Kimberley Process to act swiftly and in unison, to resolve this situation and protect the legitimate and law-abiding industry," wrote Izhakoff in his letter, according to Mineweb.com.


Date: 2007-01-11 Time: 15.01 PM


» Turkey jewelry exports exceed $1 billion
Source: AFNS

Turkey’s jewelry industry exported $1.172 billion worth of products last year, according to the National Center for Productivity, a government agency. That makes Turkey second only to Italy within the EU in jewelry.

The Turkish jewelry industry is also the most productive in the country in terms of capital efficiency, the agency said, based on an analysis of data from the past 26 years.

The agency said the Turkish jewelry industry has made good progress over the past five years and will gain increasing market share in other EU countries.

Date: 2007-01-10 Time: 08.26AM


» Nanodiamonds found to be non-toxic
Source: AFNS

Researchers have allayed fears that microscopic “nanodiamonds” might be toxic and thus not suitable for medical uses.

Researchers Liming Dai of the University of Dayton, Saber M. Hussain of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ph.D. student Amanda Schrand and others studied the effects of diamonds measuring just 2 to 10 nanometers (billionths of a meter) across and found they were not toxic to a variety of cells, just as ordinary diamonds are biologically inert.

That could open the door for nanodiamonds to be used for such things as transporting drugs and making implant coatings and “nanorobots.” The researchers’ article appeared Dec. 28 in The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

Date: 2007-01-09 Time: 07.32AM


» Ghana says it is working toward compliance with Kimberley Process
Source: AFNS

Ghana’s Lands, Forestry and Mines Minister Dominic Fobih says his country plans to meet all its Kimberley Process requirements by March, and is committed to the action plan developed in the Botswana capital, Gaborone, reports Panapress.

"The action plan is so critical to Ghana since it presents another opportunity for us to clean our image," Fobih said at a meeting with following a meeting with the acting head of the European Commission delegation in Ghana (EU “Embassy”) Paulus Geraedts. Geraedts is leading a team that is to provide Ghana with technical support towards implementing the Kimberly Process.

To help implement the program, Fobih said, a supervisory body chaired by his deputy has been created. It is designed to provide the process with ministerial prominence.

Abbey Chikane, a former chairman of the Kimberley process, who is part of the team, noted that Ghana still needs to quantify the volumes of diamonds produced at the various mines.

Date: 2007-01-08 Time: 08.45AM


» Results of Fourth Diamond Sale in Antwerp
Source: AFNS

The management of European Diamonds Plc is very pleased to announce that the fourth sale of Liqhobong mine production, from the Company's Lesotho-based subsidiary Liqhobong Mining Development Company (Pty) Ltd's open pit mining operation, has been successfully concluded in Antwerp. A total of 13,567 carats of run of mine goods were offered for tender by the Company's sales agents. No bids were entered for 1,959 carats and the remaining 11,608 carats were sold for U$2.17 million.

The Company's CEO, Roy Spencer has commented that "The price for this parcel is significantly higher than that achieved in previous sales, due in no small measure to the extraordinarily high price of U$27,008 per carat achieved for a 27.7 carat clean D-colour stone, recovered from the Main Pipe, which was included in this sale, together with several other smaller high quality stones of between 11 carats and 23 carats. We believe this may be the highest price paid on a per carat basis from Lesotho in recent times. If the 3 largest, high quality stones, are removed from the equation, the remaining parcel fetched U$72 per carat.

Importantly, there are also indications that the 27 carat stone is a Type IIa diamond fragment of a much larger diamond which, taken together suggests that larger, similarly high quality stones, may be present in the Main Pipe.

The effect that these stones will have on the overall value of the Main Pipe diamonds is still being assessed but will certainly increase the value from the U$60 per carat achieved in the last sale. Similarly, the effect of these high quality stones is being considered in the context of the Pre-Feasibility Study we are currently working on and which will be completed in early 2007.

The 1,959 carats not sold were smaller low value stones and a decision on the on-going marketing of this type of diamond will be made in due course.

This sale brings to a total of U$4.3 million, the gross proceeds from diamond sales by the Company in the last 12 months."

For further information contact: Angola: Lunda-Norte - Governor Minimises Mining Companies Contribute

Date: 2007-01-07 Time: 19.29PM


» Diamond nail file debuts in Amsterdam
Source: AFNS

KOH Cosmetics of Amsterdam, Holland debuted a diamond-studded nail file at the city’s “Millionaire’s Fair,” pledging that all proceeds will go to support Orange Babies, a charity organization set up by the fashion industry in 1999 to help HIV infected pregnant women in Africa.

The diamonds and settings are by the Dutch company Coster Diamonds, and the nail file is worth €39,950 ($51,700). It contains more than 1,000 D color VS round brilliant cut diamonds weighing more than 28 carats total, pavé set into an 18 karat white gold hand grip.

Margreet Van Roemburg, president of KOH Cosmetics, said that the company plans to offer a new diamond-studded collectors’ item in the next few years, with all proceeds from the series to go to Orange Babies.

Date: 2007-01-06 Time: 17.19 PM


» Japanese 'bake' 50-carat Christmas cake
Source: AFNS

It’s been done before, but Christmas is a time for recurring tradition. This time it is the turn of a Japanese department store to create a cake with diamonds. And no, it is a chocolate and not a carrot cake.

The Oasaka-based Takashimaya department store has put on a 14-inch-high cake with a square chocolate base is iced, which includes about 100 diamonds, with a total weight of 50 carats. Its price is a listed at $843,535 before tax.

According to a Takashimaya spokeswoman Kiyome Nagai, as quoted by Reuters: “I believe it's most likely to be purchased by somebody who wants to display it, though it would be ideal if a man were to buy it as a present for his wife…. The patissier who made it said he felt that chocolate and diamonds are what a woman most wants to receive Frankly, I imagine the people who would buy this won't really be interested in eating the cake.”

The cake will be on display until Christmas Day, even if it is sold.

Date: 2007-01-05 Time: 08.45 AM


» WFDB kudos for businesses-government partnership to counter terrorism
Source: AFNS

Ernest Blom, the president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, has applauded the strategy announced by the G8 Summit’s Global Forum for Partnerships between States and Businesses to Counter Terrorism, following its three-day meeting in Moscow, which ended November 30. The WFDB was represented at the meeting in the Russian capital by the organization’s vice president, Avi Paz.

At the end of the meeting in Moscow, the G8 summit released a multi-point plan by which governments and the business sector, through the sharing of information, knowledge and experience and through joint or coordinated actions, may improve and implement measures to prevent and counter terrorism. Of particularly interest to the diamond trade was a call to businesses and governments to act together in identifying the financial flows that which support terrorism, and to lessen the vulnerability of the international trade supply chain to terrorist attacks. The plan envisages a system by which joint assessments will be made and disseminated of terrorist threats.

“We wholeheartedly support the measures that were outlined at the G8 Summit congress, and will do our best as an industry to ensure that diamonds and other gemstones are not hijacked by terrorists or other criminal elements,” said Blom. “We are well aware of the dangers that such activity poses for our business, and, as many know, we voluntarily agreed to regulation so that both the diamonds and currency we handle remains untainted.”

In his address to the Global Forum in Moscow, Avi Paz called on governments to take a strict but reasoned approach when formulating measures to separate legitimate diamond business from terrorism. “To the degree that economic well being is an important antidote to the root causes of terrorism, it would be counterproductive if strategies designed to combat money laundering restrict the growth and development of the diamond business,” he said. “We fully support efforts designed to eliminate the possibility that the diamond be used as a tool for money launderers. At the same we urge that these efforts do not result in the creation of artificial trade barriers, nor should they impose impossible burdens on the diamond trade. Our goals as businesspeople and as members of humanity are the same as yours.”

Date: 2007-01-04 Time: 13.11 PM


» Global gem and jewelry sales could reach $280 billion by 2015
Source: AFNS

Global retail diamond, gemstone and jewelry sales could total $185 billion in 2010 and $230 billion to $280 billion by 2015, compared to a 2005 level of $146 billion, depending on industry marketing efforts, according to a report by India’s Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council and the consulting firm KPMG. The lower 2015 figure would represent 4.6 percent annual growth and the higher 6.7 percent annual growth, compared to 5.2 percent annual growth since 2000.

India and China are the main growth drivers, currently representing 8.3 and 8.9 percent of world retail gem and jewelry consumption, the report said. The United States made up 31 percent of the world market in 2005, and the top eight markets accounted for 75 percent of the total.

Diamond and gold jewelry currently make up 82 percent of the world retail market and will continue to predominate, while palladium will make inroads, the report predicted.

On the manufacturing side, India will decline from 57 percent of the world diamond polishing industry in value terms at present to 49 percent in 2015, as China expands to comprise 21.3 percent of the industry. In that year, local diamond polishing industries polishing domestically mined diamonds could be responsible for 9 percent of the world total in volume terms. Angola, Namibia and Botswana would be the most profitable of these new cutting centers, the report said.

Date: 2007-01-03 Time: 09.00 AM


» EGL USA unveils new report for "laboratory grown' diamonds
Source: AFNS

Falling in line with the Gemological Institute of America, EGL USA has unveiled a new report for synthetic diamonds, which uses a gray color scheme that differentiates it from the dark blue color scheme used on the company’s reports for natural diamonds. The diamonds are not described as “synthetic,” though, but rather as “Laboratory grown,” which EGL USA says is endorsed Federal Trade Commission Guide.

EGL USA, which began grading synthetic diamonds in 2001, chooses to use standard grading terminology in its “laboratory grow” reports, thereby bypassing calls by organizations like the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association that nomenclature be agreed upon that immediately differentiates synthetics from natural diamonds.

The report, however, has features which are unique; They include:
1. A description of the process by which the diamonds were synthesized, noting whether they are High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)-grown or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)-grown.
2. An indication as to whether the diamonds color was achieved through further enhancement, such as by HPHT or irradiation
3. An identification section that shows long wave and short wave fluorescence, microscopic features, and diamond type.

Date: 2007-01-02 Time: 16.30 PM


» 10th anniversary of the Diamond Chamber of Russia
Source: AFNS

Since 1996 corporate interests of the Russian diamond industry have been represented by the Diamond Chamber of Russia (DCR) (Russian diamond bourse). To celebrate its 10th anniversary the DCR held a gala-evening on December 14, 2006.

The gala was attended by the representatives of the Russian political and business elite, RF Presidential Administration, heads of ministries and government agencies, businessmen from CIS and other parts of the world. In particular, the Diamond Chamber received greetings from RF Minister of Finance A. Kudrin, RF Security Council, Gokhran of Russia, President of Sakha (Yakutia) V.Shtyrov, Chairman of the Sakha Republican government Y. Borissov, Chairman of Il-Tumen (Sakha Republican Parliament) N. Timofeyev, President of ALROSA A. Nichiporuk, President of the World diamond Council E. Izhakoff, WFDB Vice-President A. Paz.

President of the DCR, Vice-President of ALROSA Sergei Oulin opened the gala with a welcoming address. In his speech he outlined the results of the DCR activities in the past 10-year period and underscored that the DCR was established and operates to promote a civilized and open diamond market in line with contemporary international requirements and domestic needs.

Since its inception the Diamond Chamber has enjoyed support on the part of the most influential organizations of the Russian diamond industry. Among the founders and members of the Diamond Chamber there are ALROSA and Severalmaz diamond mining companies; Almazyuvelirexport Foreign Trade Association; Smolensk Kristall, other leading polished diamond and jewelry manufacturers; Ingosstrakh insurance company; banks linked to the diamond industry – Vneshtorgbank (the second largest commercial bank in Russia), Mezhdunarodny Aktsionerny Bank, MAK–Bank, SakhaDiamondBank. Currently 44 organizations are members of the Diamond Chamber.

In 2003-2006 the DCR members and other traders offered for sale over 1000 lots of natural rough diamonds weighing altogether 6.9 million carats to the total value of USD 444 million. Since 2003 the DCR has held jointly with ALROSA international auctions to sell large and special size rough diamonds. Their dynamics is as follows - in 2004 there were 4 auctions, in 2005 - 6 auctions, and in 2006 - 8 auctions. Altogether 2140 lots (approximately 276 thousand carats worth over 316 million dollars) were offered for sale by ALROSA. Practically all the diamonds were sold. For over 10 years of the DCR existence altogether USD 910 million worth of rough and polished diamonds have been offered for sale, and deals amounting to USD 875 million have been executed.

In 1999-2000 the DCR opened its branches in Yakutsk, Kaliningrad and Yekaterinburg.

The DCR has been an active member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) since 2000.

The DCR’s aim is to build a universal internal system of trade in rough and polished diamonds in the process of Russia’s integration in the world economy.

A more detailed review of the DCR’s activities in the past ten years based on its President’s report will be distributed in the coming days.

Date: 2007-01-01 Time: 14.15 PM


» Motapa announces progress in Lesotho, Namibia
Source: AFNS

Canadian-based diamond prospecting company Motapa Diamonds Inc. said that it has received two tenders for the construction and operation of a diamond recovery plant to treat the planned bulk sample from its wholly owned diamondiferous Mothae kimberlite in Lesotho. The company received exclusive prospecting rights in June for the property, which covers 25 square kilometers in northeastern Lesotho, 6.5 kilometers northwest of the Letseng diamond mine.

A five km road leading directly to the Mothae kimberlite has been upgraded to provide year-round access to the site for equipment and material for plant construction and kimberlite excavation. In September and October, ground magnetic, electromagnetic and gravimetric surveys were completed at the kimberlite source, confirmed the initial estimates of the surface area as approximately 8 hectares.

Separately, the company announced that Namdeb, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Namibian government, has completed its due diligence and is exercising its initial option on the Kavango project area. Motapa's Kavango and Kavango West licenses cover approximately 1.62 million hectares in northeastern Namibia.

Under the terms of the agreement, Namdeb has an initial option to earn a 51 percent interest in the licenses by committing to undertake a 24 month work program mutually agreed with Motapa. Namdeb will hold the stake through its 51 percent shareholding in a new joint venture company. Namdeb has a second option to earn an additional 14 percent interest, totaling a 65 percent stake in the joint venture company, by fully funding the project to completion of a bankable feasibility study within five years.

Motapa has interests in approximately 9 million hectares of diamond prospecting properties in Botswana, Gabon, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.

Date: 2006-12-31 Time: 16.45PM


» Zimbabwean government confiscates diamond mine
Source: AFNS

The Zimbabwean government has confiscated an industrial diamond mine owned by the British company African Consolidated Resources (ACR) in Marange, a village in the eastern part of the country.

The site was formerly owned by Kimberlitic Searches, a subsidiary of De Beers whose license expired in March. In June, diamonds were found at the site, triggering a diamond rush as some 6,000 to 15,000 people descended on the village to dig diamonds by hand, triggering fears that unsanitary conditions could breed disease.

The government did not try to stop the illegal miners at first. Instead, Tinos Rusere, deputy mining minister, reportedly visited the site on September 25 and encouraged the diggers to sell what they found to the government-owned Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe. However, buyers from other African countries such as Botswana, Congo-Kinshasa, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia offered better prices.

Up to $300 million worth of diamonds vanished as the hand diggers moved some 1 million tons of earth in a 1.4 square mile area in one month. Now that the government has seized the property and evicted the illegal diggers, soldiers have taken over the mining, but ACR vowed to fight the confiscation in court.

Date: 2006-12-30 Time: 07.50AM


» De Beers welcomes Botswana High Court decision
Source: AFNS

Following the decision by the the High Court of Botswana to allow Bushman tribesmen to return to ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari, De Beers issues a statement noting that it was pleased by the court’s unanimous agreement that diamonds played no role in the dispute between the First People of the Kalahari (FPK) and the Botswana government.

In his opinion, Justice Unity Dow, who ruled in favor of the FPK on all points said, “While diamond mining as a reason for the CKGR relocations might be an emotive rallying point… the case before this court does not fit that bill. It would be completely dishonest of anyone to pretend that that is the case before this court. Those looking for such a case will have to look somewhere else.”

Sheila Khama, Chief Executive of De Beers Botswana said, “De Beers has always maintained that diamonds were not the reason for the relocation. I am pleased that all of the judges in the case have recognized and unanimously confirmed this.”

In its statement released after the court decision, De Beers noted that none of its concessions in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve currently show any signs of generating an economically viable deposit, and even if a viable diamond deposit were found and mined successfully, there would be no need to arbitrarily remove or resettle any communities.

De Beers has a community policy that underwrites its absolute respect for the rights and interests of the people amongst whom it lives and works, the statement added, noting that it welcomes the presence of local populations near its mining and exploration activities, in the belief that operations should serve as a source of local employment and economic advancement.

Date: 2006-12-29 Time: 07.32AM


» Antwerp diamond company launches 'ultimate diamond watch' line
Source: AFNS

Antwerp-based Backes & Strauss and Franck Muller Watchland of Geneva have joined forces to create what they term “the ultimate diamond watch” line. It was unveiled on November 22 at a reception at Two Temple Place in London, attended by international watch distributors, retailers and VIP guests.

The watches are grouped into three collections: the Berkeley, the Piccadilly, and the Regent. Made from white gold or 18K rose gold, they are set with ideal cut diamonds.

The diamond-watch collection represents a significant shift in business strategy for the Belgian firm, which bills itself as the world’s oldest diamond company, with offices in Antwerp, Dubai, Hong Kong, London and Toronto. The Backes & Strauss name will now refer solely to the group’s branded products while the polished diamond side of the business will operate as B&S Diamonds.

Vartkess Knadjian, the Backes & Strauss Group CEO, commented: “The new collection marks an exciting development in high-end luxury watches and the way forward for the Backes & Strauss Group.”

Christopher Bull, who has been associated with the company for the past 25 years, will take over the day-to-day operations of the B&S Group.

Date: 2006-12-28 Time: 07.30AM


» Half million dollar diamond watch on sale at Amazon.com
Source: AFNS

Amazon.com said it is selling an 18K white gold and diamond watch “valued at $1 million” for $499,000 on the jewelry portion of its website. The watch, by Audemars Piguet, has a total weight of 53 carats of diamonds set in 18K white gold and arranged in rows of eight to form a 20 mm band. Additional round brilliant diamonds line the top cover of the watch case, which is covered with a sapphire crystal.

Other jewelry and watch items now on offer at Amazon.com include the Jaeger-LeCoultre Women’s Reverso Cabochons diamond-encrusted watch for $9,724; a GIA certified 5 carat princess cut diamond center ring with 142 round diamonds set in 18K white gold for $109,999; 4 carat diamond stud earrings for $35,000; and a 5 carat emerald-cut diamond center ring with two 1 carat half-moon side diamonds for $74,999.

Amazon.com’s said its “Jewelry & Watches Store” currently offers more than 100,000 diamond jewelry and watch items, including 5,000 diamond watches, 16,000 diamond earrings, 22,000 diamond necklaces and 7,000 bracelets. Luxury watches available on the website include brand names such as Cartier, Chase-Durer, TAG Heuer, Breitling, Bedat, Geneve and Ebel, and range in cost from $5,000 to $225,000.

Date: 2006-12-27 Time: 10.00 AM


» Indian state plans to get into diamond mining
Source: AFNS

The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is planning to start a joint venture with private investors in the coming year, called AP Mineral Development Corporation, to mine diamonds and gold.

