Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kimberley Diamonds 3Q Revenue -50%

Kimberley Diamonds reported that revenue declined 50 percent year on year to $15.5 million during the company's third quarter that ended on March 31. The company sold 21,431 carats for an average $725 per carat during the period, 39 percent less than one year ago.  Management explained that the company sold fewer carats as it processed lower-grade stock piles from the Ellendale 9 (E9) pit as a result of a rock slippage underneath the main haul ramp in June 2013.  
Group production dropped 39 percent to 22,280 carats as the company treated only surface ore stockpiles and lower-grade stockpiles during the quarter. In-pit mining at E9 recommenced in April 2014 following the wet season and was one month later than anticipated. Kimberley Diamonds noted that ore treated in the fourth quarter will be primarily higher grade fresh pit ore.

The company saw strong prices from its auction of run-of-mine commercial goods held in March 2014. The overall average price achieved of $207.33 per carat was 17 percent higher than prices achieved in the second quarter and set a new highest average price per carat since the previous high achieved in 2011.

In February 2014, Kimberley Diamonds acquired the Lerala mine in Botswana as part of the takeover of U.K.-based Mantle Diamonds. The current projected life of mine for Lerala is six years, with the mine anticipated to produce 400,000 carats per year at full production.

The company also finalized its acquisition of the Argyle Smoke Creek alluvial diamond project from Venus Metals Corporation Limited for $928,500 (AUD 1 million). The project consists of 22 prospecting licenses and one mining lease application with 12 of the prospecting licenses containing an estimated resource of 6 million carats.

Kimberley Diamonds said it will recommission the Ellendale 4 (E4) mine and plant during the year. The operation was placed on care and maintenance in February 2009 by its previous owners due to the global financial crisis when rough diamond prices slumped. E4 is estimated to contain a resource of 2.4 million carats. During the quarter, limited scoping work began toward refurbishing the plant and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals.

Kimberley Diamonds closed the quarter with $12.1 million (AUD 13 million) cash on hand and no debt.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

U.N. Security Council lifts ban on Ivory Coast diamond exports

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday partially eased a decade-long arms embargo on Ivory Coast and removed a ban on its diamond exports, a measure that U.N. experts said had failed to stop illicit trafficking.
 FILE- The United Nations Security Counci in New York City.
The West African country, emerging from a decade-long crisis that culminated in a brief war in 2011, has been pressing the Security Council to end the diamond embargo that was put in place in 2005.
U.N. experts have valued the annual illicit trade in Ivory Coast diamonds at between $12 million and $23 million. Before the embargo, Ivory Coast - the world's top cocoa producer - produced around $25 million worth of diamonds, according to industry experts.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member council eased a 2004 arms embargo to allow government forces to buy light weapons without the approval of a U.N. committee. The government will still have to notify the committee of purchases.
U.S. Deputy U.N. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis told the council after the vote that the United States had advocated for a more gradual approach to adjusting the arms embargo due to the security reform challenges still faced by the country.
"We recognize the government of Cote d'Ivoire's need to build capable and professional security forces," he said.
"We were concerned however by the findings in the Group of Experts report regarding inconsistent compliance with existing arms embargo procedures," DeLaurentis said. "We therefore urge Cote d'Ivoire to tighten its control over arms and ammunition and to continue the important work of security sector reform."
The Group of Experts monitor compliance with the U.N. Security Council's sanctions regime.
The Security Council made a similar change last year to an arms embargo on Somalia to allow the government in Mogadishu to strengthen its security forces. Earlier this year, council delegations urged the Somali government to exercise greater care in ensuring that arms are not diverted to Islamist insurgents.
"The government of Cote d'Ivoire remains committed to fully cooperate with the United Nations and the international community in order to carry out all of the expected reforms in this regard," Ivory Coast U.N. Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba said.
"We hope that during the next review of this issue the security council will be able to bring a definitive end to the sanctions regime for Cote d'Ivoire," he told the council.
Ivory Coast received a clean bill of health in November from the Kimberley Process, the body tasked with preventing the sale of so-called "blood diamonds" from fueling armed conflict.
But the U.N. reported to the Security Council this month "that the measures and restrictions imposed by the Security Council ... still do not prevent the trafficking of Ivorian rough diamonds.
"The group furthermore notes that, in spite of having identified violations of the diamond embargo in its public reports since 2006, the Ivorian authorities have made no progress in combating the smuggling of diamonds nor taken any concrete initiatives to date," according to the report.
Ivorian authorities have said they would like to relaunch the sector to fund post-war reconstruction.
Blood diamonds were thrust into the global spotlight in the 1990s during a succession of African conflicts where their trade financed arms purchases and resulted in human rights abuses.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Former Ivory Coast rebel said to be profiting from banned diamond trade

A senior Ivory Coast army officer is breaking a diamond embargo and may be using profits to buy arms UN experts have found, dealing a potentially embarrassing blow to government efforts to have the ban lifted. 
 Ivory Coast is the only country in the world still subject to a UN imposed ban on diamond exports but it received a clean bill of health in November from the Kimberley Process - the body tasked with preventing the sale of so called “blood diamonds” from fuelling armed conflicts.
The West African country, emerging from a decade-long crisis that culminated in a brief 2011 war, is pressing the UN Security Council to end the embargo, which was put in place nine years ago in the wake of an initial 2002-2003 civil war.

