Mar 28

Rio Tinto Taps New Diavik Mine Chief

RAPAPORT…

Rio Tinto has appointed Patrick Boitumelo as president and
chief operating officer of its subsidiary Diavik Diamond Mines (DDM), the
company said Tuesday.

Rio Tinto owns 60% of the Diavik mine in Canada’s Northwest
Territories and operates the deposit through DDM. Dominion Diamond Corporation
owns the remaining 40% of the asset.

Boitumelo – who will start at the end of July after
relocating to Yellowknife, Canada – was most recently general manager of engineering
and projects at Kennecott Utah Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has extensive
senior experience in the mining industry across a range of asset classes,
including diamonds, Rio Tinto said.

The hire comes as Rio Tinto prepares to bring the Diavik mine’s
A21 extension onstream, with production planned to start in 2018.

Image: Diavik Diamond Mines

Mar 28

Lab Using Nanotech for Emerald Traceability

RAPAPORT… Gübelin Gem Lab has unveiled a radical solution for tracing
the origin of emeralds, using nanotechnology to mark stones with an invisible
imprint that is accessible at any stage of the supply chain.

Branded the “emerald paternity test,” the technology is a “true
game-changer for the colored-gemstone industry,” the Switzerland-based
laboratory said in a statement Monday.

DNA-based nanoparticles are applied to rough emeralds at the
mine and are designed to survive the stages through which the gemstone passes,
including cleaning, cutting, polishing, transportation and setting. They can be decoded at any point in their journey from
mine to jewelry.

This is the first time nanotechnology – the branch of technology
dealing with dimensions smaller than 100 nanometers – has been used for this
purpose, the lab claimed.

The tiny particles are small enough not to impact the
stone’s appearance, even with an optical microscope, meaning they will not
affect a stone’s grading properties.

“This technology offers all stakeholders along the entire
supply chain, from the miner to the final customers, proof of the exact source
of emeralds, instilling confidence and creating trust,” said Daniel Nyfeler, the
organization’s managing director. “It enables a new level of transparency for
the gemstone trade.”

The House of Gübelin, which operates the lab, introduced the
tracing technology for an emerald extracted at the Belmont mine in Brazil. The
company added the nanoparticles to the emerald directly at the mine, and the
stone is now on a platinum ring.

Mar 27

U.S. Jewelry Store Sales Continue Rise

RAPAPORT… Sales at U.S. specialty jewelry stores increased 4% to $1.84 billion year on year in January, according to the nation’s Census Bureau.

The figure is provisional and not adjusted for seasonal fluctuation, noted the data agency, which released the numbers this month.

The increase came after sales rose 3.7% to a revised $30.3
billion for the whole of 2016, with a 7% spike in December compared to the
previous year.

Mar 27

Dominion Team to Assess Potential Sale

RAPAPORT… Dominion Diamond Corporation has set up a team of directors
to evaluate a potential sale of the company, the miner said in a statement
Monday.

The committee will work with Dominion’s management team and
advisors to “consider alternatives that could include the sale of the company or
other strategic transactions,” according to the statement. The panel consists of company chairman Jim Gowans (pictured) and fellow board members Trudy Curran, David Smith
and Josef Vejvoda.

The move comes after Dominion dismissed an informal $1.1
billion takeover offer from the Washington Companies last week, claiming Washington
undervalued the business, but saying it was prepared to enter discussions with
the suitor. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the miner had held merger talks
with Stornoway Diamond Corporation, another Canada-based rough producer.

“While the board of directors remains confident in the
company’s long-term strategic plan and the opportunity it provides to enhance
value for all shareholders, we are open to exploring all strategic alternatives
that are in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders,” Gowans
said.

“The board is committed to maximizing shareholder value
through a fair and open process, and we look forward to engaging constructively
with all parties,” he added.

Mar 27

Lucapa Pegs Lulo Resources at $1,246/ct.


RAPAPORT…
The Lulo mine in Angola contains diamonds that are 54% more
valuable than previously estimated, despite more than a year of resource
depletion, according to the asset’s owner.

The estimated price of the diamonds in the mine grew to
$1,246 per carat as of January 31, based on the latest modeling assessment,
compared with an earlier estimate of $806 per carat in October 2015, Lucapa
Diamond Company said in a statement on Monday.

During the 15 months between the two tests, the company
mined and treated about 220,000 bulk cubic meters (bcm). It also carried out
exploration, sampling and trial mining of existing and new alluvial blocks.

Total resources at the mine increased 10% to 606,600 cubic
meters during the period, the company added, projecting that alluvial diamond
mining would continue for more than four years at a rate of about 20,000 bcm
per month.

Rough-diamond sale prices from the mine have exceeded the
original resource estimate, with Lucapa garnering $2,983 per carat in 2016, the
company pointed out. The standout find was a 404-carat rough diamond, which it
extracted from the mine in February 2016 and which sold later that month for
$16 million, or $39,580 per carat.