State Minister of Mines and Natural Resources Sabita Reddy said that there are diamond deposits in seven districts of the state, covering a total area of 50,000 square km, with an average grade of 3-4 carats per 100 metric tons of ore (kimberlite or lamproite).

India was the world’s leading source of rough diamonds from antiquity until the eighteenth century. There has been renewed interest from De Beers and other diamond mining majors recently in deposits scattered across the country.

Date: 2006-12-26 Time: 08.45 AM


» Bonaparte finds 136 carats of rough off Namibia
Source: AFNS

Australia’s Bonaparte Diamond Mines said it found a total of 291 gem-quality rough diamonds weighing 135.92 carats from the Luderitz ML111 Project area off the coast of Namibia in its 2006 marine diamond sampling program. The first parcel of 57 diamonds weighing 23.87 carats has been valued at an average of $189 per carat. The largest single stone found weighs 6.46 carats.

According to the company, the results from its grid-based sampling show “near-continuous diamond mineralization over a substantial cumulative area of approximately 290,000 square meters.” Through its joint operations agreement with Cape Town, South Africa-based Diamond Fields International Ltd., Bonaparte has exclusive access to two resource development areas, Diaz Point 1 and Diaz Point 2, covering a total of 1,600,000square meters within DFI’s mining license area, ML111.

“The sampling program has been an operational success and has delivered diamonds of excellent size and quality,” said Bonaparte’s Managing Director Mike Woodborne. “The results compare very favorably with those from other Namibian marine production areas and we are confident the resource estimation process that will be completed by [the] end of November 2006 will deliver Bonaparte’s first mineral resource assets. We also believe that at least several of the sampled areas could have potential to support economic mining operations in the [joint operations] area. Therefore, in line with our objective to establish early cash flow, we have initiated preliminary discussions with DFI on the commencement of joint mining operations in [Diaz Point 1] in 2007.”

The planned mining operation would use DFI’s dedicated diamond mining ship, and the partners would share in the operating cost and net mining revenue (70 percent for DFI and 30 percent for Bonaparte).

Date: 2006-12-25 Time: 09.35AM


» Diamond derivatives market under discussion
Source: AFNS

ABN AMRO Bank, one of the leading diamond industry banks, is leading an effort to develop a derivatives market for diamonds that would allow diamond dealers to hedge against future price and supply fluctuations, according to the Johannesburg newspaper Business Day.

Other participants in the efforts include Israel’s Bank Leumi, India’s ICICI Bank and PolishedPrices.com, which creates diamond prices indices based on market prices for rough and polished stones. ABN AMRO and PolishedPrices.com first started discussing the idea in 2003.

This idea may get further than it has in the past, despite lingering concerns in the trade over the danger of turning diamonds into a mere “commodity,” because of low profit margins, greater variability in prices, and anticipated shortages due to rising consumer demand in India and China in the coming years.

Date: 2006-12-24 Time: 18.50 PM


» De Beers tells clients about tight supply during first half of 2007
Source: AFNS

De Beers has informed its clients that it will be cutting back on its supply of diamonds during the first half of 2007. According to a Reuters report, the reason the company gave was that it will curtailing marketing of Russian gems under the terms of an agreement from the European Union.

Relating to the amounts of diamonds that it has allocated to sightholders, Reuters quoted De Beers as saying: “In some instances the level... has been lower than anticipated by DTC sightholders, because the DTC anticipates a lower availability of rough diamonds to sell in H1 2007.”

According to its agreement with the EU, De Beers' purchases of Alrosa rough diamonds will be reduced from $600 million in 2006 to $500 million in 2007, and then to $400 million in 2008 and to zero in 2009. De Beers also has forecast lower production from Botswana.

Thins may pick up though in the second half of 2007, when De Beers new Snap Lake Arctic mine comes on stream in October 2007. It is a expected to have a per annum output of 1.5 million carats when it reaches full production.

Another factor that will weigh on the level of supply is De Beers’ commitment to supply rough to the fledgling cutting industries in southern Africa.

Date: 2006-12-23 Time: 17.25 PM


» Diamond leaders gather to mark WFDB membership of Moscow bourse
Source: AFNS

Leaders of the international diamond and jewelry industries are gathering Moscow this week for a day-long event on December 14 hosted by the Moscow Diamond Bourse, to honor the organization’s acceptance in June into the ranks of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.

Among the many industry leaders who will be attending the event are Gaetano Cavalieri, president of CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation; Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council; and Avi Paz, vice president of the WFDB..

Established in 2005, the Moscow Diamond Bourse is the first diamond and precious gemstone exchange in Russia that functions along the lines of diamond bourses in other world centers. At 32nd World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv in June 2006, the WFDB General Assembly unanimously accepted its application to become the federation’s 26th member organization.

The proceedings will begin on December 14 with a morning conclave, which will be attended by leaders of the Russian and international diamond and jewelry sectors, members of the Russian government and parliament, representatives of the diplomatic corps in Moscow, and the media. It will be followed by a luncheon, and then by an official visit to the Moscow Diamond Bourse. In the evening there will be a gala dinner, at which will be honored a number of Russian and international industry leaders. The event also will mark the 10th anniversary of the Diamond Chamber of Russia, which in 1996 was established as Russia’s first diamond exchange.

On the morning of Friday, December 15, an open house will be held at the bourse, where guests will be able to meet with representatives of the diamond and jewelry trades from across Russia and the CIS. MDB membership, which currently stands at more than 40, has more than doubled since the beginning of the year, and today counts citizens of Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

“We intend that this event be recognized as a milestone in the history of Russia’s jewelry sector,” said Lev Polyakov, the president of the Moscow Diamond Bourse. “We were created to serve the jewelry trade at the grass roots level, and to provide a platform from which it can grow and prosper. We see the presence in Moscow of the leadership of our industry as recognition that Russia has arrived—not only as a producer of raw materials, but as an industry and as a consumer market in its own right.”

Date: 2006-12-22 Time: 10.23 AM


» Angola gaining on other diamond producers
Source: AFNS

Angola is increasing its production of rough diamonds and could eventually become the world’s top producer, according to the Bretton Woods institution of the World Bank. This year, the company produced $892.7 million worth of rough, compared to about $650 million per annum in the recent past.

The country was estimated to have 40 million carats of alluvial diamonds and 50 million carats of underground kimberlite deposits in 2000. At present, state-owned mining company Endiama is producing 6 million carats of rough a year, a number it plans to double, which would enable it to surpass South Africa to become Africa’s third largest rough diamond producer after Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).

Endiama has started a new prospecting subsidiary called Endiama-EP, which recently developed the first of six new diamond mining projects independent of any cooperation with foreign mining companies. This first project is in the Camanjanja area of Lunda Norte Province.

Date: 2006-12-21 Time: 06.30AM


» UN Security Council to reconsider Liberian diamond export ban
Source: AFNS

The UN Security Council will vote December 20 on whether to lift a rough diamond export ban it imposed on Liberia in 2001, following a report from an expert delegation the UN sent to the country earlier this year.

The report, expected on December 15, will examine whether the Liberian government has taken enough steps to comply with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to prevent the international trade in conflict diamonds. It is possible that the ban will be lifted temporarily and then reexamined early next year.

The diamond export ban was imposed because Liberian dictator Charles Taylor was using diamonds to finance brutal civil wars in his own country and neighboring Sierra Leone. But although Taylor was ousted in August 2003 and is now in jail awaiting trial on war crimes charges, the UN Security Council has kept reimposing the ban because successor regimes have been weak and corrupt. Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who was legitimately elected, has been lobbying intensively for the ban to be lifted.

Johnson-Sirleaf has appointed a National Diamond Task Force to organize Liberia’s efforts to comply with the Kimberley Process, and the United States has provided $1.2 million in aid to help the country get into compliance.

Date: 2006-12-20 Time: 18.25PM


» Israel asks India to remove diamond tariff
Source: AFNS

Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eliyahu Yishai, who is on an official visit to India, has asked his counterpart, Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath, to remove the 5 percent tariff India charges on diamond imports from India early in the new year.

The Indian Finance Ministry has set up a committee to study whether to abolish or at least reduce the tariff.

Some 70 percent of Israeli exports to India are diamonds. India has the world’s largest diamond polishing industry, while Israel is a major center of the diamond trade.

Date: 2006-12-19 Time: 11.21AM


» Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt receives delegation from HRD as a result of the death of Indian
Source: AFNS

The four Antwerp diamond bourses and the offices of the Antwerp Diamond High Council (HRD) were closed Friday, December 8, as a sign of mourning as a result of the sudden death of Indian diamantair Nikhil Manilal Thursday, December 7.

Thursday a prominent Indian diamond dealer, Nikhil Manilal, became indisposed during a search visit in his home. The emergency services were called and brought the man to the hospital where the doctors diagnosed his death.

HRD and the entire Antwerp diamond community immediately presented its condolences to the bereft family. The flags still fly half mast on the buildings of the bourses and offices which were closed on Friday. All Indian diamond companies were closed on Friday, as well as on Monday.

The fact that the HRD was closed also implied the closing of Diamond Office. As such, no import nor export of diamonds were possible.

Both the HRD as well as the Antwerp diamond sector question the way the judicial search took place.

The judicial authorities already announced that they will start an investigation concerning the circumstances in which the search took place. The HRD discussed this matter further during a conversation with Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, who promised further actions.

A special commission has already started the investigation.

Date: 2006-12-18 Time: 09.15AM


» Elvis Presley diamond wedding ring being auctioned
Source: AFNS

A company called Profiles In History is auctioning off Elvis Presley’s diamond and platinum wedding band to his wife Priscilla December14–15, as part of an auction featuring more than 900 items.

The wedding ring is decorated with eight baguette-cut diamonds within a border of 16 fill-cut diamonds, with an expected sale price of $100,000 to $150,000. Elvis gave the ring to Priscilla when he married her at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967.

Beverly Hills, California-based Profiles In History is a dealer in “original historical letters and manuscripts.”

Date: 2006-12-17 Time: 18.50 PM


» Green diamond gift option available at $7.3 million
Source: AFNS

The Swiss jewelry house De Grisogono is offering an extremely rare, 25-carat green diamond for $7.3 million, according to the December issue of the luxury marketing magazine, Robb Report.

The magazine featured the green diamond as an option in a list of expensive but exclusive gift ideas.

The cushion-cut green diamond is set in a gold ring and features an additional 7 carats of black diamonds. It is described by Fawaz Gruosi, the founder of de Grisogono, as “the finest modern specimen of a green diamond,” eclipsed only by the 40.7 carat “Dresden Green” on display in Dresden’s Royal Palace.

Date: 2006-12-16 Time: 17.19 PM


» Rap star on diamond fact-finding trip to South Africa
Source: AFNS

Rap star Russell Simmons is making a fact-finding trip to South Africa to investigate how his Simmons Jewelry Company can help improve the lives of black South Africans who are struggling with poverty, HIV/AIDS and low-quality education. Simmons started the jewelry house with his wife Kimora Lee.

Simmons’s trip was reportedly paid for by the Diamond Information Center and the World Diamond Council.

The rap star said that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and Rabbi Marc Schneier, a prominent leader in the U.S Jewish community, had urged him to make the trip.

Date: 2006-12-15 Time: 08.45 AM


» Tiffany sales up 10 percent
Source: AFNS

Tiffany & Co. reported net sales increased 10 percent to $547.8 million in the quarter ending October 31, due to growth in the U.S. and most international markets, and net earnings rose 23 percent, to $29.1 million. In the nine months ending October 31, net sales rose 8 percent to $1.66 billion, and net earnings were $113.4 million, 1 percent less than in 2005.

U.S. retail sales increased 9 percent to $270.4 million in the quarter ending October 31, and comparable store sales rose 6 percent—13 percent in the New York flagship store and 4 percent in comparable branch stores. In the nine-month period, U.S. retail sales increased 6 percent to $819.5 million and comparable store sales rose 3 percent—4 percent in the New York flagship store and 3 percent in comparable branch stores. Comparable store sales growth in both periods was due to higher spending per transaction, the company said.

International retail sales rose 9 percent to $221.7 million in the quarter ending October 31 and 11 percent to $660 million in the nine-month period. Direct marketing sales increased 11 percent to $30.3 million in the quarter ending October 31 and 11 percent to $96 million in the nine-month period. In both periods, sales growth was generated by increases in the number of orders and in the amounts spent per order, the company said.

Other sales rose 23 percent to $25,424,000 in the third quarter and 5% to $86,453,000 in the year-to-date. The majority of the third quarter increase resulted from increased wholesale sales of diamonds.

At the end of the third quarter, the company operated 164 Tiffany & Co. stores and boutiques (compared with 152 a year ago), including 63 in the United States and 101 internationally.

Date: 2006-12-14 Time: 13.11 PM


» Analysts say movie could impact jewelry sales, but slightly
Source: AFNS

Analysts interviewed by the Reuters news agency say that The Blood Diamond, the Warner Bros. movie about the conflict diamond trade in Sierra Leone during the late 1990s, could hurt demand during the key holiday shopping season, but not too significantly. The movie is scheduled to open in the United States on Friday, December 8.

James Hurley, an analyst with the Telsey Group, said the movie’s star power and promotional blitz is likely to affect sentiment, but he doubted whether people will stop buying diamonds. “What a diamond means and what it stands for has been ingrained in people's psyches for decades, if not centuries. That's a pretty powerful attachment to ... destroy with just one film,” Hurley told Reuters.

William Armstrong of CL King analyst said the movie is likely to alter buying patterns for only a small group of potential buyers. “I'd be very surprised if it was a material amount,” Armstrong said to Reuters.

In a letter to clients quoted by Reuters, ThinkEquity Partners analyst Edward Weller wrote “The [diamond and jewelry] industry has worked hard and effectively to keep conflict diamonds from the mainstream markets, including certifying stones as conflict-free. Though the industry has, we think, done a very good job, the release of this movie could temper overall demand modestly, we believe, and briefly.”

Date: 2006-12-13 Time: 09.00 AM


» Diamond firms spend $282 million prospecting in Canada
Source: AFNS

Diamond companies have spent about Can. $323 million (U.S. $282 million) so far in 2006 prospecting for diamonds,, according to the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

De Beers has spent Can. $13 million (U.S. $11.3 million) on early-stage prospecting in Canada this year and expects to spend another Can. $15 million (U.S. $13.1 million) next year. Canada has three functioning diamond mines so far.

De Beers Canada is spending Can. $2 billion (U.S. $1.74 billion) to develop three new mines in Canada, the first ever for De Beers outside Africa. The three are the Snap Lake project in the Northwest Territories, which might start producing diamonds by next July 2007; the Victor Project in northern Ontario, which is expected to start producing diamonds in 2008, and the Gahcho Kue project in the Northwest Territories, a joint venture between De Beers Canada, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. and Camphor Ventures Inc.

Jim Gowans, the head of De Beers Canada, said the company will not brand diamonds mined in the country as “Canadian,” unlike some of the other producers, who have taken to making microscopic laser inscriptions on their stones to indicate their origin.

Date: 2006-12-12 Time: 16.30 PM


» Angola's Catoca mine projects $400 million in sales for 2006
Source: AFNS

Angola’s Catoca Mining Society, which runs the eponymous diamond mine, expects to make sales of $400 million worth of rough diamonds this year, $30 million more than earlier projections, said Managing Director Manuel Ganga Jr.

Ganga said the mine is exceeding production estimates by some 500,000 carats for this year, and treatment plant capacity has expanded from 1.6 million to 4.26 million metric tons.

The major stakeholders in the Catoca Mining Society are the state-owned Angolan diamond mining company Endiama and Russia’s diamond mining monopoly, Alrosa, with 32.8 percent apiece. It is claimed that the mine now constitutes the fourth largest diamond mining company in the world.

Date: 2006-12-11 Time: 14.15 PM


» WTO extends Kimberley Process 'waiver' for six years
Source: AFNS

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade in Goods approved a “waiver” of its rules that will allow the Kimberley Process to continue functioning for another six years. The full WTO must confirm the Novemmber 20 decision, which extended approval first given in early 2003.

The move was needed to allow countries participating in the Kimberley Process to take a number of steps that would ordinarily violate the WTO’s free trade rules, allowing countries to discriminate between diamonds based on their country of origin and to ban diamond exports and imports from specific countries that are violating the Kimberley Process rules and letting through diamonds from conflict zones.

Formally speaking, the WTO Kimberley Process waiver covers a list of countries: Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Venezuela.

Date: 2006-12-10 Time: 16.45PM


» IGI introduces synthetic diamond grading reports
Source: AFNS

The International Gemological Institute (IGI) has followed several other gemology labs in offering a special grading report for synthetic diamonds, based on a system it has been testing for more than a year.

The new certificate has a different “look and feel” from IGI’s grading reports for natural polished diamonds, explains what a synthetic diamond is and how it is produced and uses a distinct version of traditional diamond nomenclature. IGI will laser inscribe synthetic diamonds it grades this way with the words “Laboratory-Grown.” IGI’s New York president and CEO Jerry Ehrenwald said the point is to inform and protect the customer and the industry.

The Gemological Institute of America released in November its latest version of a synthetic diamond grading report. The preliminary version created a firestorm of controversy at the World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv in June.

Date: 2006-12-09 Time: 07.50AM


» Antwerp World Diamond Centre elated about approval for bill on re-evaluation of historical diamond s
Source: AFNS

Today the bill on the re-evaluation of the historical diamond stock was published in the Belgian Official Gazette. The bill allows diamond traders to revaluate the existing historical diamond stock. A payment of 4.5% will be made for this.

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre is delighted that the bill has been approved. The bill is part of the federal government’s comprehensive plan to support the further expansion of Antwerp as an international world centre for diamonds. “Thanks to this law, diamond traders will soon have a unique opportunity to strengthen the basis of their business strongly and to further reinforce their position in respect of bankers. This is an essential step to anchor the diamond business in Antwerp”

Date: 2006-12-08 Time: 07.32AM


» Diamantaire Mr. Nikhil Manilal died of heart attack during police raid
Source: diamondintelligence.com

At a dawn raid at 7:30 AM, on Thursday, December 7, the Antwerp police raided the house of Indian diamantaire Nikhil Manilal, who at the time was at home. When confronted with the police detectives he was struck by a heart attack and collapsed. The servants at the house wished to call Mr. Manilal’s wife, who was not at home, but they were not allowed by the police to make such phone call. Only when it was apparent that the 46-year old diamantaire had passed away, some five to ten minutes later, an ambulance was called. Dominique Reyniers of the justice department in Antwerp denies the charges and claims that an ambulance was called within a minute or so after the diamantaire’s collapse.

Around the same time, the police officers called the investigating magistrate (judge) in charge for instructions. The judge ordered the continuation of the search of the premises of the deceased as if nothing happened, apparently even when the deceased body was still on the premises. The clearly angry managing director of the Diamond High Council (HRD) noted that he doesn’t know what exactly happened, something that needs to be investigated, but “to continue an house search when someone is lying dead on the floor is clearly problematic. Even justice has some boundaries. That is humanity.” It is not known what triggered the investigation.

Today, the Antwerp diamond industry closed down to show its solidarity towards the community and the family of the bereaved. The Boards of Directors of the Antwerp Indian Association and the Indo-Belge Diamantaires Association have asked their members to close their offices for one day and, as it turned out, the entire diamond sector will support the closure, not just to show respect for the Nikhil Manilal’s family, but also to express its outrage for the conduct of the Antwerp police.