But UN experts, charged with monitoring compliance with a sanctions regime including an arms embargo, said diamonds are being exported from Ivory Coast in breach of the ban.

“The measures and restrictions imposed by the (Security) Council ... still do not prevent the illicit trafficking of Ivorian rough diamonds,” read the report released on Tuesday.

An Ivorian government spokesman declined to comment saying he was unaware of the content of the report.

The group identified the principal diamond buyer in Seguela - one of the country's two main diamond mining areas - as a Malian national named Sekou Niangadou.

Niangadou described to UN experts how he circumvented the Kimberley Process -- an international certification scheme created by governments, civil society groups and the diamond industry -- by sending rough diamonds to offices in Guinea and Liberia to obtain certificates of origin there.

A previous report by the experts published in October estimated the annual value of the country's illicit diamond trade to be between $12 million and $23 million.

Money for arms?

In order to operate in diamond areas, the experts said, Niangadou’s network made cash payments to two army officers loyal to Colonel Issiaka Ouattara, better known as Wattao - the deputy commander of Ivory Coast's elite Republican Guard.

Wattao was a senior commander in the New Forces, which launched a rebellion in 2002 and backed President Alassane Ouattara during the 2011 war sparked by incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat in a run-off election.

Gbagbo was captured by the French and UN-backed rebels and is awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The group said there was “strong evidence” indicating money from diamond trafficking was being used to support elements within the army loyal to Wattao.

“The Group is concerned the funds may be used for the purchase of arms and related materiel in violation of the sanctions regime,” it said.

A communications officer for Wattao said the colonel declined to comment on the allegations.

Before the embargo, Ivory Coast produced about 300 000 carats of diamonds a year, worth around $25 million, according to industry experts. Ivorian authorities have said they would like to re-launch the sector to fund post-war reconstruction.

Blood diamonds were thrust into the global spotlight in the 1990s during a succession of African conflicts where their trade financed arms purchases and resulted in human rights abuses.

At the height of wars in Sierra Leone and Angola, about a fifth of all rough stones worldwide were believed to be conflict diamonds.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jeweler sold fake diamonds for 20 years

Amherst Police say more customers are discovering problems with jewelry from RSNP Diamond Exchange, in the Village of Williamsville.
Last month, shop owner Paul Blarr pleaded not guilty to three counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud. He allegedly sold fake diamonds to customers. Prosecutors now say they have about 50 people who claim they’re victims.
Police say customers from the past 20 years are calling other precious gemstones into question that have been purchased at or repaired by the store. Police say some gold items were found be gold-plated instead of solid gold, some gems were switched or not the quality of what they purchased, and some diamonds were enhanced.
But police say not all of the customers who have been tricked may have been found. Some customers had diamonds tested without the equipment that identifies Moissanite, a man-made substance that mimics a real diamond.
Scanlon’s Jewelers has been testing jewelry from Blarr’s store for free. The store uses several different methods to determine a real from a fake, including using a microscope and then a heat test, which can identify Moissanite.
In just the past two weeks, Scanlon’s has tested more than 300 diamonds, and they say at least 40 of them have turned out to be fakes.
“Most fine jewelers don’t have experience with it because we don’t sell it,” said Todd Scanlon of Scanlon’s Jewelers. “There have been some really horrible things done, from brides- and grooms-to-be that took loans out for stones that they haven’t even paid off to I had a terminal cancer patient buy something for his wife and instructed her to wear it after he passed away and then give it to his daughter so daddy could give her the ring when she got married and it was $7,000 and it was fake.”
Amherst Police are encouraging anyone who had any jewelry – diamonds, gold or other gemstones – bought from or repaired at RSNP Diamond Exchange to have them tested at a reputable jeweler.
Scanlon says if you’re making a big purchase, ask for certification from a reputable lab before putting your money down.
“You want to go to more than one store, all the time. I’d love you to come here only, shop the pricing. If someone is ridiculously low on something there’s probably something wrong,” he said.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Zimbabwe Diamond Tender in Dubai Achieves $29M

The Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) reported that its inaugural Zimbabwe diamond tender, which was held from March 23 to 30,  achieved a sales total of $29.2 million at an average price of $76 per carat.  The highest price per carat reached $5,000, according to the DDE. The rough diamond tender was facilitated by Global Diamond Tenders in cooperation with the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC) and included diamonds from Anjin, Jinan, DTZ-Ozgeo, Diamond Mining Company (DMC), Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds and Kusena.