The report follows Lucapa’s announcement last week that the
resource estimate for its newly acquired Mothae mine in Lesotho was $1,063 per
carat.

Mar 27

Sierra Leone to Sell 709ct. Diamond by Tender

RAPAPORT… A 709.48-carat diamond discovered by a pastor in Sierra
Leone will go up for sale by international tender, authorities have announced.

The stone, believed to be the 13th-largest rough diamond
ever found, will be available for viewing at the Bank of Sierra Leone for a
week starting this Wednesday, the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources said
in a statement last week.

Potential buyers can obtain bidding documents on payment of
a non-refundable $5,000 fee, as well as a $50,000 deposit, the ministry said. The
sealed offers will be opened in front of all bidders on April 6.

Artisanal miner Pastor Emmanuel A. Momoh found the diamond
earlier this month in the Kono district, and the stone was presented to Sierra
Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Koroma has previously said the selling
process will be transparent and that the highest bidder will win the stone,
subject to a reserve price. He has also stressed the importance of selling it
within the country for the benefit of the nation.

Mar 26

Signet Aims to Rubber-Stamp Synthetics Detectors

RAPAPORT… Signet Jewelers is planning to open a testing laboratory for
synthetic-diamond detectors to ensure its suppliers can confidently say they
are only dealing in natural stones.

The company has been working with United
Laboratories (UL), a product-testing firm, for the last nine months to create a facility
for vetting the synthetic-diamond-testing machines available on the market.

The move comes as the retailer accelerates its jewelry traceability
program, which it expanded earlier this year to cover diamond sourcing. The
company requires all its suppliers to ensure they do not provide lab-grown
diamonds.

The project is the same one that the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has been developing, representatives from Signet and the DPA confirmed.

As a starting point, the U.S.-based retailer will use
devices from three recognized manufacturers: the International Institute
of Diamond Grading Research (IIDGR), a subsidiary of De Beers; the
Gemological Institute of America (GIA); and HRD Antwerp.

In time, however, Signet and UL plan to create a benchmark
for judging detection machines from around the world. There are about 16 such
products available – with more industry players planning market entries – and makers
of the technology include companies in the U.S., Europe, India and China.
Russia-based miner ALROSA plans to put out a product this year as well.

“Technology is coming from lots of companies and countries,”
said David Bouffard, Signet’s vice president of corporate affairs (pictured), pointing out
that some regions’ machines were not as reliable as those of the IIDGR, the GIA
and HRD.

“The concern is ensuring suppliers are working with
technology that actually works and detects natural diamonds,” Bouffard told Rapaport
News
on the sidelines of the Gem Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s
“Mines to Market” conference in Mumbai last week.

UL, headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, tests a range of
consumer products based on criteria such as safety, compliance and
sustainability. Its jewelry and watch division offers diamond and jewelry
verification programs, as well as other quality-assurance and traceability
programs.

Signet unveiled its responsible diamond-sourcing protocol in
February 2016 to improve transparency in its supply chain, launching it in
earnest earlier this year. The retailer, which already had a similar sourcing
practice for gold, plans to extend the procedures to cover silver jewelry this
year and colored gemstones by the end of 2020, Bouffard said.

Mar 26

Kiran, Laxmi Dominate GJEPC Awards

RAPAPORT… Kiran Gems and Laxmi Diamond were the big winners at the
2016 India Gem Jewellery Awards, which the country’s Gem Jewellery
Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) hosted last week.

The Mumbai-based Kiran Gems won four awards, while its
marketing division, Kiran Exports HK Ltd., earned another, and its jewelry
manufacturing arm, Kiran Jewelry, received one as well, according to the GJEPC.
Belgium-based Kiran Exports BVBA, which split from the main company last year,
also won an award. The Mumbai-based Laxmi took three accolades.

The awards, which were given in Mumbai on March 18, reward
India’s most successful diamond and jewelry businesses for achievements in both
financial and social-responsibility categories.