Date: 2006-12-07 Time: 07.30AM


» GIA makes permanent Donna Baker's appointment as president
Source: AFNS

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has announced the appointment of Donna M. Baker to the permanent position of president, effective immediately. Baker had been serving as GIA’s acting president since May 2006.

The announcement came at the opening of the GIA Board of Governors’ regular November meeting in Carlsbad. Board Chairman Helene Fortunoff said, “The Board is very pleased to have Donna’s former interim presidency now made permanent. She has been an effective member of our senior management team for more than five years and has consistently demonstrated a drive for excellence in all aspects of the GIA experience.”

GIA Chairman Ralph Destino, who chaired the search committee, noted that, “We screened and interviewed a broad range of very accomplished executives from a variety of fields before reaching our final decision. Our unanimous conclusion was that Donna Baker was the best of the best. Her knowledge of the gem and jewelry industry, and her understanding of the public-benefit, nonprofit role that defines GIA’s mission will serve us well going forward. She has the complete support of our Board of Governors.”

Baker took on the job of acting president last May following the resignation of then-president William E. Boyajian. Prior to that, Baker held the office of GIA’s vice president and general counsel since February 2001.

Baker holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a JD from the UCLA School of Law. She was named to the University’s Law Review from 1986 to1988, and was the Chief Comment Editor from 1987 to 1988. She is a member of the American Corporate Counsel Association, the American Bar Association, the California State Bar Association, the San Diego Bar Association and the North San Diego County Bar Association. Baker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University, with a triple major in sociology, psychology, and theology.

Date: 2006-12-06 Time: 12.25 PM


» New consumer diamond website debuts
Source: AFNS

A Rhode Island-based jewelry retailer called Ross-Simons has started a new consumer diamond website within its existing website, in competition with existing online diamond retailers like Blue Nile and Diamonds.com.

The website explains the basic characteristics of diamonds and lets consumers “design” their own rings by choosing from among a selection of stones and settings. Diamond earrings, bracelets, rings, pendants and necklaces are also offered on the site.

Ross-Simons is promoting its new consumer diamond website through its 15 retail stores, direct mail, catalogs, online ads and promotional emails, although it is not creating a new catalog specifically for the new website.

Date: 2006-12-05 Time: 09.56 AM


» Diamond law changes in South Africa have analyst's backing
Source: AFNS

South Africa’s Diamonds Amendment Bill could have a major beneficial impact on the country once the law, adopted a year ago on the National Assembly, is fully implemented, according to Maryann Middleton, a director of Routledge, Modise, Moss & Morris.

Middleton noted that the new law will abolish the South African Diamond Board and replace it with a South African Diamonds and Precious Metals Regulator, which will have overall responsibility over the buying and selling, import and export of rough diamonds, as well as their beneficiation—the provision of an adequate supply of rough diamonds to foster the domestic diamond polishing and diamond jewelry manufacturing industry.

To promote beneficiation, the bill also establishes a State Diamond Trader that has the right of first refusal over all rough diamonds proposed for export. Rough diamond exporters are required to prove within three months of completing an export sale that the proceeds have returned to the country. The new law also requires the disclosure of synthetic diamonds, both rough and polished. Middleton said the biggest problem with the new law is making sure it is fully implemented.

Date: 2006-12-04 Time: 11.50 AM


» Angola issues 19,000 diamond mining licenses
Source: AFNS

Angola has issued diamond mining licenses to some 19,000 companies out of 28,000 who applied recently when the country liberalized its mining laws. However, only 10 percent of the 19,000 approved companies are likely to find diamonds that will enable them to go beyond the prospecting stage.

Arnaldo Calado, chairman of the state-owned mining company Endiama, said the country is drafting changes in the law that will make it possible for Angolan citizens to trade polished diamonds, so that a domestic jewelry manufacturing industry can be developed. The government says it wants to use the wealth created by diamond mining to improve the lives of citizens of the mining areas.

Calado also said that 90 percent of the country’s miners are foreigners working in the country illegally, including citizens of other countries who have entered Angola from the north and northeast, Asians, Europeans and Americans.

Date: 2006-12-03 Time: 13.10 PM


» M. Fabrikant and Fabrikant-Leer file Chapter 11 petitions
Source: AFNS

M. Fabrikant & Sons, Inc. announced today that it, together with a U.S.subsidiary, Fabrikant-Leer International, Ltd., filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The Company's foreign and domestic affiliates were not included in the Chapter 11 filing.

The company is expected to continue to operate its business during the pendency of this Chapter 11 case as a debtor in possession under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The company expects a smooth transition into Chapter 11, with all of its facilities expected to remain open on normal schedules.

Fabrikant has negotiated financing arrangements with its senior secured lenders that remain subject to court approval. Using the Chapter 11 process, Fabrikant plans to continue to pay employee wages and benefits and to honor the customer fulfillment obligations and programs, and to make uninterrupted payments to suppliers for goods and services.

In addition, the Company continues to actively pursue a full range of strategic alternatives, including the sale or refinancing of the firm. Fabrikant believes that its Chapter 11 proceedings currently provide the best opportunity to maximize the value of its assets and its business for all stakeholders.

Date: 2006-12-02 Time: 09.11AM


» Kimberley Diamond Co. sells $7.5 million of diamonds
Source: AFNS

Australia’s Kimberley Diamond Company NL said it has sold 36,685 carats of diamonds from its Ellendale mine in Western Australia, at an average value of $206 (U.S.) per carat, for a total of $7.5 million, which is “in line with projections.”

In addition, the company is currently holding in stock diamonds worth Aus. $7.6 million (U.S.$5.9 million) as part of the inventory build-up to a tender sale which will take place in Antwerp toward the end of January.

The company said the newly commissioned South Plant at Ellendale Pipe 4 is performing well and, as planned, is ramping up to steady state throughput production of around 12,000 metric tons a day, which the firm expects to achieve by the end of November. The company hopes to achieve 9,000 metric tons a day at the East Plant at Pipe 9 before Christmas, and 12,000 metric tons a day before June.

Date: 2006-12-01 Time: 18.50 PM


» Ghana agrees to let WDC inspect diamond exports
Source: AFNS

Ghana has allowed the World Diamond Council, an industry watchdog group set up to combat the trade in conflict diamonds, inspect its diamond exports effective November 18 to ensure that no smuggled stones from neighboring, war-torn Cote D’Ivoire are getting through, said Ian Smillie, research coordinator for Partnership Africa Canada.

Smillie said the Ghanaians agreed to the step at the recent plenary session of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in Botswana. He said it is easy to tell the difference between Ghanaian and Ivorian stones.

He said that while the Kimberley Process is useful, it is hard to say how successful it has actually been in ending the trade in conflict diamonds. Smillie added that other African countries with problems controlling their diamond trade include Sierra Leone, Guinea, Togo and Liberia, the last of which is still barred by the UN Security Council from exporting any rough diamonds until it has adequate controls in place. In the past, conflict diamonds helped fuel civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).

Date: 2006-11-30 Time: 10.00 AM


» South African diamond levy bill postponed until 2007
Source: AFNS

South Africa’s National Treasury has delayed parliamentary action on the Diamond Export Levy Bill again so that it can draft regulations on exemptions. The bill will not be heard until after the new year.

The 5 percent levy will be imposed on rough diamonds exported from South Africa to promote local polishing of diamonds and the local jewelry industry—known as beneficiation. Rough diamond producers will be required to offer their stones to a State Diamond Trader first in any case.

The National Treasury has rejected a number of diamond industry suggestions for exemptions, such as De Beers’s argument that diamonds that cannot be cut economically in the country should not be subject to the levy, Chief Director of Legal Tax Design Prof. Keith Engel told the parliament. However, a suggestion by Trans Hex to exempt diamond mining companies that offer 100 percent of their rough diamonds to the proposed Diamond Exchange and Export Centre is being considered. He also said that import credits might be offered to diamond polishing firms as well as rough producers to encourage the import of rough stones from Angola, Botswana and Namibia for the South African polishing industry to process.

Head of Tax Policy Ismail Momoniat said the levy was meant to encourage beneficiation, not to raise money, and if it brought in too much money it would have to be reexamined.

Date: 2006-11-29 Time: 08.45 AM


» New York's new diamond tower gets green light
Source: AFNS

A $434 million “state-of-the-art diamond and jewelry center” on Manhattan’s 47th Street diamond district, to be called the Extell Diamond Tower, received approval from the New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) November 14.

If 85 percent of the building is filled with diamond and jewelry industry-related occupants and 50 percent with businesses that are either new to or expanding in the city, the developer would be eligible for city and New York State tax benefits of $49.6 million. According to IDA, the new jewelry center “is expected to provide a net economic benefit to the city of $10.8 million in connection with construction and between $134 million and $149 million in connection with ongoing operations.”

“New York City’s diamond and jewelry industry is a valuable contributor to the New York City economy, and yet its backbone, the 47th Street Diamond District, has seen little investment over the past 30 years,” said Interim IDA Chairman Joshua J. Sirefman. “Our goal is to preserve and expand the district, which faces increasing national and international competition. Not only will the creation of a 21st century facility provide an opportunity for industry growth, it will ensure that the site, which is in the heart of the district and is an attractive location for other commercial or residential uses, remains diamond and jewelry-related, helping to keep the diamond district intact.”

Construction is to start in March and continue for three years. Diamond district denizens appeared to be taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Date: 2006-11-28 Time: 10.00 AM


» Belgium and South Africa cooperating on diamonds
Source: AFNS

Belgium and South Africa have agreed to hold a workshop on cooperation between their respective diamond industries, with businesspeople and other leaders gathering to discuss the exchange of technology, training and information on legislation touching the diamond industry before mid-2007.

The two countries worked together at the just-concluded Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) plenary session in Botswana, especially on the mandatory three-year review of the process, for which Dr. Ayanda Ntsaluba, director-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, and Belgium’s Ambassador Jan Grauls served as co-chairs.

The two countries said they welcome the establishment of the KPCS Working Group of Alluvial Producers, and they said they would help the European Community as it takes over the revolving role of chair of the KPCS in 2007.

Date: 2006-11-27 Time: 08.45 AM


» $850,000 diamond dress highlights country music awards
Source: AFNS

Country music star Carrie Underwood appeared at the 40th Annual Country Music Awards in Nashville November 6 in a gown set with almost 800 diamonds by New York’s Kwiat Diamonds. Kwiat partnered with high end fashion designer David Rodriguez to make the dress, which is valued at approximately $850,000.

Along with the gown, the singer wore two diamond clip earrings on the front and a diamond brooch fastened on the back, also by Kwiat.

The Kwiat gown will be auctioned off for charity, with a portion of the proceeds going to Underwood’s charity of choice, the Humane Society of the United States, for its Rural Area Veterinary Services Program, and to Kwiat’s charity of choice, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The on-line auction will run November 29 to December 5

Date: 2006-11-26 Time: 09.35AM


» Argyle mine donates diamonds to museum
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine in Western Australia has donated a collection of more than 500 diamonds from the mine to the local Western Australian Museum, containing a range of different colors and cuts. David Rose, the managing director of Argyle Diamonds, made the presentation along with local aborigines with whom the mine cooperates.

Most of the diamonds produced at Argyle are industrial quality, but there are relatively small amounts of champagne (brown) and the famous Argyle pinks. Certain Indian diamond polishing firms are dependent on these.

The Argyle Mine has been functioning since the early 1980s, and is preparing to switch from open-pit to underground operations in 2008.

Date: 2006-11-25 Time: 18.50 PM


» Angola sees progress in diamond industry
Source: AFNS

Angola is making great progress in rejuvenating its mining industry, including diamonds, Acting Minister of Geology and Mining Mankenda Ambroise told a diamond seminar held by the country’s National Assembly in early November.

The official said the government is combating diamond smuggling by reestablishing security and stability in diamond mining areas ravaged by the country’s 27-year civil war, which only ended in 2002.

He also touted the achievements of the government-owned diamond mining company Endiama, which is attracting foreign and domestic investment as it expands the country’s diamond mining industry.

Date: 2006-11-24 Time: 17.25 PM


» Diamond studied for use in controlled nuclear fusion
Source: AFNS

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico are studying whether diamond can be used to encase fuel pullets that could drive controlled nuclear fusion, harnessing the energy that powers the sun and stars.

Using what is reputedly the world’s largest X-ray generator, the “Z machine,” the researchers managed to melt the tiny diamond crystals they were testing. The diamond would have to be in either pure liquid or pure solid form to work in the planned fusion reactor.

To get the diamond to melt, the researchers had to subject it to pressures more than 10 million times sea-level air pressure and shoot it off at 34 kilometers per second, faster than the earth goes around the sun.

Date: 2006-11-23 Time: 10.23 AM


» Botswana official says conflict diamonds a thing of the past
Source: AFNS

Consumers should understand that the forthcoming film “The Blood Diamond,” which is about the diamond smuggling that financed the civil war in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s, depicts a past situation, said Botswana Minerals and Energy Minister Charles Tibone.

Botswana, the world’s largest producer of gem diamonds by value, has never suffered a civil war, and Sierra Leone and Angola, which did suffer civil wars to which “conflict diamonds” contributed, are now at peace and have joined the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, Tibone pointed out. Liberia, another past sufferer, is cleaning up its act and should be able to join soon.

Botswana just finished hosting a plenary session of the Kimberley Process. Tibone said the process has succeeded in reducing conflict diamonds to just 0.2 percent of the world’s total, and the industry is striving to remind consumers of that. The film is scheduled for release December and the industry is worried it might spoil Christmas season sales.

Date: 2006-11-22 Time: 06.30AM


» Ghana to get help to avoid expulsion from Kimberley Process
Source: AFNS

Ghana faces expulsion from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme due to its serving as a transshipment point for rough diamonds smuggled from neighboring, war-torn Cote D’Ivoire.

The Kimberley Process plenary session, held November 6-9 in Gaborone, Botswana, approved a plan to help Ghana strengthen its internal diamond controls to avoid this possible loss of its Kimberley Process status. In so doing, it addressed findings of a Kimberley Process review visit to Ghana and reports from a United Nations’ Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire that diamonds mined in the rebel-held territory are entering international markets through Ghana. The plenary heard reports from its special envoy to Ghana, its review visit leader, a representative from Côte d’Ivoire, and the United Nations and Kimberley Process experts who visited Côte d’Ivoire in April 2006.

The plenary concluded that there may be credible indications that Ghana has not complied with its Kimberley Process obligations. It also decided that Ghana must take immediate steps to ensure that Ghana export only Ghanaian diamonds. A special Kimberley Process mission will visit Ghana in three months to review progress, the plenary session decided.

Ghanaian officials committed to take appropriate measures to maintain the integrity of the Kimberley Process.

Date: 2006-11-21 Time: 18.25PM


» Kimberly Process concludes plenary session in Botswana
Source: AFNS

The Kimberley Process, comprising 71 nations, representatives of civil society and the World Diamond Council, had wrapped up its 2006 plenary meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, with agreements on measures that will further strengthen the Kimberley Process, which is design to prevent the infiltration of conflict diamond into the marketplace.

Progress was achieved on several important issues including:
• The implementation and development of all recommendations contained in the Kimberley Process Three-Year Review, including the publication of Kimberley Process statistics.
• The development of stronger internal controls to strengthen government oversight of the industry within the next year, as demanded by NGOs and the diamond industry itself.
• Strong measures and assistance from governments and the diamond industry to assist participants with compliance. In this respect assistance was extended to Ghana to enable it to strengthen its internal controls, or face a possible loss of its Kimberley Process status.
• The development of formal procedures to deal with significant non-compliance by participant nations.

In addition, it was agreed that the Kimberley Process will continue to cooperate and liaise with the United Nations and other organisations and initiatives, such as Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Diamond Development Initiative and international and local NGOs to address the governance, regulatory, social and development issues facing countries with artisanal diamond mining and develop closer partnerships with the communities affected and civil society at the local level.

“I am pleased that this very important plenary session of the Kimberley Process has been concluded on a positive note. The clear message being sent by participant nations, civil society and the diamond industry is that this unique collaboration is determined to continue to work together,” said K.G. Moshashane, the outgoing chairman of the Kimberley Process. “We may not always agree on everything, but we are united in our view that the Kimberley Process is the best mechanism to bring a complete end to the trade in conflict diamonds.”

“We came to this meeting with deep concerns about the future of the Kimberley Process,” said Ian Smillie of Partnership Africa Canada. “We are very pleased with the great amount of progress made in dealing quickly and effectively with serious problems.”

“Considering the challenges we faced before this plenary, we are delighted by the progress achieved here in Gaborone,” said Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council. “Much credit must go to Botswana’s excellent leadership of a watershed in the history of the Kimberley Process. All the industry’s demands have been met and this demonstrates the determination of Participant governments to ensure that the Process has credibility and the resolve to rise to the challenges of the future”.

In 2007 the European Commission will assume the chair of the Kimberley Process. India was elected by consensus to the post of vice chair.

“The nature of our disagreements is such that the Kimberley Process emerges from them stronger,” said Karel Kovanda, on assuming the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process on behalf of the European Commission, said: “The nature of the points of agreement is unparalleled, and thanks to them, we are changing the world.”


Date: 2006-11-20 Time: 11.21AM


» Parliament approves bill in urgent proceedings
Source: AFNS

Antwerp World Diamond Centre elated about approval for bill on revaluation of historical diamond stocks

Antwerp, 13 November 2006. – The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is pleased that the important bill on the revaluation of historical diamond stocks has been approved by the Chamber of Representatives. The Antwerp World Diamond Centre emphasised at the same time that the bill only applies to carats already included in the diamond traders’ bookkeeping. “There has never been any question of so-called black carats,” according to Freddy Hanard, director-general of Antwerp World Diamond Centre. The term fiscal amnesty does not apply here and is misleading.

The Chamber approved the bill on the revaluation of the historical diamond stock in urgent proceedings yesterday. The bill allows diamond traders to revaluate the existing historical diamond stock. A payment of 4.5% will be made for this.

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is delighted that the bill has been approved in the Chamber. The bill is part of the federal government’s comprehensive plan to support the further expansion of Antwerp as an international world centre for diamonds. The approval of the Senate is expected before the end of the month. “Thanks to this law, diamond traders will soon have a unique opportunity to strengthen the basis of their business strongly and to further reinforce their position in respect of bankers,” according to Freddy Hanard, director-general of Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

At the same time, AWDC draws attention to the fact that the bill only applies to existing carats in the diamond traders’ bookkeeping. In any case, there is no question of so-called black carats in the diamond traders’ bookkeeping, which makes the term fiscal amnesty misleading. “This is an essential step to anchor the diamond business in Antwerp,” concluded Hanard.

About AWDC/HRD
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is internationally recognised as an organising body and the official representative of the Belgian diamond sector. The AWDC promotes official contacts between the diamond sector and the government and actively promotes the diamond business in Belgium and abroad. The AWDC is located in the Hoveniersstraat in Antwerp.

Date: 2006-11-19 Time: 09.15AM


» HRD Welcomes Technical Breakthrough for Diamonds
Source: AFNS

The Diamond High Council (HRD) welcomed the launch of Matrix Diamond Technology in Antwerp today, saying the technology will bring the polishing process of diamonds, and large stones in particular, closer to perfection.

"This technology preserves Antwerp’s ability to offer unrivalled expertise and skills to the industry when needed," HRD spokesman Philip Claes said. "With these developments Antwerp can continue to play a key role in serving this industry with innovative technology.”