Zimbabwe's Mine's Minister, Walter Chidhakwa said the tender earned $4.3 million for the government through royalties.

Peter Meeus, the chairman of the DDE, said, “The DDE has and will continue to support African diamond markets by ensuring the appropriate infrastructure is available to facilitate the trade between producing and consuming nations. We are extremely pleased with the high prices that were reached and stand ready to assist the government of Zimbabwe in future initiatives.”The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe  (MMCZ), Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds are listed on the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which means that U.S. residents and businesses may not trade or purchase diamonds in any form from  these firms.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Victory Diamond, Two Graff Diamonds Highlight Sotheby's Sale

Three exceptional diamonds will highlight Sotheby's Geneva sale of magnificent jewels and noble jewels on May 13.
Sotheby's will auction the historic Victory Diamond, which was  named in honor of the allied victory in World War II. The original rough diamond weighed 770 carats and it was discovered in 1945 in the African Woyie River.  graff Thirty diamonds were cut from that stone, the largest of which was the 31.34-carat, D, potentially flawless, type IIa step-cut Victory Diamond. Sotheby's priced this lot to sell for between $5 million and $8 million.
The Graff Vivid Yellow diamond (pictured) also highlights the Geneva sale. This 100.09-carat diamond ring is described as "daffodil yellow" in color with  exceptional beauty and extraordinary fire and brilliance, and it has a presale estimate of $15 million to $25 million.
A third diamond, also by Graff, is a 103.46-carat, brilliant-cut diamond ring with a presale estimate of $3.5 million to $5 million.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rockwell Diamonds 4Q Sales +69%

Rockwell Diamonds Inc. reported that diamond sales, excluding beneficiation, rose 69 percent year on year to $12.1 million in the fourth fiscal quarter that ended on February 28. Total carat sales  increased 81 percent to 9,596 carats. Rockwell’s rough diamonds received an average price of $1,264 per carat, 7 percent lower than the average price per carat in the same period one year ago.

Diamond production at the company’s three operating mines in South Africa grew 39 percent to 2,676 carats, while total production rose 74 percent to 6,717 carats in part due to royalty agreements with contract miners. The average size of recovered rough diamonds more than doubled over the year to 4.6 carats.

The mining company’s operations are focused on developing alluvial diamond deposits in South Africa’s Middle Orange River region.

Management said that it had reviewed cost-effective ways to renew its aging transportation fleet and is now looking for financing options. Rockwell said that it plans to expand both production volume and the recovery of large diamonds going forward.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DCLA - DTC screening and synthetic testing equipment


DCLA Laboratory established in 2001 has always had the ability and equipment to identify synthetic diamonds.
The DCLA laboratory has identified many synthetic diamonds over the past several years.
DCLA is compliant and works strictly to the IDC rules.
As per the IDC rules the Synthetic diamonds Must be disclosed as “Synthetic diamond”.
Labs will have the choice whether or not to issue a grading report/certificate for synthetic diamonds. In case one is issued only a full grading report may be delivered.
If they do not issue grading reports, a short statement with weight, shape and nature of the stone must be available. The term “Synthetic Diamond Examination Report” or “Synthetic Diamond Assurance Report” is suggested for this limited document.
The terms laboratory-created/laboratory-grown/man-made/synthetic diamond may be used. The term “cultured” may not be used in any way to describe synthetic diamonds.
The DCLA will not certificate synthetic  diamonds or diamonds with reversible treatments as this could lead to confusion in the Australian market.

Source: DCLA 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jewellery group Bevilles latest to hit the rocks

Bevilles by the numbers.
Bevilles by the numbers. Source: HeraldSun
SPIRALLING costs in a tough retail climate have claimed another scalp as the 80-year-old jewellery group, Bevilles, falls into voluntary administration.
The family-owned group which is based in Melbourne warned there would be store closures, with up to 250 of its 477 employees expected to be made redundant. It has 17 of its 27 stores in Victoria, with the rest in Sydney and Adelaide.
Chief executive Michelle Beville, whose grandparents founded Bevilles in 1934, said the group had been working to trim store sizes in a move that would cut rent costs and staffing requirements.
But complications around leases and the resizing program meant the company had been unable to roll out the smaller format quickly.
Macca’s view
Macca’s view
“Bevilles is a fabulous brand, but the cost structure wasn’t sustainable,” Ms Beville told BusinessDaily.
“We have been trying very hard to restructure the business from a cost perspective, but leases are a big part of the costs.”
Ms Beville said the Beville family had proposed a restructure plan to the administrators, PPB Advisory, which would see the family buy back a number of the stores. The stores would then be converted as quickly as possible to the smaller-format model, which does not stock giftware lines.
Ms Beville said two smaller stores launched in Highpoint shopping centre and in Sydney last year had been well received.
The group’s creditors are mainly suppliers both in Australia and overseas.
Administrators are expected to make a decision by the start of May.

Source: Jane Harper
Herald Sun