Award Category
Winner
Best Agency Supplying Gold
Bank Of Nova Scotia
Best Agency Supplying Gold to Highest Number of Clients
MMTC Limited
Best Bank Financing the Industry (Highest Growth of Limits Sanctioned)
Vijaya Bank
Best Bank Financing the Industry (Highest Limits Sanctioned)
IndusInd Bank
Best Bank Financing the Industry (Highest Limits Sanctioned)
State Bank Of India
Best Bank Financing the Industry (Highest Number of Clients)
State Bank Of India
Best Growing Company of the Year (Large)
Kiran Gems Private Limited
Best Growing Company of the Year (Small/Medium)
Parishi Diamond
Best in Gems Jewelry Ecommerce
Bodhi Brands Private Limited (Velvetcase)
Best in Gems Jewelry Ecommerce
Kiran Gems Private Limited
Clearing Agent of the Year
BVC Group
Costume Fashion Jewellery/Cut Polished Synthetic Stones
Amrapali Exports
Costume Fashion Jewellery/Cut Polished Synthetic Stones
Industrial Jewels
Cut Polished Colored Gemstones
KGK SEZ Unit
Cut Polished Colored Gemstones
RMC Gems India Limited
Cut Polished Diamonds (Large) – Exports between $76.5 million (INR 5 billion) and $152.9 million (INR 10 billion)
Laxmi Diamond
Cut Polished Diamonds (Medium)
S Jogani Exports Private Limited
Cut Polished Diamonds (Small)
Royal Impex
Highest Employment on Rolls of Company
Emerald Jewel Industry
Highest Employment on Rolls of Company
Samarth Diamond
Highest Exporter (Cut Polished Diamonds) – Exports between $152.9 million (INR 10 billion) and $305.8 million (INR 20 billion)
Kapu Gems
Highest Exporter (Cut Polished Diamonds) – Exports between $152.9 million (INR 10 billion) and $305.8 million (INR 20 billion)
Star Rays
Highest Exporter (Cut Polished Diamonds) – Exports between $305.8 million (INR 20 billion) and $458.8 million (INR 30 billion)
Laxmi Diamond
Highest Exporter (Cut Polished Diamonds) – Exports above $458.8 million (INR 30 billion)
Hari Krishna Exports Private Limited
Highest Exporter (Cut Polished Diamonds) – Exports above $458.8 million (INR 30 billion)
Kiran Gems Private Limited
Highest Gems and Jewelry Sales (Importer) – Europe
Kiran Exports BVBA
Highest Gems and Jewelry Sales (Importer) – Far East
Kiran Exports (HK) Ltd
Highest Gems and Jewelry Sales (Importer) – Middle East
Bafleh Jewellery
Highest Gems and Jewelry Sales (Importer) – U.S.
S Vinod Kumar USA
Highest Taxpayer Company
Kiran Gems Private Limited
Highest Taxpayer Company
PC Jeweller Ltd
Importer of the Year
Signet JewelersLifetime Achievement Award
Shri Kavin C Parikh (Mahendra Brothers)
Most Innovative Company
Kiran Jewelry
Most Socially Responsible
Laxmi Diamond
Most Socially Responsible
Vaibhav Global
Precious Metal Jewelry – Plain Studded (Small)
Shree Momai Jewellers
Precious Metal Jewelry – Plain (Large)
PC Jeweller Ltd
Precious Metal Jewelry – Plain (Medium)
Emerald Jewel Industry
Precious Metal Jewelry – Studded (Large)
Renaissance Jewellery Ltd
Precious Metal Jewelry – Studded (Medium)
HK Designs (India)
Sales to Foreign Tourists
Silver Art Palace
Silver Jewelry
ACPL Exports Pvt. Ltd.
Silver Jewelry
Vaibhav Global
Woman Entrepreneur of the Year
Sunita Sekhawat

Mar 26

Rogers & Hollands Launches Cut-Price Model

RAPAPORT… Rogers Hollands Jewelers has introduced a discount
store model as it aims to adapt its business to consumer needs.

The retailer will rebrand two stores in the Chicago area
under the Rogers Hollands Outlet label in April, offering merchandise
that cannot be found at any of the chain’s other stores.

All jewelry at the Outlet locations will be offered at a
minimum of 50 percent off regular retail prices, the company said last week.
Watches will run at a discount of at least 35 percent.

“The Outlet concept is a very good fit and will better meet
the needs of our customers in these areas,” said Amber Willmer, the
director of social and digital marketing at store operator Rogers Enterprises.

Based in Matteson, Illinois, Rogers Enterprises runs 81
stores across 10 U.S. states.

Image: Facebook

Mar 26

Lucapa Values Mothae Resources at $1,063/ct.


RAPAPORT…

The Mothae mining project in Lesotho contains mineral
resources worth an estimated $1,063 per carat, according to Lucapa Diamond
Company, which recently acquired the asset.

Mothae holds 1.04 million carats of diamond resources,
with a grade of 2.7 carats per 100 tonnes of ore, the miner said on Friday. The
figures resulted from an independent estimate carried out by The MSA Group, a
mining consultancy firm based in Johannesburg.

Resources are the quantity of material in a mine that has reasonable prospects
for being extracted economically – in contrast to reserves, which are actually
known to be mineable at a profit.

Lesotho’s government awarded Lucapa a 70-percent interest in the mine in
January in an acquisition valued at $9 million. The company also owns the Lulo
mine in Angola, which last year produced diamonds that sold for an average of
$2,983 per carat.