Antwerp is the world's largest diamond trade centre, handling approximately 80% of the world’s rough supplies. As an umbrella organisation, HRD represents an industry with more than 1.800 diamond traders and over 30.000 employees, comprising many different
nationalities who are directly and indirectly employed in the diamond trade.

Traditionally Antwerp is an important centre for diamond tenders. Last month, a 603-carat rough diamond with the size of a baby fist was tendered in Antwerp. The diamond will be polished in Antwerp.

"This is about strengthening our skills pool. In terms of the technology, Matrix is unique in the way that it speeds up the polishing process and gives perfection when polishing a rough stone,” Claes said.

Matrix Diamond Technology’s is the first to apply patented 3-D scanner technology and other unique applications to determine the exact purity of a diamond.

“The entire process marks the guidelines for polishers on the stone itself in 3-D lines allowing them to apply their skills with unprecedented accuracy,” said Paul van Der Steen, co-founder and designer of Matrix Diamonds proprietary technology.

Matrix Diamond Technology specializes in analyzing, manufacturing and realising important rough diamonds. The company’s dedicated, fully trained engineering team examines the rough diamonds to determine their true potential. Highly advanced technology is used to achieve the maximum accuracy and certainty. The analysis process is unique.

“Matrix technology believes in working together with its clients, consulting and updating them regularly during the manufacturing process. Our state of the art, newly commissioned highly accurate measuring equipment also accelerates the manufacturing process,” said co-founder and larges stone expert Ziad Al-Ahmadi.

Date: 2006-11-18 Time: 17.19 PM


» Levy on South African rough diamond exports awaits passage
Source: AFNS

The South African government and diamond industry are still debating what exactly would be covered under the proposed 5 percent levy on rough diamond exports, which is about to come up for a vote in the country’s parliament.

The national treasury will release draft regulations next week that could allow some rough diamond producers to pay less than 1 percent of the value of their exports under the Diamond Export Levy Bill, said National Chief Director of Tax Policy Cecil Morden.

But rough diamond producers want assurances that they will not be taxed for diamond sent out of the country for testing and then returned, said Brian Gutkin of the South African Diamond Council.

De Beers and other rough diamond producers plan to testify before parliament concerning the new levy, which the government intends to boost “beneficiation,” or South African domestic polishing of domestically mined rough. In the past, only 3 percent of South African mined rough diamonds were processed domestically, according to one estimate.

The export levy is 15 percent under current law.

Date: 2006-11-17 Time: 12.25 PM


» Catherine Sproule named CRJP director for North America
Source: AFNS

The Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices (CRJP) announced that it has appointed Catherine Sproule director of North American Operations.Her office will be in Toronto. In addition, she will be responsible for the management of CRJP's global finances and administration.

Sproule most recently served as executive director of Canada’s jewelry trade association, and was the Canadian PR director for the Diamond Trading Company’s Diamond Information Center. She has also held the role of senior director of communications for Canada’s national television broadcaster, the CBC.

The CRJP’s goal is to promote responsible ethical, social and environmental practices throughout the diamond and gold jewelry supply chain, from mining to the retail sector.

Date: 2006-11-16 Time: 09.56 AM


» Alrosa's involvement in Angola deepens
Source: AFNS

New prospects for Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa are opening up in Angola, following an early November meeting in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos. The two countries celebrated the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, although Angola still owes Russia for war debts incurred as a result of the former Soviet Union’s aid to the Angolan government in its 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. Among other things, Russia wants Angola to grant Alrosa more mining rights.

Alrosa is active in Angola through the Catoca mine, the only kimberlite mine in the southern African nation, which produces 6 million carats of rough a year, 30 percent of the country’s rough diamond exports. Two Israel-based diamantaires, Lev Leviev and Dan Gertler, buy much of the rough from the mine, the latter through a joint venture with Alrosa called Sunland that purchases 50 percent of the output. Leviev is active through a joint venture with Angola’s state-owned company SODIAM.

The Russian diamond firm is also a partner in the Camatchia-Camigico kimberlite site, in which it holds a 45 percent stake. The other partners are the Angolan state owned diamond mining firm Endiama, Escom, the mining finance arm of Portugal’s Banco Spirito Santo, and two other Angolan companies, Hipergesta and Angodiam. The agreement for this site was signed in April, and mining rights went to the Luo-Socieidade Mineiro de Camatchia Camigico. The Camatchia kimberlite pipe is expected to produce 600,000 carats per year of higher quality rough diamonds than at Catoca, starting within the next year. Alrosa and Endiama are working together on prospecting and mining, and the Angolan firm is to send staff for training in Russia.

A new hydroelectric plant on the Chicapa River has boosted the Catoca mine’s capacity, but Alrosa may need to invest another $170 million to enable to plant to power operations at Camatchia as well. Alrosa also has a 39.5 percent stake in a kimberlite prospecting project at Cacolo, which will need an initial investment of $14 million. Eventually Alrosa may be involved in half of Angola’s diamond production.

Date: 2006-11-15 Time: 11.50 AM


» Diavik production 2.83 million carats in third quarter
Source: AFNS

The Diavik Diamond Mine produced 2.829 million carats of rough diamonds from its A-154 South and North kimberlite pipes in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date production to 7.337 million carats, with the highest monthly processing rates in August and September, management said.

The mine is continuing operations and construction as planned, despite the early closure of the ice road to the site at the end of last winter, management said. Construction of the new A418 dike was completed as planned in the third quarter following a successful airlift of supplies, and the dike was made watertight in early September. The airlift was to continue until the end of the year.

The mine continued its underground feasibility studies in the third quarter; the A154 tunnel reached approximately 1,400 meters below the surface, and a further 870 meters was completed on the branch tunnel, allowing work crews to reach the A418 kimberlite pipe. Approximately 900 meters more of tunneling is required to reach the A154 kimberlite. The tunnel being dug to test-sample the A21 pipe advanced approximately 1,300 meters below the surface, and by the end of September the tunnel face had nearly reached the A21 kimberlite.

The Diavik Diamond Mine, located 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, is a joint venture between mining giant Rio Tinto with a 60 percent stake and Aber Diamond Corp. of Toronto with a 40 percent stake.

Date: 2006-11-14 Time: 13.10 PM


» New color diamond website debuts
Source: AFNS

The Natural Color Diamond Association announced it has a new website, www.NCDIA.com. The group said it developed its new “consumer-friendly” website due to growing interest in and demand for natural color diamonds. Research suggests that consumers look for information, usually on the Internet, before seeking out reputable retailers to make their purchase.

The website has a buyer’s guide, retail store locator and design gallery, which are designed to provide consumers with easy access to information about natural color diamonds, allow them to “window shop” for natural color diamond jewelry and learn how and where to purchase and natural color diamonds. The website is searchable by color so that a user can delve directly into the color of his or her choice, or can learn more general information first and then decide on a favorite color.

The website was designed by Loren Stomel Advertising, Inc. of Culver City, California., based on market studies by Sponsorship Research International.

Date: 2006-11-13 Time: 09.11AM


» Liberian president appoints diamond task force
Source: AFNS

The president of Liberia, Dr. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has appointed a Diamond Task Force to work on implementing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in the West African country so that international diamond export sanctions can be lifted, according to local press reports.

The UN Security Council recently voted to extend the ban on diamond exports from Liberia until the end of the year. The sanctions were originally imposed in 2001 to stop then-dictator Charles Taylor from using smuggled diamonds to fund the brutal civil wars in his country and neighboring Sierra Leone. The international outcry that resulted helped lead to the establishment of the Kimberley Process itself. But although Taylor was ousted in August 2003 and now awaits trial for his crimes, UN fact-finding teams have found that the country still lacks adequate controls, leading to the continuation of sanctions.

Among the members of the Diamond Task Force are its chairman, Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Dr. Eugene Shannon; the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Donald Booth; the head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, Alan Doss; and the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Lin Songtian.

Date: 2006-11-12 Time: 18.50 PM


» Izhakoff calls on Kimberley Process to address Cote D'Ivoire smuggling
Source: AFNS

Diamond smuggling from the strife-wracked West African country Cote D’Ivoire to neighboring countries is the most urgent issue the plenary session of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme must deal with, World Diamond Council Chairman Eli Izhakoff told the gathering in Gaborone, Botswana, in early November.

He also called for “urgent and immediate action to be taken to investigate and address alleged violations of the Kimberley Process in several other participant countries.” Whatever measures are necessary to achieve this must be agreed among the participants and implemented without further delay, he said.

Izhakoff said all participant governments should review their internal Kimberley Process control mechanisms to ensure they are fully effective, “with particular regard to the need for periodic physical inspections of imports and exports of rough diamonds and random sampling of traders in rough diamonds to verify compliance.”

Izhakoff also said that statistics on the movement of rough diamonds should be made public, and participating governments should cooperate with the Working Group on Statistics to ensure that such statistics are complied, collated and published. The peer review process should also be strengthened, he said.

Date: 2006-11-11 Time: 10.00 AM


» 44 laureates out of 1092 designs selected for "HRD Awards 2007"
Source: AFNS

HRD Awards is a biennial international diamond jewellery design competition with the chance for a jewellery designer to win not only a prestigious international award, but to stake his/her place on the global jewellery map.

The HRD Awards is widely recognized as the world’s leading design contest in creative and innovative diamond jewellery, and the theme given to the 12th edition of this competition “A Night at the Opera” encourages designers to produce sparkling and glamorous jewellery. The laureates of the competition and their diamond sponsors are guaranteed a worldwide audience for their designs. Publicity planned ahead of the prize winners’ ceremony includes an extensive and professionally made press dossier with catalogue and photo material which will be sent to the major international trade magazines worldwide.

A professional jury selected 44 designs from 44 artists from 11 countries. The criteria were creativity, originality, wearability and craftsmanship. Important is the theme “A Night at the Opera” as the source of inspiration.

The laureates are: Ahluwalia Reena (Canada); Bao Shan Feng (China); Belis Esther (Belgium); Bovendeerd Sarah (Belgium); Camilo Soraya Maria (Brazil); De Castro Luiza (Brazil); Grieco Ruth (Brazil); He Ying Ying (China); Honggan Zhao (China); Ishikawa Kazuyo (Japan) ; Jing Shi (China); Keereedej Chatri (Thailand); Lee Mei (Belgium); Ma Ke Yang (China) ; Magdaraog Buitre Ronil (Philippines) ; Manilla Navarette Jorge (Mexico); Marié Gaëlle (France); Matsumoto Hiroshi (Japan); Miao Ximao (China); Mosseed Bin Abdulaziz Sarah (Saudi Arabia) ; Ohtsuki Asako (Japan) ; Pellegrini Lemos Juliana (Brazil) ; Rajendra Ghai Neha (India) ; Ray Yan (China) ; Resende Sancha Liva (Brazil) ; Rosetti Eliania (Brazil); Rudrajit Bose (Brazil) ; Sasaki Hitomi (Japan) ; Sato Kana (Japan) ; Schodts Marleen (Belgium); Shah Reema (Belgium); Song Yi (China); Sossou Alamorean Alina (France); Swinnen Nathalie (Belgium); Takagi Chisa ( Japan); Tavora Rachel & Tomasi Mariana (Brazil); Tsuda Tamako (Japan); Van Belleghem Hilde ( Belgium);Van Isacker Annelies (Belgium); Van Puyvelde Anouck (Belgium); Weinberger Annelies (Belgium); Windeshausen Timothé (Belgium); Zhao Yi (China); Zhi Ying Zheng (China).

The winning collection will be exhibited and promoted during 2007 – 2008 in Belgium and abroad, with an opening exhibition to take place on May 24, 2007. In July and August of 2007, all the jewels will be prominently exhibited at the Diamond Museum Province of Antwerp, after which de collection will be exhibited at the international jewellery fairs, as well as in museums and in jewellery galleries.

www.hrd.be - www.hrdawards.com

Date: 2006-11-10 Time: 08.45 AM


» Illegal diamond mining underway in India
Source: AFNS

informed members of the Bhunjia tribe in India’s central Chhattisgarh state are picking up rough diamonds washed loose by the monsoon rains and selling them to diamond dealers from Mumbai (Bombay) and Gujarat state for as little as 100 rupees ($2) per stone.

The illegal mining is going on in the Devbhog and Mainpur areas of Chhattisgarh, while the state government is trying to set up central selling areas so the locals can sell the stones there and not get ripped off by the outside dealers who are buying the stones and illegally shipping them out of the state, said Chief Minister Raman Singh. The authorities have confiscated Chhattisgarh diamonds from many of the big-city dealers.

A diamond firm called B. Vijay Kumar Chhattisgarh Exploration Pvt Ltd (BVCE) obtained a license to prospect in 4,600 square kilometers in the area in January 2000, but had its license revoked, a move it is fighting in court. De Beers and other diamond mining majors are also interested in prospecting in the state.

Date: 2006-11-09 Time: 10.00 AM


» Arkansas park yields 5.47 carat canary diamond
Source: AFNS

The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. has yielded its second large diamond in as many months. A tourist named Bob Wehle, from Ripon, Wisconsin, found a 5.47 carat canary yellow diamond in the park October 14.

In September, Donald and Brenda Roden of Point, Texas found a 6.35 carat diamond at the park, which is the only park in the world where tourists can look for and keep any diamonds they find.

Park officials said they are not in the business of estimating the value of diamonds visitors find, but a 4.21 flawless canary yellow diamond found in March was estimated at $15,000 to $60,000 by a New York diamond dealer. The park is the site of the largest diamond ever found in the United States—a 40.23 carat white stone dug up in 1924 and dubbed the Uncle Sam diamond.

Date: 2006-11-08 Time: 08.45 AM


» UN Security Council Extends ban on Liberian diamond exports
Source: AFNS

The UN Security Council voted October 20 to leave the international ban on rough diamond exports from Liberia in place until the end of the year.

The vote came despite Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s intensive lobbying to get the ban lifted so the country can benefit from rough diamond revenues.

The Security Council indicated that it wants to lift the ban, which was imposed when former dictator Charles Taylor was using diamond smuggling revenue to finance civil wars in his own country and neighboring Sierra Leone prior to his August 2003 ouster. But Johnson-Sirleaf’s government, the first to be legitimately elected in the West African country since the end of its civil war, must do more to enforce the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, according to the Security Council.

Date: 2006-11-07 Time: 13.11 PM


» SouthernEra Diamonds finds 29 diamonds in Congo
Source: AFNS

SouthernEra Diamonds Inc., the Canadian diamond exploration firm, said it has found 29 diamonds measuring 0.5 mm or larger in the Democratic Republic of Congo—23 diamonds 0.5 to 1 mm, and six diamonds bigger than 1 mm and up to 4.5 millimeters in diameter. The diamonds were found in 16 different exploration stream samples.

SouthernEra Diamonds said its kimberlite exploration program, a joint venture with BHP Billiton that covers more than 13,000 square kilometers of mineral permits, “is producing high-interest diamond results and is progressing to the target drill testing stage.” The mineral permits are located in the diamond-mining Kasaï Provinces that have produced two of the top 10 largest diamonds in the world and are producing more than 20 million carats of diamonds per year. So far, five permit blocks have returned high-interest visual kimberlitic indicator minerals, with some probes confirmed kimberlitic, the company said.

SouthernEra Diamonds has extensive kimberlite diamond exploration and alluvial programs in the Congo as well as Canada, Gabon, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The Company also holds a 57 percent interest in the Klipspringer Diamond Mine in South Africa and maintains an 18 percent free-carried interest in the Camafuca Diamond Project in Angola.

Date: 2006-11-06 Time: 09.00 AM


» DTC stopping marketing support in five countries
Source: AFNS

Following its annual strategic review, De Beers’s Diamond Trading Company (DTC) has decided to stop providing local marketing support in Thailand, Spain, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, effective December 31.

“This will allow greater focus of management time on the DTC Marketing Department’s key goal of growing global consumer demand for diamonds, and the most effective use of what will be a substantially increased DTC marketing investment in 2006, a trend the DTC hopes to continue,” the company said.

The DTC said it hopes that all of the affected staff will continue to work for the company until the end of the year. The company added that it “will consult with relevant sightholders that may be impacted by this announcement and seek to minimize any such impact.”

Date: 2006-11-05 Time: 16.30 PM


» BHP Billiton says diamond production down 43 percent
Source: AFNS

Mining giant BHP Billiton said it produced only 487,000 carats of rough diamonds at its 80 percent owned Ekati Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories in the third quarter, down 43 percent from the third quarter of 2005 and down 16 percent from the second quarter of this year.

The decline came despite a 4 percent increase in the amount of kimberlite processed at the mine, as operations change from open-pit to underground mining.

The yield could decline further and the “mix” could change as the mine digs deeper underground, BHP Billiton said.

Date: 2006-11-04 Time: 14.15 PM


» Release of Blood Diamond Movie advanced by one week
Source: AFNS

Warner Bros. has announced that it will be advancing the release date of its Blood Diamond movie to December 8, 2006, one week earlier than previously was intended.

According to Dan Fellman, president of Domestic Distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures: “We have seen the positive buzz on the film building, so it made sense to put it up on screens as early as possible to take advantage of what promises to be excellent word-of-mouth. We also want to give Academy and guild members every opportunity to see Blood Diamond on the big screen in anticipation of a very competitive awards season”.

“Everyone involved in Blood Diamond, on both sides of the camera, believed in this movie and worked very hard to make it happen. On behalf of all of them, I am very pleased that the studio is demonstrating so much faith in our film,” stated the movie’s director Edward Zwick, in the announcement by the studio.

Date: 2006-11-03 Time: 13.34 AM


» Alrosa profits almost $300 million in first three quarters
Source: AFNS

Alrosa’s net profits totaled 8.041 billion rubles ($298.9 million) in the first three quarters of 2006, an increase of 24 percent from last year, on aggregate revenues of 55.288 billion rubles ($2.055 billion).

The Russian diamond mining monopoly produced $1.358 billion of rough diamonds, 2.8 percent above its target, and sold $1.607 billion of rough diamonds, 0.3 percent above target. Polished diamond sales were $104.3 million, 12 percent below target, because, the company said, it is trying to enter the U.S. market directly and was working on certifying its operating procedures with the Gemological Institute of America.

Diamond exploration expenses were 1.6645 billion rubles ($61.88 million), 1.3 percent above target.

Date: 2006-11-02 Time: 17.19 PM


» European Diamonds sells almost $1 million of Lesotho diamonds
Source: AFNS

European Diamonds said Oct. 30 that it sold 18,400 carats of diamonds from its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho for $980,400, or $49 a carat, up from $42 a carat earlier this year. The tender was held in Antwerp by the company's sales agent, BHP Billiton Belgium.

This brings to a total of $2.18 million the company’s gross proceeds from diamonds produced at Liqhobong’s “Satellite Pipe” since the start of 2006.

In the 10 months from December 2005 to the end of September, the plant at Liqhobong processed 67,577 tonnes of kimberlite from the Satellite open pit for a total diamond recovery of 40,899 carats. A pre-feasibility study at the mine is underway, with results due for independent review early in 2007.

The plant at Liqhobong is expected to produce 650 to 850 carats per day at full capacity.

Date: 2006-11-01 Time: 10.23 AM


» WDC adds support to NGO's call to Kimberley Process participants
Source: AFNS

The World Diamond Council (WDC) added its voice to points raised in a recently published report, “Killing Kimberley? Conflict Diamonds and Paper Tigers,” put out by the Candian-based NGO Partnership Africa Canada (PAC). In the report, PAC stated that, although the Kimberley Process (KP) "has been very successful," some recent events have highlighted the need for participating governments to urgently address some important issues, such as allegations that rough diamonds are being smuggled from Ivory Coast, a country subject to a UN Security Council Resolution banning the export of diamonds, into neighboring countries.”

In its statement, the WDC said it “would like to renew its call, made earlier this month, to all KP participants to act swiftly and effectively to resolve this situation and take any measures deemed appropriate to protect the future integrity of the Kimberley Process, which as PAC states has ‘made a difference and seemed to be getting stronger.’"

“A well governed and effectively implemented Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is of paramount importance and benefit to the diamond industry,” the WDC said. “Millions of people around the world, many of them in developing countries, depend on diamonds for their livelihoods and each of us recognizes the need for a well managed system that delivers transparency and confidence to the consumer. The WDC has always worked hard to ensure this objective is met, in full.”

The WDC added that “we would like to express our full support for Partnership Africa Canada's call for KP participants to ‘move quickly when there are credible indications of non-compliance with its standards, and to take decisive action that demonstrates to all participants, the industry and diamond consumers that it is protecting their interests and - more importantly - that it is working to ensure that the scourge of conflict diamonds ends, forever.’"

Date: 2006-10-31 Time: 15.01 PM


» Diamond frosted wedding cake worth $20 million
Source: AFNS

A wedding cake with frosting studded with diamonds said to be worth some $20 million went on display in Beverly Hills, California October 16.

Mimi So Jewelers worked with cake design company Nahid La Patisserie Artistique on the cake, said the UPI wire service.

The diamond cake was part of a promotion for the new Luxury Brands Bridal Show, opening later in the month.

Date: 2006-10-30 Time: 08.26AM


» U.S. retail jewelers sales growth down in 2005
Source: AFNS

U.S. retail jewelers saw overall median sales growth decline to an estimated 3.9 percent in 2005, compared to 6.1 percent in 2004, according to Jewelers of America’s 2006 Cost of Doing Business Survey.

However, all store categories experienced at least some growth, the organization said. Chain stores and independent high-end stores saw the highest growth at 4.9 percent and 4.4 percent respectively, while independent mid-range stores experienced 2.5 percent growth. Store profitability inched up to 4 percent in 2005 from 3.9 percent in 2004 and 4.4 percent in 2003. Gross margins were down slightly to 48.4 percent in 2005, compared to 49.2 percent in 2004, and are at their lowest point since 2000’s 47.4 percent.

Diamonds continue to represent the greatest share of sales, with diamond jewelry accounting for 33 percent and loose diamonds representing 15 percent. Colored stone jewelry (10 percent) and gold jewelry (9 percent) provide the other two largest shares of retailers’ sales.

The JA 2006 Cost of Doing Business Survey was prepared by marketing research firm Advantage Marketing Information. Data are from a cross-section of retail jewelers: 27.8 percent independent high-end firms, 56.9 percent independent mid-range firms, 6.1 percent designer, artist or custom firms, and 6.4 percent chain stores.

Date: 2006-10-29 Time: 07.32AM


» China Diamond finds 101.5-carat gem-quality diamond
Source: AFNS

Diamond and gold mining company China Diamond Corp. said it found a 101.5-carat gem quality diamond at its 701 Changma Diamond Mine in mainland China’s Shandong Province.

The 101.4695 carat diamond is 29.4 millimeters long and 17.853 millimeters wide. It is described as a yellowish, translucent and an oblong octahedron. It was found May 27.

The stone is now owned by Mengyin VVS1 Diamond Corporation Ltd., a joint venture in which China Diamond Corp. has a 50 percent stake. It is currently being held under security at the Bank of China in Beijing, and will be available for public display as the joint venture organizes an auction.

Date: 2006-10-28 Time: 08.45AM


» WFDB president calls for common strategy and nomenclature for synthetics
Source: AFNS

Ernest Blom, the president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, has reiterated his organization’s resolve that the diamond industry and the gemological community develop a common strategy regarding the grading of synthetic diamonds, as well as common nomenclature, which would clearly differentiate between synthetics and diamonds of natural origin. His statement follows the announcement by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) on October 6 that it would begin accepting synthetic diamonds for grading, starting on January 1.

Blom recognized the GIA for consulting with WFDB as it prepares for the release of its synthetic diamond grading report, and noted that the GIA chairman, Ralph Destino, and the head of its gem lab, Dr. Tom Moses, had agreed to delay the original release date at the 32nd World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv in July, in order to address concerns that were raised by delegates during the congress. “We have met and spoken with the GIA leadership on several occasions, including with its acting president, Donna Baker, since the congress, and all have shown willingness to discuss the issues we raised, such as the creation of a different nomenclature for synthetics, which would avoid them being confused with natural diamonds. We have great confidence in GIA’s commitment to the wellbeing of our industry, and we trust that, when it comes to the handling of synthetics, the organization is determined to do the right thing.”

Blom stressed the importance of leading gem labs to develop a harmonized approach to the grading of synthetic diamonds. “Our interest, first and foremost, in agreeing that labs grade synthetics, is to provide accurate and unambiguous information to the jewelry consumer,” he said. “If different labs adopt different strategies, and use a variety of different nomenclature, then the consumer will be presented with a range of mixed messages. That is exactly what we need to avoid.”

“It is my hope that the gemological community will soon use a single standard for the grading of synthetic diamonds as will be proposed by the IDC following Congress’ Resolution,” Blom said. “We shall liaise closely with organizations such as CIBJO and IDMA to facilitate such a result. While synthetic diamonds are a legitimate product with its own market niche to fill, they must always be identified as synthetic diamonds, and when they are graded the documentation and terminology should be recognizable at a glance as referring to synthetics.”

Date: 2006-10-27 Time: 19.29PM


» Alrosa sales up in first three quarters
Source: AFNS

Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa said it sold $1.963 billion worth of rough diamonds in the first nine months of 2006, 1.2 percent more than its target.

The increase was driven by 10 percent growth in domestic sales, to $921 million, even though rough exports were actually down 6 percent to $1.042 billion. The decline in exports was due mainly to a fall in demand for small goods in India, the company said, while predicting a pick-up in sales in the final quarter.

Alrosa’s production target for the entire year is $2.277 billion, including the company’s share of the Nyurba mine in Yakutia, compared to $2.259 billion last year. Rough diamond sales in 2006 are expected to total $2.83 billion, including sales of accumulated stockpiles, compared to $2.86 billion last year. Sales of polished diamonds from Alrosa’s Moscow and Yakutia polishing facilities are expected to total $163.7 million, and after-tax profits are expected to be 14.622 billion rubles ($558 million), compared to 15.1 billion rubles ($560 million) in 2005.

Date: 2006-10-26 Time: 13.15PM


» South African government reaches compensation deal with tribe
Source: AFNS

The South African Government has reached a deal with the Nama tribe in the Richtersveld, a remote area on the country’s northwestern coast near Namibia, settling a landmark compensation claim relating to diamond mining, according to government officials and lawyers for the tribe.

The deal will involve the return of the 84,000 hectares of land seized from the tribe in 1927 around the town of Alexander Bay by predecessors of the government-owned Alexkor mining company. In 2003, South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled that the tribe was entitled to compensation.

The plaintiffs were seeking up to 2.5 billion rand ($329 million) in compensation for diamonds extracted over the years and environmental damage, in addition to the land itself. The value of diamonds mined in the area in the past 70 years is said to be $2.7 billion. In the settlement, the government agreed to a lump-sum payment of 1.9 million rand ($250,000), joint mining ventures with tribe and environmental restoration projects.

Date: 2006-10-25 Time: 06.30AM


» African mining ministers hold diamond conference
Source: AFNS

Ministers of mining, minerals and energy from Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and South Africa met in the Namibian capital Windhoek Oct. 19 for a one-day summit on how to preserve and extend the benefits the diamond industry has brought to their countries. The conference was sponsored by De Beers.

Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy Erkki Nghimtina said diamonds help fund schools, clinics, hospitals and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Statistics discussed at the conference are that 65 percent of the 3world’s rough diamonds are produced in Africa, contributing more than $8.4 billion a year to the continent’s economy. In the southern part of the continent, more than 28,000 people depend on the industry for their livelihood.

Date: 2006-10-24 Time: 18.25PM


» Rio Tinto produces 37 percent more rough in third quarter
Source: AFNS

Mining giant Rio Tinto produced 9.206 million carats of rough diamonds in the third quarter of 2006, up 9 percent from the second quarter and up 37 percent from the third quarter of 2005. However, production in the first three quarters of 2006 dropped to 25.6 million carats, off 9 percent compared to 2005.

The company wholly owns the Argyle Mine in Western Australia, and has a 78 percent stake in the Murowa Mine in Zimbabwe and a 60 percent stake in Diavik in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Production at Argyle totaled 8.33 million carats in third quarter due to higher grades, up from 7.509 million carats in the second quarter and up from 5.995 million carats in the third quarter of 2005. Production in the first three quarters at Argyle fell to 21.052 million carats from 24.021 million carats in the corresponding period of 2005. The open pit at Argyle will be exhausted by 2008, when underground operations will begin, extending the life of the mine 10 years.

At Diavik, Rio Tinto’s share of record rough diamond production rose 30 percent to 1.697 million carats from 1.306 million carats in the third quarter of 2005. The total for the first three quarter of 2006 rose to 4.402 million carats from 3.865 million carats in 2005, even though the winter ice road closed early this year. The company attributed the improved results at Diavik to better throughput.

Rio Tinto’s share of the Murowa production was 44,000 carats in the third quarter of 2006 and 148,000 carats in the first nine months of 2006. The company said that as regards diamond prospecting, it was concentrating on Canada, Botswana, Mauritania, India and Brazil.

Date: 2006-10-23 Time: 11.21AM


» De Beers-Namibia negotiations to wrap up by year's end
Source: AFNS

De Beers and the Namibian government are seeking to conclude their negotiations over renewal of their five-year contract by the end of this year, Stephen Lussier, executive director of external and corporate affairs for the De Beers Group, told the Windhoek newspaper The Namibian. The negotiations have been under way since November 2005.

According to Mining Weekly, the Namibian government is seeking to establish a centralized government-controlled diamond trading body, like the new State Diamond Trader in neighboring South Africa. This would get first dibs on all local rough diamond production and would also receive supplies from De Beers’s Diamond Trading Company in London. De Beers may agree to this as a joint venture, Mining Weekly said.

De Beers and the Namibian government have a 50-50 joint venture, Namdeb, which produces the majority of the country’s rough diamonds.

Date: 2006-10-22 Time: 09.15AM


» Antwerp World Diamond Center created, independent director named
Source: AFNS

The board of directors of the HRD formally decided that the soon to be formed foundation, which will be responsible for the operation of the Belgian diamond sector’s umbrella organization, will be the “Antwerp World Diamond Center.” The brand name “HRD” will be reserved for an independent body, formally called “NV HRD Antwerp” which will incorporate current commercial activities.

“Through this name—Antwerp World Diamond Center—we seek to acquire a clearer profile in the diamond trade and especially the world outside, putting the emphasis on Antwerp as a world diamond centre,” explained Freddy Hanard, managing director of newly renamed body. The restructuring will be completed early in 2007.

The board of directors also appointed Theo Dilissen as an independent director of the Antwerp World Diamond Center. He joins six directors chosen through direct election by the diamond community, and three representatives appointed by the diamond exchanges, one director from the manufacturing sector, and one delegate appointed by the employee organizations.

Dilissen currently serves as CEO at Avia Partner, which is a Brussels-based company offering services to some 400 airlines, at 32 airports in five European countries.

Date: 2006-10-21 Time: 18.50 PM


» Victoria's Secret to unveil 10th edition of diamond bra
Source: AFNS

Lingerie manufacturer Victoria's Secret is set to unveil the 10 edition of diamond bra. This time the Diamond Fantasy Bra was created by Hearts On Fire and its includes more than 2,000 diamonds weighing 800 carats.

The centerpiece of the new bra is a 10-carat Hearts On Fire diamond brooch with a Victorian floral motif. The entire item is valued at $6.5 million. Over the 10-year history of Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bras, bejeweled underwear with a combined value surpassing $96 million in diamonds, jewels and precious metals has been created.

According to Hearts On Fire, the diamonds in the latest Fantasy Bra required over 20,000 hours of labor to cut and polish, while the bra itself took more than 300 hours to design and fabricate.

Supermodel Karolina Kurkova has been selected to wear this year’s Fantasy Bra, which will be featured in the 2006 Victoria’s Secret Christmas Dreams and Fantasies catalogue, arriving in consumer’s mailboxes in mid-October.

Kurkova previously modeled the “Star of Victoria” fantasy bra in 2002. Others to have been afforded the privilege include Gisele Bundchen, Claudia Schiffer, Tyra Banks, Daniela Pestova and Heidi Klum.

Date: 2006-10-20 Time: 09.11AM


» September retail sales up 6.3 percent
Source: AFNS

U.S. shoppers boosted retail industry sales for September (which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) 6.3 percent unadjusted over last year and 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from August. The gains, which led third quarter sales to rise 6.3 percent over 2005, were stronger than the National Retail Federation (NRF) had been expecting.

The September sales increases were led by clothing and clothing accessories stores, which saw sales rise 3 percent adjusted from August and 11.9 percent over last year. General merchandise stores’ sales were up 6.5 percent. The NRF credited falling gasoline
prices in the United States.

“If September’s sales are any indication, shoppers appear confident heading into the holiday season.” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. Holiday sales, which are defined as retail industry sales in the full months of November and December, are expected to rise 5 percent to $457.4 billion, and retail industry sales are expected to increase 6.5 percent this year over 2005.

Date: 2006-10-19 Time: 18.50 PM


» Thousands in Zimbabwe diamond rush
Source: AFNS

A diamond rush is underway in a remote eastern region of Zimbabwe, according to newspaper and wire service reports. Thousands of residents, including schoolchildren and teachers, are reported to be digging holes and cutting down trees in the Marange communal lands.

The rush is said to have begun when a local villager went to the official Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe to analyze a possible diamond he had found. One report claims the area could be almost as rich in diamonds as the region in the southwest of the country that hosts the country’s only currently operating diamond mine, the Murowa Mine.

Murowa is 78 percent owned by international mining giant Rio Tinto, but its future is under a cloud as the dictatorial government of the impoverished country threatens to nationalize all mines.

Date: 2006-10-18 Time: 10.00 AM


» Alrosa sales up in first nine months of 2006
Source: AFNS

Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa said it sold $1.9 billion of diamonds in the first three quarters of 2006, 1.2 percent above its target. This was due to much better than expected domestic sales, which exceeded the target of $921 million by some 10 percent, although exports were 6 percent below the target of slightly more than $1 billion.

The company said the world diamond market has continued in a slump first noticed in the final quarter of 2005, caused by an oversupply of rough and polished, paradoxically higher prices for both categories of stones, higher interest rates and diamond industry bank debt (now estimated at $12 billion to $14 billion), all of which are depressing profitability and demand for rough by diamond polishers and rough dealers. However, the market did pick up a little starting in late August.

In September, Alrosa and De Beers signed a memorandum of understanding saying that they will cooperate on diamond prospecting in Russia, Africa and elsewhere, even though the Russian company will no longer be allowed to sell rough diamonds to De Beers starting from the beginning of 2009. The companies were forced to agree to the trading ban by an antitrust ruling of the European Commission, which Alrosa has appealed to the European High Court of Justice. In the meantime, Alrosa is supposed to reduce its rough diamond sales to De Beers from $600 million this year to $500 million next year and $400 million in 2008.

Date: 2006-10-17 Time: 13.34 AM


» South African cabinet approves lower diamond export levy
Source: AFNS

The South African cabinet approved a 5 percent levy on diamond exports Oct. 11, considerably lower than the 15 percent originally proposed when the government began overhauling the country’s diamond laws. The revised levy will be introduced in the country’s parliament November 2.

The revised provisions also give the government considerable leeway to exempt companies from the levy partly or completely, if they are rough diamond producers or dealers that are part of the same holding company as a producer, and they meet one of the following criteria:
• They support local diamond beneficiation, i.e., local polishing of locally mined rough;
• They have annual revenues of less than 10 million rand ($1.34 million);
• They have offered their stones for sale at the Diamond Exchange and Export Centre but found no takers.

The Minerals and Energy Department and the Treasury will publish specific rules on these exemptions so that the industry and investors know where they stand, said government spokesperson Themba Maseko.

Date: 2006-10-16 Time: 16.45PM


» SouthernEra to focus on Congo and Ontario
Source: AFNS

Canada’s SouthernEra Diamonds said it has decided to focus on its primary kimberlite projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly its joint venture kimberlite projects with BHP Billiton and some alluvial projects, as well as some wholly-owned diamond exploration projects in Ontario.

The company’s board of directors said it has completed a comprehensive strategic review of the company’s assets and business plans as the firm tries to become a profitable diamond producer by discovering a large, high-grade primary kimberlite that could support sustainable long-term profitable production.

“The fact that a significant number of [the Congolese] projects are now being fully funded by BHP Billiton demonstrates their potential and allows us to move forward more quickly in this large prospective area with greater speed than we could achieve on our own,” said SouthernEra Chairman Chris Jennings.

In the past 15 years, SouthernEra has discovered more than 100 diamondiferous kimberlites in Canada, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia and Gabon, and has developed two new diamond mines.

Date: 2006-10-15 Time: 07.50AM


» New general director for De Beers Russia
Source: AFNS

De Beers announced October16 that it has appointed Nigel Kieser general director of De Beers Russia.

Kieser has a first class degree in mining geology and a Ph.D. in exploration geology. His previous position was with Rio Tinto, where his responsibilities included oversight of the company’s exploration and business development activities in Russia. He will relocate to Moscow with his family in early 2007 to take responsibility for De Beers’s representative office there.

De Beers currently buys large quantities of rough diamonds from the Russian monopoly producer, Alrosa, but the European Commission has ordered the two companies to cease this trade at the beginning of 2009. Under a new agreement, however, the two firms will cooperate on diamond prospecting projects in Russia, Africa and elsewhere.

Date: 2006-10-14 Time: 07.32AM


» New chairman and vice-chairman for India's GJEPC
Source: AFNS

Sanjay Kothari was elected chairman of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) at the organization’s annual general meeting October 5, taking over from Bakul R. Mehta. Kothari, who heads Kunal Diamonds and Diatrends Jewellery, previously served as chairman of the GJEPC from 2000 to 2004.

The GJEPC also elected Vasant Mehta vice chairman, a position he takes over from Navin D. Mehta. Vasant Mehta has served as vice president of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA). The new chairman and vice chairman of the GJEPC will serve in office until September 2008.

“I have taken over as chairman of the Council with a set agenda, which would be to serve the members, achieve growth of this Industry and provide avenues for increased employment,” Kothari said. “This could only be achieved through extensive promotion of the gem and jewelry industry as a whole, be it loose, cut and polished diamonds, plain and studded jewelry, or color gemstones. The other areas of my focus would be concentrating on sourcing of rough diamonds and color gemstones, bringing the heat treatment project for color gemstones in India, similar to Bangkok, and finally, exploring new markets.”

The GJEPC is an umbrella group representing 6,500 Indian gem and jewelry firms.

Date: 2006-10-13 Time: 13.15PM


» 20-carat plus diamonds found in South Africa
Source: AFNS

Canada’s Rockwell Ventures and South Africa’s Durnpike Investments said they found eight high-value gem-quality diamonds in September, each weighing more than 20 carats, at two South African alluvial diamond properties: Holpan-Klipdam, north of Kimberley, and Wouterspan, on the middle Orange River west of Kimberley.

At Wouterspan, the partners found stones weighing 23.73 carats, 35.73 carats, 78.62 carats and 86.35 carats. The companies said the 23.73 and 78.62 carat stones “are of exceptional clarity and color, with characteristics similar to the large 156 carat D-flawless stone reported in a press release on July 24, 2006. The remaining two large stones are clean light yellow stones typical of this deposit. All of these stones are presently subject to an appraisal and valuation.”

At Holpan-Klipdam, the companies found another four stones weighing more than 20 carats each; the largest is a high quality white stone weighing 43.95 carats, which are also currently undergoing assessment and valuation. In 2006 to date, Wouterspan has produced 42 stones larger than 20 carats and Holpan-Klipdam has yielded 24 stones larger than 20 carats.

At a sale on Sept. 13 of rough diamonds produced over less than 10 days, the companies sold 444.94 carats of rough from Wouterspan for $1,051 per carat, and 572.5 carats of rough from Holpan-Klipdam for $1,022 per carat. Two carat plus diamonds comprise only 7 percent of world production, but account for about 45 percent of the value, the companies said.

Holpan/Klipdam and Wouterspan properties are two of four alluvial properties in which Rockwell can gain an interest by acquiring Durnpike, pursuant to an agreement in principle announced June 30. The other properties are Galputs Minerale in South Africa and the Kwango River Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Date: 2006-10-12 Time: 11.21AM


» Botswana president to promote diamonds on U.S. trip
Source: AFNS

Botswana President Festus Mogae was expected to emphasize the positive role diamonds have played in his country’s development on a mid-October trip to the United States.

Mogae was to address the Council on Foreign Relations and was expected to rebut charges by the London-based nongovernmental organization Survival International that his country is evicting San Bushmen tribespeople from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to make way for diamond mining. De Beers, the 50-50 joint venture partner with the Botswanan government in Debswana, which mines most of the country’s diamonds, has also denied that the Bushman evictions have anything to do with diamond mining.

Mogae was expected to point to estimates by the World Diamond Council, that diamond mining in Botswana has made it possible for every child in the southern African nation to get free schooling up to age 13, and that conflict diamonds now make up less than 1 percent of the world’s rough diamond trade, compared to 4 percent before the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme began.

Date: 2006-10-11 Time: 18.50 PM


» H. Stern unveils line of jewelry with branded diamond cut
Source: AFNS

The international jewelry chain H. Stern has introduced a new line of high-end diamond jewelry, dubbed the Stern Star, which features a branded diamond cut of the same name.

The diamond cut contains a star made up of facets at the top and base of the stone. It has 20 internal facets and a wider table surface than traditional round brilliant cuts.

The line of jewelry features Stern Star diamonds set in the company’s branded 18 karat “Noble Gold,” a mix of yellow and white gold, with black diamonds added for contrast. The design was inspired by Creative Director Roberto Stern’s interest in “sculptural staircases” and the Art Deco style. Prices for the rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces range from $20,000 to $330,000.

Date: 2006-10-10 Time: 17.19 PM


» U.S. consumer confidence up in September
Source: AFNS

U.S. consumer confidence edged up in September following a sharp decline in August, reported the Conference Board. The board’s consumer confidence index now stands at 104.5, up from 100.2 in August and compared to an arbitrary figure of 100 in 1985. Consumers’ evaluations of both the present situation and the prospects for the next six months both rose.

The board’s consumer confidence survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households conducted by TNS, with a cutoff date of September 19.

“A more favorable assessment of current conditions coupled with a less pessimistic short-term outlook boosted consumer confidence this month,” said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “However, even though consumers’ concerns have eased, there is little to suggest a significant change in economic activity as we enter the final quarter of 2006.”

Date: 2006-10-09 Time: 10.23 AM


» 66-carat diamond discovered at South African mine
Source: AFNS

A 66- rectangular-carat diamond was recovered at Nare Diamonds Schmidtsdrift Diamond Mine in South Africa operation last week. The valkue of the diamond has not yet been released.

In response, Charles Mostert, CEO of Nare Diamonds, said the Schmidtsdrift operation is “finding diamonds in excess of 10 carats on a regular basis”.

In April, Nare Diamonds reported the discovery a 235-carat diamond at its Schmidtsdrift diamond mine in South Africa. The large-sized gemstone was octahedron in shape and of very good quality

Nare also reporte4d the sale of a parcel of 1,177.83 carats of diamonds for an average price of $624 per carat for a total value of $735,328.

Date: 2006-10-08 Time: 06.30AM


» Warning issued about online diamond 'pyramid scheme'
Source: AFNS

A classic pyramid scheme appears to be underway at a website run by a company calling itself Canadian Diamond Traders, warned the Australian Department of Consumer Protection.

The scheme looks complex and sophisticated, but boils down to getting unwary Internet users to sign up as “diamond traders” by paying an initial fee of $100 and then a $100 or $500 “deposit” that supposedly goes toward the purchase of diamonds. The user is then supposed to sell diamonds to other people around the world and get paid $3,000 or more in diamonds as a fee.

The Australian authorities said no one they knew of had yet been taken in by the evident scam.

Date: 2006-10-07 Time: 18.25PM


» Sales tax said to threaten Hong Kong jewelry market
Source: AFNS

The diamond and jewelry industry in Hong Kong is organizing to lobby against a proposed sales tax with a new group called the Coalition Against Sales Tax.

This organization took a survey at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Watch Fair in September and unsurprisingly found that large majorities of buyers, exhibitors and foreign visitors feel that the introduction of a tax would harm the $2.6 billion (U.S.) industry.

Almost 50 percent of Hong Kong jewelry traders might leave and go to alternative centers like Singapore if a sales tax is introduced, the survey said. Lawrence Ma Young-yi, president of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, heads the antitax group, and is joined in his opposition by Hong Kong Jewelry and Jade Manufacturers Association Chairman Li King-hi.

Date: 2006-10-06 Time: 11.21AM


» Botswana foreign minister praises diamond industry in UN speech
Source: AFNS

Botswana Foreign Minister Mompati S. Merafhe told the UN General Assembly September 25 that the diamond industry can be a force for good if there is international cooperation to that end.

“We continue to prudently manage the revenue from the sale of diamonds and to effectively use such revenue to educate our people, provide potable water, health care and build a network of infrastructure such as roads, telephones and rural electricity,” Merafhe said, according to the UN News Service. “This is the good that diamonds have and continue to do…. Diamonds have and continue to do good in Botswana. The diamond industry in Botswana has been at the cutting edge of human development and transforming lives for the better, in all fields of human endeavor.”

Merafhe highlighted Botswana’s participation in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme against conflict diamonds. He also said that 10 million people around the world are directly or indirectly supported by diamonds. Africa is the source of 65 percent of the world’s diamonds, he said.

Date: 2006-10-05 Time: 09.15AM


» Government may turn Alrosa into mining holding company
Source: AFNS

The Russian government is considering turning diamond mining monopoly Alrosa into the nucleus of a giant holding firm to mine all kinds of minerals, reported the Associated Press. Alrosa is currently looking at expanding into gold, coal, oil and gas. But Alrosa President Alexander Nichiporuk said the government is not considering having Alrosa take over giant Norilsk Nickel, as had been reported earlier this year.

Alrosa is looking for oil in Yakutia and Angola, the latter in partnership with Russian government-owned oil company Zarubezhneft. The company also has diamond mining interests in the Arkhangelsk region and in two fields in Angola, and may do prospecting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Canada.

The Russian government is currently working on increasing is stake in Alrosa to a majority at the expense of the autonomous Republic of Yakutia, which is resisting the move. Nichiporuk said legal challenges to the move should be sorted out after the new year. The company is also to be turned into a joint-stock company and could hold an IPO.

Meanwhile, Alrosa has appealed to the European Court of Justice the European Commission’s ruling that it has to stop selling rough diamonds to De Beers after the beginning of 2009. Those sales currently constitute 24 percent of Alrosa’s revenue; the court is expected to rule within half a year. Alrosa’s diamond sales were $3.4 billion last year, compared to $2.7 billion in 2004. The AP says that at $1,080 a month, average salaries at Alrosa are almost three times the average for Russia.

Date: 2006-10-04 Time: 18.50 PM


» U.S. falling short on Kimberley Process, says GAO
Source: AFNS

The U.S. government needs to do more to comply with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to stop the flow of conflict diamonds, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report.

The United States enacted the Clean Diamond Trade Act in April 2003 to provide the statutory framework for implementing the Kimberley Process. The GAO noted that the United States uses multiple government agencies and a private, not-for-profit entity (USKPA) to implement the domestic and international provisions of the law. The government agencies involved include the State, Treasury, Homeland Security and Commerce Departments.

The GAO said that the U.S. systems for reporting rough diamond statistics and for controlling imports and exports have improved but are still vulnerable to illicit trade. There was a significant reduction in the excess of exports over imports of rough diamonds, from almost 3 million carats in 2003 to less than 300,000 carats in 2005, but the government still does not know what factors, such as diamond stockpiles, account for the remaining excess in exports. Also, the government does not periodically or regularly inspect rough diamond imports or exports, and does not have an effective system for confirming the receipt of rough diamond import shipments, relying on self-reporting by importers instead.

Internationally, the United States has helped to strengthen the Kimberley Process by participating in its activities and providing assistance to Sierra Leone and Liberia in their compliance efforts, but this aid is under threat, the GAO said.

The GAO report recommends improvements in: the accuracy of U.S. rough diamond trade data to improve its effectiveness in detecting illicit trade in rough diamonds; the processes for importing and exporting rough diamonds, including conducting physical inspections periodically or regularly and confirming rough diamond import receipts with foreign exporting authorities; and in the oversight of the activities of USKPA and its licensees. The U.S. government should also develop and implement a regional approach to its Kimberley Process aid, the report said.

Date: 2006-10-03 Time: 17.19 PM


» Premier kicks off work on new Antwerp diamond district building
Source: AFNS

Construction officially began the last week of September on the new Van der Veken House in Antwerp’s diamond district, where Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt laid a commemorative plaque.

The new high-security complex, called Van der Veken House, will consist of two linked wings and is set to open in January 2008. Diamantaires have already snatched up 35 percent of the office space.

Security measures will include an iris scan of visitors who arrive outside regular business hours and an identification system drawing on a database belonging to the HRD.

Date: 2006-10-02 Time: 18.50 PM


» De Beers to lay off staff in South Africa
Source: AFNS

De Beers will lay off some employees in South Africa as part of corporate restructuring, Managing Director Gareth Penny has announced. Company spokesperson Lynette Hori confirmed the news to PolishedPrices.com but said it is too early to say how many jobs will be lost.

De Beers will turn its global mining and exploration activities into separate units, while the jobs lost will be in the corporate support and functional units.

This is the second corporate restructuring De Beers has held since its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was removed in 2001.

Date: 2006-10-01 Time: 17.19 PM


» Diamond set LCD TV introduced by Italian company
Source: AFNS

First it was cell phone and iPods, and now the LDC flat television set has been set with diamonds as part of a promotional stunt.

Italian manufacturer Keymat Industrie has introduced what it calls the world's most expensive television set. Costing $168,

Date: 2006-09-30 Time: 12.25 PM


» SouthernEra doing trial mining at Klipspringer
Source: AFNS

Canada’s SouthernEra Diamonds Inc. announced September 7 that it was starting trial mining at its 57 percent owned and operated Klipspringer Diamond Mine in South Africa. Klipspringer was developed as a 50-50 joint venture between SouthernEra and De Beers

Date: 2006-09-29 Time: 09.56 AM


» Penny downbeat on second-half demand
Source: AFNS

De Beers Managing Director Gareth Penny told journalists in Cape Town that high interest rates, wars in the Middle East and floods in the world diamond polishing center of Gujarat state, India are depressing demand for rough diamonds.

As a result, Penny

Date: 2006-09-28 Time: 11.50 AM


» WDC Seeks to blunt impact of 'Blood Diamond' movie
Source: AFNS

The World Diamond Council (WDC) is seeking to blunt the negative impact that the forthcoming movie “The Blood Diamond,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, could have on holiday sales of diamonds, through a massive online and print advertising campaign.

The WDC

Date: 2006-09-27 Time: 13.10 PM


» Namdeb managing director says talks going well
Source: AFNS

Inge Zaamwani, managing director of the 50-50 joint diamond mining venture between De Beers and the Namibian government, Namdeb, said talks between the partners are going well, although she cannot reveal the contents until the negotiations are completed.

Date: 2006-09-26 Time: 09.11AM


» Alrosa and De Beers sign agreement on prospecting
Source: AFNS

Alrosa and De Beers signed a memorandum of understanding in Cape Town Sept. 6 under which they will work together to explore opportunities for joint diamond prospecting in Russia and then in other regions of the world, including Africa.

The two compani

Date: 2006-09-25 Time: 18.50 PM


» Aber has a good quarter
Source: AFNS

Toronto-based Aber Diamond Corp. reported its highest-ever quarterly earnings in the second quarter of its fiscal year, ending July 31: $34.3 million (U.S.), compared to net earnings of $19 million in the comparable quarter of last year. Included in net e

Date: 2006-09-24 Time: 10.00 AM


» New fund proposed for African junior mining companies
Source: AFNS

The managers of a fund for junior mining companies in Africa that has invested in Namakwa Diamond Mining among other companies are planning a new, larger fund, reports Business Day.

The New Africa Mining Fund will be fully funded to the tune of 654 mill

Date: 2006-09-23 Time: 08.45 AM


» Angola leading African diamond producing countries association
Source: AFNS

Angola hosted representatives of 12 other African diamond producing nations in its capital Luanda September 5-6, as a major step toward formally establishing an “African Diamond Producing Countries Association” later this year.

Representatives from Sout

Date: 2006-09-22 Time: 13.11 PM


» Malca-Amit Antwerp launches express service for Europe and New York
Source: AFNS

Malca-Amit Antwerp, a member of the Malca-Amit Group, has announced the launch of its Malca-Amit Express service for low-value shipments from Antwerp.

The service offers an overnight secured delivery service to major European destinations of shipments o

Date: 2006-09-21 Time: 09.00 AM


» Russian company turns babies' hair into diamonds
Source: AFNS

Capturing moments of your offspring’s childhood is big business, and there are those who evidently will go further than snapshots, video moments and bronzed toddlers’ shoes—or so New Age Diamonds, a Russian company, believes. It is betting that Japanese c

Date: 2006-09-20 Time: 16.30 PM


» Tiffany & Co. posts higher revenues, falling profits for second quarter
Source: AFNS

Luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. reported that net sales grew 9.2 percent to $574.9 million its fiscal second quarter of 2006 ending July 31, although net income plunged 18.6 percent to $41.1 million.

Same-store sales in the second quarter rose 6 p

Date: 2006-09-19 Time: 14.15 PM


» U.N. sees improvement in Sierra Leone, but still dangers to stability
Source: AFNS

Although there has been considerable progress in Sierra Leone as the country continues to recover following the brutal civil war that it suffered, there are still threats to its stability, the United Nations has warned.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan sa

Date: 2006-09-18 Time: 13.34 AM


» U.S. consumer spending in July beats June figure
Source: AFNS

Consumers in the United States increased their spending in July by twice as much as in June, according to official figures. The rise in spending was 0.8 percent.

Disposable personal income, the amount remaining after taxes and deductions, climbed 0.7 per

Date: 2006-09-17 Time: 09.30AM


» Russian buys world's most expensive cell phone
Source: AFNS

A Russian businessman has bought what reportedly world's most expensive cell phone. Costing € 1million, the diamond set phone is produced by GoldVish. It was purchased during a Millionaire's Fair at Cannes, on the French Riviera.

The phone was one of th

Date: 2006-09-16 Time: 12.12PM


» Community land claim near Venetia diamond mine approved
Source: AFNS

A South Africa Land Claims Commissioner has declared valid a land claim on property close to South Africa’s largest diamond mine at Venetia.

According to the SABC, the Tshivhula and Matshete peoples want the land for agriculture, tourism and mining, cla

Date: 2006-09-15 Time: 14.55PM


» Oppenheimer says Namibian diamond talks progressing well
Source: AFNS

De Beers' Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer is confident a new sales agreement can be reached with the government of Namibia for their Namdeb joint venture as the sides hold talks on a new deal.

Oppenheimer and De Beers’ Managing Director Gareth Penny have hel

Date: 2006-09-14 Time: 08.26AM


» Diamond industry cutting jobs in South Africa
Source: AFNS

Almost 20 percent of the diamond cutters employed by the South African diamond industry have lost their jobs since the beginning of the year, reports the Reuters news agency.

"We have been faced with huge retrenchments since January. To date we have had

Date: 2006-09-13 Time: 08.45AM


» World Diamond Council set to launch full website
Source: AFNS

A new website created by the World Diamond Council (WDC) called diamondfacts.org aimed at educating the diamond industry, retail staff, the media and the general public about the industry’s steps to counter conflict diamonds will be officially launched n

Date: 2006-09-12 Time: 19.29PM


» FedEx launches secured shipping for Antwerp diamond shipments
Source: AFNS

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp, the world’s largest express delivery company, has announced the launch of an improved secured delivery service for diamond shipments to and from the Antwerp diamond district in collaboration with Group4Securicor.

Date: 2006-09-11 Time: 13.15PM


» Hershey Kiss with a difference
Source: AFNS

There is one Hershey's Kiss that is not going to be eaten, and that is the 18-karat gold and diamond brooch in the shape of the iconic candy commissioned by the chocolate company from renowned jewelry designer Neil Lane to commemorate the candy's upcoming

Date: 2006-09-10 Time: 16.45PM


» BHP Billiton revenues and profits soar
Source: AFNS

Mining giant BHP Billiton posted a 26 percent rise in revenues to $39.1 billion for fiscal year 2006 which ended on June 30. The company said the rise was mostly due to rising commodity prices, as it posted profits for the year soaring 63 percent to $10.5

Date: 2006-09-09 Time: 07.50AM


» House of Taylor Jewelry Q2 sales soar
Source: AFNS

Los Angeles-based international jewelry company House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc., whose principal shareholders include Dame Elizabeth Taylor and former supermodel Kathy Ireland, posted a 207 percent jump in net sales to $2.5 million in the second quarter fro

Date: 2006-09-08 Time: 07.32AM


» Shanghai Diamond Exchange diamond imports surge in July
Source: AFNS

The Shanghai Diamond Exchange reported that diamond imports soared in July by 120 percent to $7.38 million.

The 17 percent VAT rate on rough and imported diamonds sold via the exchange was abolished as of July 1. There is 4 percent VAT on imported rough

Date: 2006-09-07 Time: 13.15PM


» River Diamonds begins Sierra Leone drilling
Source: AFNS

UK-based international diamond exploration and mining company River Diamonds, in a joint venture with African Precious Minerals, has started a diamond-drilling program at Pandubo Blow in Sierra Leone.

This is the first target to be drilled in the Pangum

Date: 2006-09-06 Time: 11.21AM


» Lazare Kaplan International reports higher sales
Source: AFNS

Diamonds and jewelry manufacturer Lazare Kaplan International Inc. announced net sales of $528 million and $135 million respectively for the fiscal year and fourth quarter ended May 31, 2006.

The sales figures were 25 percent and 4 percent higher, respe

Date: 2006-09-05 Time: 18.50 PM


» Alrosa contests EC ruling stopping sales to De Beers
Source: AFNS

Russian diamond monopoly Alrosa has filed a lawsuit contesting the European Commission decision outlawing the sale of its diamonds to De Beers after 2008.

Alrosa also wants compensation from the European Commission for court costs.

The European Commis

Date: 2006-09-04 Time: 17.19 PM


» Surat floods could cut Indian exports by $1 billion
Source: AFNS

India, the world’s largest diamond manufacturing center, could see a $1 billion fall in its diamond exports this year due to extensive flooding in Surat, the country’s main polishing center.

The floods, which forced many people to take shelter on roofs,

Date: 2006-09-03 Time: 10.23 AM


» DTC launches TV ads for Journey Diamond Jewelry campaign
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Trading Company’s (DTC) Journey Diamond Jewelry (JDJ) marketing campaign took off on Sunday night with the broadcast of its first prime time commercial during the Emmy Awards show. The televised advertisements will run until the end of the Chr

Date: 2006-09-02 Time: 06.30AM


» Belgium July diamond exports rise
Source: AFNS

Belgian polished diamond exports in July climbed 4.5 percent on July 2005 to $936.2 million, while reporting a fall in carat terms of 4.4 percent to 824,983 polished carats.

For the first seven months of the year, polished exports rose 8.2 percent to $5

Date: 2006-09-01 Time: 18.25PM


» Surat hit by floods due to record rainfall
Source: AFNS

Record levels of rainfall flooded the major Indian diamond manufacturing center of Surat, leaving most of the city under several meters of water and at least 600 dead.

Almost the whole city, including the diamond manufacturing centers, was submerged due

Date: 2006-08-31 Time: 10.23 AM


» U.S. polished diamond imports soar to $1.3 billion
Source: AFNS

The United States imported $1.302 billion of polished diamonds in June, a 17.9 percent rise on the same month last year.

According to Department of Commerce data, the U.S. imported 1.17 million carats of polished goods, 9 percent more than June 2005.



Date: 2006-08-30 Time: 06.30AM


» De Beers' Dowling to leave for Meridan Gold
Source: AFNS

De Beers’ executive director of mining and exploration Ed Dowling is leaving De Beers at the end of this month for Meridian Gold Company. Dowling will become Meridian’s CEO designate and takes a seat on the board of directors.

“Despite having been with

Date: 2006-08-29 Time: 18.25PM


» Debswana pioneers employee AIDS treatments
Source: AFNS

Diamond mining company Debswana, owned jointly by De Beers and the Botswana government, has extended its free anti-retroviral treatment which it offers to HIV positive employees and married spouses to the children of employees up to the age of 21.

Debsw

Date: 2006-08-28 Time: 11.21AM


» BDI Mining Corp posts diamond milestone
Source: AFNS

BDI Mining Corp. said its Cempaka alluvial diamond mine in Indonesia has reached the production milestone of 50,000 carats of gem-quality diamonds.

Since commercial mining operations began in March 2005, a total of 50,066 carats of diamonds, or 224,944

Date: 2006-08-27 Time: 09.15AM


» Sunrise Diamonds and Nordic Diamonds sign Finland agreement
Source: AFNS

A joint venture agreement for claims covering 16 of the 20 known kimberlite pipes in the Kaavi-Kuopio area of south-central Finland has been signed by the U.K.’s Sunrise Diamonds Plc and Toronto-traded Nordic Diamonds Ltd. Most of the kimberlite pipes are

Date: 2006-08-26 Time: 18.50 PM


» Antwerp dealer Abraham Laub dies
Source: AFNS

Antwerp’s diamond trader and manufacturer Abraham Laub passed away on August 9. Laub specialized in large rough diamonds.

Jacky Roth, President of HRD : "Since 9 August, my thoughts have been deeply troubled by the loss of Bram Laub.

He will not be th

Date: 2006-08-25 Time: 17.19 PM


» JCK cancels Diamonds by JCK show
Source: AFNS

The JCK Group, organizers of the JCK Las Vegas Show and other fairs, has cancelled its Diamonds by JCK show due to have taken place October 17-19 in New York City due to lack of support from the diamond industry.

Dave Bonaparte, vice president for JCK e

Date: 2006-08-24 Time: 18.50 PM


» Canada's Tahera mine holds official opening
Source: AFNS

The Canadian diamond industry passed another milestone with the official opening on August 17 of Tahera Diamond Corporation’s Jericho Diamond Mine in Nunavut which is Canada's third diamond mine.

Building work at the Jericho mine was largely completed l

Date: 2006-08-23 Time: 17.19 PM


» India's cut and polished diamond exports fall in July
Source: AFNS

India posted a sharp fall of 17 percent on the year in its total cut and polished diamond (CPD) exports in July to $858.2 million, according to provisional data published by India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJPEC.)

In carat terms, the d

Date: 2006-08-22 Time: 07.32AM


» Dilip Mehta awarded the title of Baron
Source: AFNS

The Belgian foreign ministry has informed Dilip Mehta, the CEO of the Rosy Blue Group, that he has been awarded the title of Baron in the annual royal honors list. The title is one of the highest civilian honors granted by the Belgian monarch.

The annou

Date: 2006-08-21 Time: 08.45AM


» Indian cut and polished exports fall 22 percent in June
Source: AFNS

India’s cut and polished diamond exports for June fell 22 percent to $783.3 million from the same month last year, according to interim data from India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

In carat terms, India's total cut and polished di

Date: 2006-08-20 Time: 19.29PM


» Chinese retail sales soar in January-June 2006
Source: AFNS

China's retail sales grew steadily during the first six half of this year and growth will continue in the second half of the year. Retail sales rose 13.3 percent year-on-year in the January-June period to $455.6 billion, the National Bureau of Statistics

Date: 2006-08-19 Time: 13.15PM


» U.S. retail growth expected to be subdued in July
Source: AFNS

U.S. retail growth expected to be subdued in July
U.S. retail sales growth in July will be lower than previously forecast, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) which tracks nationwide retail sales. The ICSC cut its retail sale

Date: 2006-08-18 Time: 11.21AM


» Debswana may start exploring to extend mine life
Source: AFNS

Debswana, the Botswana diamond miner which is a joint venture between the government and De Beers, is considering starting exploration activities in an effort to extend the current 20-25 year life of its mines, according to miningmx.com.
Jacob Sesinyi, s

Date: 2006-08-17 Time: 09.15AM


» Diavik diamond production rises 8 percent to 2.7 million carats
Source: AFNS

The Diavik diamond mine produced 8 percent more diamonds during the second quarter of the year ending June 30, with a total production for the three-month period of 2.7 million carats. Production for the year so far is 4.5 million carats.

During the fir

Date: 2006-08-16 Time: 18.50 PM


» India to bid for vice-chair of Kimberley Process
Source: AFNS

India is to bid for the post of the vice-chair of the Kimberley Process next year in an attempt to secure a major say in the global diamond industry, according to Indian daily The Financial Express.

If India succeeds, it will automatically become chair

Date: 2006-08-15 Time: 17.19 PM


» JCK to open New Delhi show
Source: AFNS

JCK, the world’s leading trade show brand for the jewelry industry, which includes the flagship event, The JCK Show - Las Vegas, will now make its debut in India. JCK New Delhi 2006 will be held from September 28-30, 2006 at expo venue Pragati Maidan in N

Date: 2006-08-14 Time: 10.23 AM


» New African diamond producers initiative launched
Source: AFNS

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which is a body operating under the auspices of the African Union, has announced the launch of the Diamond Producers of Africa (DPA) initiative, in conjunction with the Antwerp consulting group IES, wh

Date: 2006-08-13 Time: 06.30AM


» Documentary on conflict diamonds to air on TV
Source: AFNS

The U.S. TV network VH1, which focuses on entertainment news, is producing a documentary about conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone along with Article 19 Films and the United Nations Development Program.

The film will connect the popularity of flashy “blin

Date: 2006-08-12 Time: 18.25PM


» CIBJO announces new diamond Blue Book
Source: AFNS

Harry Levy, president of the CIBJO Diamond Commission, said that a new version of the Diamond (Blue) Book is long overdue, as there have been many new developments in the diamond trade. “There seems to be a fundamental change in how CIBJO regards itself,

Date: 2006-08-11 Time: 11.21AM


» Ashton, Soquem step up diamond sampling in Quebec
Source: AFNS

Quebec is the latest province to join in Canada’s diamond mining boom, with Ashton Mining of Canada and Soquem building a small dense media separation diamond recovery plant at their equally-owned joint venture Foxtrot property in the north-central part o

Date: 2006-08-10 Time: 09.15AM


» Namibian diamond industry growth slows
Source: AFNS

The Bank of Namibia reported that the local diamond industry’s output grew 3.6 percent in the first quarter of 2006, compared to 7.7 growth in the final quarter of 2005 and 8.8 growth in the first quarter of 2005. The slowdown was caused by inactivity amo

Date: 2006-08-09 Time: 18.50 PM


» New De Beers mine in Botswana may open in 2008
Source: AFNS

De Beers may open its first new mine in Botswana at the “AK6” kimberlite deposit, near its present Orapa Mine, by the end of 2008, at a cost of $60 million to $100 million, reports Mineweb.com.

The website quoted John Teeling, executive chairman of Afri

Date: 2006-08-08 Time: 09.11AM


» Angola proposes African diamond mining association
Source: AFNS

Angolan Minister of Geology and Mining Manuel Africano is heading a delegation from his country to Tanzania and Sierra Leone to propose the establishment of an Association of African Diamond Producing Countries.

Africano is carrying a message from Angol

Date: 2006-08-07 Time: 18.50 PM


» World Diamond Council appoints Ernest Blom as vice chairman
Source: AFNS

The Executive Committee of the World Diamond Council (WDC) has announced the appointment of Ernest Blom, the recently elected president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), as its vice chairman. The WDC is the body charged with coordinating

Date: 2006-08-06 Time: 10.00 AM


» China cuts VAT on diamond imports
Source: AFNS

China has completely eliminated the value added tax (VAT) charged on rough diamonds imported through the Shanghai Diamond Exchange. The previous tax rate was 17 percent. The VAT on polished diamond imports has been set at 4 percent, reported China Daily.

Date: 2006-08-05 Time: 13.34 AM


» Analyst says diamond market sluggish
Source: AFNS

The world diamond market is weaker than it might be since De Beers increased rough diamond prices at the Diamond Trading Company’s February sight despite lack of retail demand, analyst James Allan said at the mid-July Botswana Resource Sector Conference i

Date: 2006-08-04 Time: 16.45PM


» DTC adjusts diamond prices at July sight
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Trading Company has adjusted its diamond prices with effect from its July sight, which began on Monday, July 17.

"This has led to some box prices going up and some box prices going down," said Lynette Hori, a company spokesperson. She noted

Date: 2006-08-03 Time: 07.50AM


» Diamond guitar celebrates 60th anniversary of guitar maker
Source: AFNS

U.K.-based jewelry house Johnny Rocket has created a special version of the Fender Stratocaster guitar set with 60 diamonds to celebrate the guitar maker’s 60th anniversary.

The guitar is on display at an exhibition in Paris along with musical instrumen

Date: 2006-08-02 Time: 07.32AM


» Survey finds Zales most popular brand of diamond jewelry
Source: AFNS

Zales is the most popular brand of diamond jewelry in the United States, with Hearts on Fire nipping at its heels, according to a consumer survey conducted in May by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council (JCOC). The third and fourth rated brands are Radian

Date: 2006-08-01 Time: 08.45AM


» Alrosa makes $29 million in annual rough diamond auction
Source: AFNS

Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa made $29 million at its 15th annual auction of large rough diamonds, the company announced July 4, as reported by the RIA Novosti news agency.

Alrosa sold 1,171 stones weighing a total of 20,000 carats, including 1

Date: 2006-07-31 Time: 13.58PM


» BHP Billiton announces expansion at Ekati mine
Source: AFNS

In a move that BHP Billiton said was unrelated to a labor dispute at the Ekati mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the company has announced plans to spend $200 million (U.S.) out of a total $250 million in capital costs to tap the “Koala” kimberlite

Date: 2006-07-30 Time: 12.12PM


» Diamond manufacturing volume down 10 to 15 percent in Gujarat
Source: AFNS

Diamond manufacturers in India’s Gujarat state, where most of India’s vast diamond polishing industry is concentrated, have seen production decline 10 to 15 percent due to high prices for rough and slower demand, according to Chandrakant Sanghavi, preside

Date: 2006-07-29 Time: 14.55PM


» Liberian official says diamond export ban soon will be lifted
Source: AFNS

The UN Security Council’s ban on rough diamond exports from Liberia will be lifted within four months, said Liberian Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Dr. Eugene Shannon, according to the (Monrovia) Inquirer.

Shannon said he had received assurances t

Date: 2006-07-28 Time: 08.26AM


» Penny expects South African government to moderate export tax
Source: AFNS

The South African government will relent on its plan to impose a 15 percent export tax on rough diamonds that could be cut in the country, reducing the figure to somewhere in the single digits, De Beers Managing Director Gareth Penny predicted in an inter

Date: 2006-07-27 Time: 07.32AM


» Indian delegation to Africa to propose direct export of rough
Source: AFNS

A delegation representing the Indian diamond industry is preparing a trip to rough diamond producing nations in Africa to propose closer cooperation.

Direct export of rough from Africa could bypass De Beers and enable African producers to reap a greater

Date: 2006-07-26 Time: 08.45AM


» Belgian industry figures honored with royal award
Source: AFNS

An array of figures in the Belgian diamond community were recipients of a royal honor on July 10, with most of them directors of the Beurs voor Diamanthandel, Anywerp’s largest diamond exchange.

The award ceremony took place in the boardroom of of the B

Date: 2006-07-25 Time: 19.29PM


» ABN AMRO Bank offers South Africa help with beneficiation
Source: AFNS

ABN AMRO Bank, which services about a quarter of the world diamond industry’s debt, has offered the South African government advice and help with strengthening its diamond polishing industry, reports Loet Kniphorst, global head of the bank’s International

Date: 2006-07-24 Time: 13.15PM


» Endiama enlists in fight against HIV/AIDS
Source: AFNS

Endiama, the National Diamond Company of Angola, said it will step up its HIV/AIDS prevention, control and treatment measures and seek to improve infected employees’ access to treatment.

The state-owned diamond company held a workshop on the disease on

Date: 2006-07-23 Time: 06.30AM


» Sarin announces new products for rough and polished diamonds
Source: AFNS

Sarin Technologies Ltd introduced two new products at the 32nd World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv on June 27—the “Colibri,” which grades polished diamonds and helps plan their use, and the “OrchiDia,” which does the same for rough diamonds.

The Colibri

Date: 2006-07-22 Time: 18.25PM


» New organization promotes synthetic diamonds
Source: AFNS

In an announcement timed to coincide with the 32nd World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv, a new organization called the Cultured Diamond Foundation was given its official start in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 28. The organization includes diamond manuf

Date: 2006-07-21 Time: 11.21AM


» UN reappoints expert panel on Liberian diamond sanctions
Source: AFNS

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has reappointed a panel of experts on Liberia’s diamond industry for another six months, through Dec. 21, following the Security Council’s renewal of a ban on exports of rough diamonds from the West African country until ab

Date: 2006-07-20 Time: 09.15AM


» Israeli government to drop levee on polished imports
Source: AFNS

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor in Israel has informed the local diamond sector that it will be reducing the nominal levee on polished diamond imports, by 33 percent from 0.2 percent to 0.135 percent.

The order to reduce the import levy on pol

Date: 2006-07-19 Time: 18.50 PM


» U.S. consumer confidence up slightly in June
Source: AFNS

The U.S.-based Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased in May, posted a slight increase in June to 105.7, compared to an arbitrary 1985 level of 100 and up from 104.7 in May. Consumers’ evaluation of the present situation decreas

Date: 2006-07-18 Time: 09.11AM


» Alrosa plans rough diamond sales office in Israel
Source: AFNS

The Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa plans to open a rough diamond sales office in Israel soon, Alexander Nichiporuk, the company’s president, said on June 28 during the World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv.

Nichiporuk did not say when this would ha

Date: 2006-07-17 Time: 18.50 PM


» IDMA holds 'frank' discussions at World Diamond Congress
Source: AFNS

The General Assembly of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), which represents 12 diamond manufacturers associations in 11 countries, unanimously re-elected Jeffrey Fischer for a second term as president at the World Diamond Congress

Date: 2006-07-16 Time: 10.00 AM


» Oppenheimer highlights exploration, ethics in annual review
Source: AFNS

Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of De Beers, said in an annual review at the end of June that the company will invest C$1.9 billion (U.S.$1.7 billion) to bring the Snap Lake and Victor mines in northern Canada into production, and that the company has filed a

Date: 2006-07-15 Time: 13.34 AM


» Moscow Diamond Bourse accepted as 26th member of WFDB
Source: AFNS

The General Assembly of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses has accepted the Moscow Diamond Bourse as its 26th member organization at the World Diamond Congress, which is taking place in Tel Aviv. The WFDB decision to accept the Russian bourse’s membe

Date: 2006-07-14 Time: 16.45PM


» Diamond industry leaders expect strong second half
Source: AFNS

Diamond industry leaders said at the World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv at the end of June that the industry should experience stronger growth in the second half of 2006 after a disappointing first six months of the year.

Jeffrey Fischer, president of t

Date: 2006-07-13 Time: 07.50AM


» WFDB raising profile to promote confidence in diamonds
Source: AFNS

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses has wrapped up the biennial meeting of its General Assembly at the 32nd World Diamond Congress, which took place at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv, June 26-29. While the congress tackled a wide range of subjects, it f

Date: 2006-07-12 Time: 07.32AM


» Jennifer Aniston flaunts diamond ring
Source: AFNS

Movie star Jennifer Aniston showed off a 9.5 carat canary-yellow diamond ring by Suzy Fabrikant at the London premiere of the new movie “The Breakup,” in which she stars.

According to gossip accounts in the tabloid Daily Star, Aniston was flaunting her

Date: 2006-07-11 Time: 13.15PM


» BHP Billiton and union reach tentative accord at Ekati
Source: AFNS

A gang of thieves used a classic distraction tactic to steal a near exact replica of Belgium’s Diamond Award tennis racket on June 18. The replica by Coster Diamonds was on display at a jewelry exhibition in Antwerp that weekend, and company employees wer

Date: 2006-07-10 Time: 11.21AM


» Venetia Mine gets new diamond crusher
Source: AFNS

De Beers has installed a new diamond crusher at the Venetia Mine in South Africa, the biggest diamond mine in the country. The crusher, which cost 240 million rand ($32 million), was unveiled at a ceremony attended by Sello Moloto, premier of Limpopo prov

Date: 2006-07-09 Time: 18.50 PM


» Angolan parliament to revise diamond law
Source: AFNS

Angola’s parliament is working on a revision of the country’s 1994 diamond law, which prohibits private possession and use of diamonds and regulates the conditions under which individuals can sell rough diamonds to companies and agencies.

Parliamentary

Date: 2006-07-08 Time: 17.19 PM


» Hyderbad diamond trade zone gets approval
Source: AFNS

The Indian government has greenlighted a new project called the Hyderabad Gems Special Economic Zone Ltd., which is expected to start operating by the end of 2008.

The project, which is being pushed by the leading Indian diamond and jewelry firm Gitanj

Date: 2006-07-07 Time: 10.23 AM


» Israeli industry to present awards at World Diamond Congress
Source: AFNS

The Israeli Diamond Industry will recognize the important contribution of six leading figures in the international diamond community, with the presentation of the first Israel Diamond Industry Awards during the current World Diamond Congress. The awards w

Date: 2006-07-06 Time: 06.30AM


» Flemish trade mission to visit Canada
Source: AFNS

Flanders Investment & Trade has announced that it will be conducting a Royal Trade Mission trade mission to Canada from November 5 to 11. Leading the mission will be Fientje Moerman, vice minister-president of the government of Flanders and minister of ec

Date: 2006-07-05 Time: 18.25PM


» Moscow Diamond Bourse elects Lev Polyakov as president
Source: AFNS

Lev Polyakov was elected chairman and president of the Moscow Diamond Bourse at a special session of the Board of Directors on June 21, following the resignation of Grigory Rabinovich as chairman of the board and president.

Rabinovich’s resignation took

Date: 2006-07-04 Time: 11.21AM


» UN Security Council Refuses to lift Liberian diamond export ban
Source: AFNS

As expected, the UN Security Council has extended the ban on exports of rough diamonds from Liberia for another six months, through the end of 2006, although it did lift a timber export ban that had been imposed at the same time.

The sanctions were impo

Date: 2006-07-03 Time: 09.15AM


» IDMA to focus on consumer confidence at World Diamond Congress
Source: AFNS

Issues that impact on the confidence of consumers in diamonds and the diamond industry will take center stage at the General Assembly of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) during the World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv, Israel, June

Date: 2006-07-02 Time: 18.50 PM


» Christie's to auction Princess Margaret's jewelry
Source: AFNS

Christie’s will auction off almost 200 lots from Princess Margaret’s personal jewelry collection in London June 13-14, along with more than 600 lots of furniture, china, monogrammed silver boxes, art, Fabergé items and decorative things. The jewelry alone

Date: 2006-07-01 Time: 17.19 PM


» U.S. consumer confidence declines in May
Source: AFNS

The Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer confidence, which had increased in April, declined in May. The new index stood at 103.2 (1985=100), down from 109.8 in April.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S.

Date: 2006-06-30 Time: 18.50 PM


» Rio Tinto Diamonds introduces 'Select Diamantaire Mark'
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto Diamonds has officially launched the Select Diamantaire Mark for exclusive use by its direct customers in business-to-business marketing. These customers include both diamond and diamond jewelry manufacturers. The brand was introduced on June 3

Date: 2006-06-29 Time: 17.19 PM


» Kimberley Diamond Company says 94,900 more carats at Ellendale
Source: AFNS

Australia’s Kimberley Diamond Company has revised upward its estimate of the quantity of rough diamonds in the ground at its Ellendale mine, adding 94,900 carats to total 5,110,900 carats instead of 5,016,000 carats.

This is a relatively small increase

Date: 2006-06-28 Time: 07.32AM


» Aber diamond profits up 75 percent
Source: AFNS

Aber Diamond Corp. reported net income of $23.9 million (U.S.) in the three months ending April 30, up 75 percent from $13.6 million in the corresponding period of 2005, the Canadian Press reported. Sales were up 8.4 percent, from $110.1 million to $119.3

Date: 2006-06-27 Time: 08.45AM


» Botswana denies wanting to sell De Beers stake
Source: AFNS

The government of Botswana has denied that it has any intention of selling the 15 percent stake it currently holds in De Beers, which it has just doubled under an agreement it signed with De Beers in late May. Akolang Tombale, permanent secretary of the M

Date: 2006-06-26 Time: 19.29PM


» NWT rough diamond exports triple over six-year period
Source: AFNS

Annual exports of diamonds from the Northwest Territories have more than tripled since the region’s first year of production in 1999, according to Statistics Canada. In that space of time, Canada rose from being an inconsequential rough diamond producer t

Date: 2006-06-25 Time: 13.15PM


» Taxes on Diamonds in China to fall on July 1
Source: AFNS

The tax burden of the Chinese diamond trade will be reduced on July 1, reported the Xinhua news agency, citing a government notice.

According to a joint notice from the Ministry of Finance, the Customs General Administration of China and the State Admin

Date: 2006-06-24 Time: 11.21AM


» Canada may strengthen reporting laws in diamond industry
Source: AFNS

Canada’s new Conservative government is planning to introduce legislation in the autumn that would strengthen controls over the diamond, jewelry and precious metals industries to prevent terrorists and other criminals from using it for money laundering, a

Date: 2006-06-23 Time: 09.15AM


» South Africa wants to try cutting all diamonds locally
Source: AFNS

The South African government is not convinced that certain categories of diamonds cannot be cut economically within the country, Lindiwe Hendricks, who was minister of minerals and energy until recently, said during a parliamentary debate on the Diamonds

Date: 2006-06-22 Time: 18.50 PM


» Hearts on Fire unveils million-dollar diamond scarf
Source: AFNS

Boston-based diamond and jewelry manufacturer Hearts On Fire unveiled a “DreamScape diamond scarf” at the Couture Show in Las Vegas on May 30.

The $1 million, 36-inch scarf, which was designed with a specific but unnamed celebrity in mind, is set with 1

Date: 2006-06-21 Time: 17.19 PM


» Christie's auctions 13.53-carat Golconda stone
Source: AFNS

Christie’s of Hong Kong was scheduled to auction a 13.53 carat from the famed Golconda mines in India on June 1, the Times of India reported. The stone is valued at more than $1 million. In accordance with standing policy, Christie’s would not disclose ho

Date: 2006-06-20 Time: 10.23 AM


» Australian firm to produce diamonds in Sierra Leone
Source: AFNS

Australian mining company Mineral Commodities Ltd. will soon start treating diamond mine tailings at the “Number 11 Project” in Sierra Leone.

The project will cost $4 million to $5 million (U.S.) and will begin as soon as Mineral Commodities finishes it

Date: 2006-06-19 Time: 06.30AM


» Murowa mine may wind down production from 2009
Source: AFNS

Murowa, Zimbabwe's sole producing diamond mine, may begin winding down operations from 2009, if the country’s government’s empowerment plans upset a planned expansion at the site, reported the Reuters news agency.

In March, the government of Zimbabwe Pr

Date: 2006-06-18 Time: 18.25PM


» Nare Diamonds sells $2.6 million of rough diamonds
Source: AFNS

Nare Diamonds has sold its first two parcels of rough diamonds from the Schmidtsdrift Mine near Kimberley, South Africa, raising about $2.6 million, according to Lonhro Africa, a significant shareholder. The mine just opened in April.

The first parcel c

Date: 2006-06-17 Time: 22.10PM


» Xceldiam, Petra Diamonds to cooperate in Angola
Source: AFNS

Junior diamond mining firms Xceldiam and Petra have agreed to share information on their neighboring diamond prospecting properties in Angola, called Luangue and Alto Cuilo, respectively. They said this will enable them to cut costs and speed up prospecti

Date: 2006-06-16 Time: 10.15AM


» DBCM may have to sell 10 percent of production domestically
Source: AFNS

A new South African law may require De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), the local arm of the De Beers Group, to sell a fixed percentage of its diamond production—possibly 10 percent—to domestic polishing firms, instead of exporting it for “aggregation” an

Date: 2006-06-15 Time: 09.30AM


» Botswana's share in Debswana to remain at 50 percent
Source: AFNS

Botswana’s government is not seeking to change the current 50-50 partnership it has with De Beers in their joint venture diamond mining company, Debswana, Dr. Akolang Tombale, permanent secretary in the country’s Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Res

Date: 2006-06-14 Time: 12.12PM


» Industry brass to speak at World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv
Source: AFNS

De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer, Managing Director Gareth Penny, and Varda Shine, managing director of the Diamond Trading Company, will be among the featured speakers at the 32nd World Diamond Congress, which will be held in Tel Aviv June 26-29. Also

Date: 2006-06-13 Time: 14.55PM


» Russian government increases stake in Alrosa; Yakutia disputes valuation
Source: AFNS

The Russian government has effectively increased its stake in the diamond mining monopoly Alrosa from 37 percent to 47.7 percent by getting state-owned Vneshtorgbank to buy 10.7 percent of the shares from minority shareholders, reported the Russian busine

Date: 2006-06-12 Time: 08.26AM


» Discovery of diamondiferous kimberlite in Brazil announced
Source: AFNS

Canada-based Randsburg International Gold Corporation announced that it has discovered another diamond-bearing kimberlite during core drilling at its Victory Strike concessions in central Brazil’s Goias State.

The company said it has identified an addit

Date: 2006-06-11 Time: 08.45AM


» Diamond Fields reports net loss
Source: AFNS

Diamond Fields International reported a net loss of $4.9 million in the nine months ended March 31, compared to a net loss of just under $1 million in 2005.

All revenue for the nine months ending March 31 resulted from the sale of diamonds held in inven

Date: 2006-06-10 Time: 19.29PM


» Mugabe says nationalization of Murowa Mine not final
Source: AFNS

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said his government has not made a final decision yet on nationalization of the Murowa Mine, the country’s only diamond mine, and the rest of the mining sector, the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald reported.

On May 25 Mugab

Date: 2006-06-09 Time: 13.15PM


» Trans Hex expects loss for year
Source: AFNS

South African diamond mining firm Trans Hex said it expects to post a loss of 121 million rand ($19 million) for fiscal 2006, which ended March 31, compared to a profit of 96 million rand ($15 million) in fiscal 2005.

The company’s mining income was 156

Date: 2006-06-08 Time: 11.21AM


» SouthernEra increases DRC land holdings to 16,000 square kilometers
Source: AFNS

SouthernEra Diamonds Inc., a Canada-based mining firm, said it has expanded its land holdings in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, former Zaire) by 21 percent, to more than 16,000 square km. The company did this through an agreement with Nyumba Ya Ak

Date: 2006-06-07 Time: 09.15AM


» New diamond treatment plan under construction in Angola
Source: AFNS

Xceldiam Limited said it has begun building a rough diamond processing plant in the N’Gombo area of Angola. The facility includes an alluvial diamond plant capable of treating 70 tons per hour and a mobile alluvial prospecting plant capable of treating si

Date: 2006-06-06 Time: 18.50 PM


» Oppenheimer says De Beers will be restrained on pricing
Source: AFNS

De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said the company will exercise restraint on prices over the next few months, following a 1.5 to 2 percent price increase to sightholders in February.

Oppenheimer said the retail market is strong, but diamond manufactu

Date: 2006-06-05 Time: 17.19 PM


» De Beers acknowledges diamantaires hurt by price hike
Source: AFNS

Diamond polishers and jewelry manufacturers have been hurt by the De Beers Diamond Trading Company’s decision to raise prices by just under 2 percent at the February sight, De Beers Managing Director Gareth Penny and DTC Managing Director Varda Shine admi

Date: 2006-06-04 Time: 10.23 AM


» Participants face busy schedule at 32nd World Diamond Congress
Source: AFNS

Participants in the 32nd World Diamond Congress to be held in Tel Aviv from June 26-29 face a full program of events, with crucial issues to be discussed, a tour of the Israeli diamond exchange complex, a gala dinner to be attended by the Israeli presiden

Date: 2006-06-03 Time: 06.30AM


» Belgian premier confirms support to Antwerp diamond industry
Source: AFNS

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt paid an official visit to the HRD on May 30 to discuss a number of matters of concern to the diamond industry and to announce an action plan to ensure that Antwerp’s competitive position as the premier global center

Date: 2006-06-02 Time: 18.25PM


» Beggar gets a welcome surprise in collection box
Source: AFNS

A vagrant begging outside the Marks and Spencer department store in the center of the English town of Shrewsbury received a welcome surprise, when a diamond solitaire ring was dropped into his collection box.

Police believe that it may have been the pro

Date: 2006-06-01 Time: 11.21AM


» Stephane Fischler named vice chairman of World Diamond Council
Source: AFNS

Meeting in New York on May 15, the Executive Committee of the World Diamond Council has named Stephane Fischler as the organization’s vice chairman.

Fischler currently serves as secretary general of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association an

Date: 2006-05-31 Time: 09.15AM


» Trans Hex gets one-third of Angolan diamond prospecting venture
Source: AFNS

South African diamond mining firm Trans Hex has received a 33 percent stake in the Luana diamond concession in Lunda-Norte province, Angola, in partnership with Angolan state-owned diamond mining firm Endiama and some minority partners. Trans Hex Managing

Date: 2006-05-30 Time: 18.50 PM


» Sarin revenues up 50 percent
Source: AFNS

Diamond technology developer Sarin Technologies Ltd. reported that its first quarter revenues rose 50 percent to $8.5 million due to “broad-based customer demand for existing and new products in all key markets.” Net profits grew 65 percent to $2.5 millio

Date: 2006-05-29 Time: 09.11AM


» U.S. retail sales up strongly in April
Source: AFNS

U.S. retail sales for April rose 6.9 percent over last year and increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted over March, excluding money spent on automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“Thanks in part

Date: 2006-05-28 Time: 18.50 PM


» Diavik airlifting equipment to mine
Source: AFNS

The Diavik Mine, one of Canada’s two largest and oldest diamond mines, is planning to airlift major equipment to the site 300 kilometers northeast of the Northwest Territories capital Yellowknife following the premature closure of the ice road earlier thi

Date: 2006-05-27 Time: 10.00 AM


» Debswana production, revenues at record levels
Source: AFNS

Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government, produced a record 31.9 million carats of rough diamonds in 2005, including a record 15.6 million “saleable” carats. The company also enjoyed record revenues, due in part to a

Date: 2006-05-26 Time: 13.34 AM


» DTC puts sightholder list on Internet
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Trading Company (DTC), the sales and marketing arm of the De Beers Group, announced May 9 that it had made publicly available on the Internet a new online directory of the 93 DTC sightholders and their associated companies, at http://www.dtc.c

Date: 2006-05-25 Time: 16.45PM


» De Beers, Alrosa sign MOU to phase out rough supply
Source: AFNS

De Beers announced that it has formally signed a memorandum of understanding on rough diamond supply arrangements for 2006-2008 with the Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa. The signing ceremony was held May 9, with De Beers Managing Director Gareth Pe

Date: 2006-05-24 Time: 07.50AM


» DDC to Issue Distinguished Service Awards
Source: AFNS

The Diamond Dealers Club of New York will honor 15 members of the international diamond and jewelry trade for their distinguished service to the diamond industry today, May 16, in a ceremony as part of the DDC’s 75th anniversary celebrations. The awards w

Date: 2006-05-23 Time: 07.32AM


» HRD board names new top officials
Source: AFNS

Jacky Roth was elected president of the HRD (Antwerp Diamond High Council), Kaushik Mehta and Stéphane Fischler were elected vice presidents, and Freddy Hanard, formerly of ABN AMRO, was named managing director at the first meeting of the organization’s n

Date: 2006-05-22 Time: 08.45AM


» Antwerp Diamond Museum upgrades and expands exhibition space
Source: AFNS

The Antwerp Diamond Museum reopened its doors to the public May 1 following a € 400,000 makeover, during which its display space was expanded and new exhibits were introduced. The multi-storey museum, which is located on the city’s Koningin Astridplein, a

Date: 2006-05-21 Time: 13.58PM


» Petra sells 67 carater for $700,000
Source: AFNS

Petra Diamonds sold a 67.1 carat diamond found in March at one of its South African mines for $704,265, or $10,496 per carat.

CEO Johan Dippenaar said the late April sale price was on the high side of what the company expected to get for the stone and s

Date: 2006-05-20 Time: 12.12PM


» Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale raises more than $17.5 million
Source: AFNS

Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale in New York April 25 raised more than $17.5 million. The auction house sold 79 percent of the lots, or 91 percent measured in dollar value.

Graff Diamonds bought the Rojtman Diamond, a cushion cut fancy yellow stone wei

Date: 2006-05-19 Time: 14.55PM


» BDI Mining sells $1.89 million of diamonds from Indonesia in Q1
Source: AFNS

London-based BDI Mining Corp. said it sold $1.89 million worth of gem-quality rough diamonds and $424,000 of byproducts from its Cempaka alluvial gem diamond operation in Indonesia in the first quarter of 2006. The diamonds were sold at tender in Antwerp

Date: 2006-05-18 Time: 08.26AM


» Five new kimberlites found at Alto Cuilo, Angola
Source: AFNS

Petra Diamonds Limited announced five new kimberlite discoveries at Alto Cuilo, Angola, covering a total area of about 114 hectares. These discoveries, which were confirmed by drilling since March 15, raise the total number of kimberlites at the site to 3

Date: 2006-05-17 Time: 07.32AM


» Argyle problems to push rough prices up, says analyst
Source: AFNS

Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine in Western Australia produced fewer diamonds in the first quarter due to cyclone-induced flooding, and diamond analyst James McGlew said he expects this will drive up world prices for rough.

This comes on top of already spiraling

Date: 2006-05-16 Time: 08.45AM


» Alrosa-Endiama diamond prospecting joint venture announced in Angola
Source: AFNS

The Angolan state-owned diamond mining company Endiama and the Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa announced a major joint venture to prospect for diamonds at Cacolo, a 4,000 square kilometer area of Lunda-Norte province in Angola.

The announcement w

Date: 2006-05-15 Time: 19.29PM


» Minister calls for mining firms to support for community development
Source: AFNS

Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy Erkki Nghimtina has proposed that the country’s Minerals Act be amended to require international mining companies to restore the environment and help local communities around their mines, according to The Namibian, a

Date: 2006-05-14 Time: 13.15PM


» U.S. retail sales strong in March
Source: AFNS

The National Retail Federation (NRF) said that U.S. retail industry sales continued to climb in March, rising a solid 7.2 percent over last year and increasing 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over February. Home improvement and furnishings especially saw

Date: 2006-05-13 Time: 11.21AM


» U.S. consumer confidence up in April
Source: AFNS

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in March, improved further in April to 109.6, compared to an arbitrary 1985 level of 100, and up from 107.5 in March. This is the highest level since May 2002. Both the “Present Situati

Date: 2006-05-12 Time: 09.15AM


» Oppenheimer says DTC won’t raise rough diamond prices
Source: AFNS

De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer told Dow Jones Newswires that the Diamond Trading Company won’t raise its prices for rough diamonds for now, since rising world interest rates have put a strain on the market.

However, Oppenheimer said that retail dia

Date: 2006-05-11 Time: 18.50 PM


» Buddy Holly's diamond watch auctioned for $155,000
Source: AFNS

An anonymous San Francisco-area woman placed a winning bid of $155,350 for a diamond-studded watch that rock and roll legend Buddy Holly was wearing when he died in a plane crash in February 1959.

Heritage Auction Galleries organized the auction of Holl

Date: 2006-05-10 Time: 17.19 PM


» 235-carat diamond discovered at South African mine
Source: AFNS

The discovery of a 235-carat diamond has been reported by Nare Diamonds at its Schmidtsdrift Diamond Mine in South Africa. According to the company, the diamond is octahedron in shape and of very good quality.

"This is a substantial find as diamonds of

Date: 2006-05-09 Time: 10.23 AM


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» Aber says Diavik will produce 8.5 million carats