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32 posts from April 2005

South Africa battles multi-billion rand diamond claim

South Africa is fighting a multi-billion rand court claim by descendants of the country's first inhabitants for decades of diamond mining on land confiscated by the government 80 years ago.

The about 4,000 members of the Richtersveld community in the northwest corner of South Africa are suing for 2.5 billion rand ($410.8 million) in damages after the Constitutional Court ruled in 2003 they have a case.

"I feel we are on the doorsteps of victory," community elder Marcia Farmer told Reuters on Thursday through an interpreter at Cape Town's High Court, where the case is being heard.

"I feel like something is coming from heaven and even if I do not see this happening, the next generation will see it and benefit from it," she said.

Members of the community are descendants of the Khoi-Khoi -- the first inhabitants of the region -- and many still speak the indigenous Nama language despite attempts by the former apartheid government to stop it being taught to new generations.

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Stornoway and Motapa Form Alliance to Explore for Diamonds in Botswana

Stornoway Diamonds Corp. (TSX:SWY) and Motapa Diamonds Inc (TSX VENTURE:MTP) are pleased to report that the two companies have entered into an agreement to jointly explore for diamonds on Motapa's extensive Botswana landholdings, totaling in excess of 2.2 million hectares (5.4 million acres).

Botswana is the world's leading diamond producer by value and its mines, Jwaneng, Lethlakhane and Orapa are amongst the most profitable. The country is democratically ruled, boasts a growing economy and a stable political environment. Motapa's diamond exploration rights cover highly prospective terrain throughout central and eastern Botswana and include a 100% interest in 28 prospecting licenses covering 1.77 million hectares and 60% interest in 7 prospecting licenses covering approximately 0.48 million hectares.

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Russian gem firm chooses Dan Gertler

The Russian state diamond company Alrosa has teamed up with Israeli gem merchant Dan Gertler in a joint venture to export diamonds from Angola.

An announcement by an Alrosa spokesman yesterday was posted on several Russian Web sites. The report on this joint project comes on the eve of a historic visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel this evening. Putin will be accompanied on his trip by the chairman of Alrosa, Alexander Nichiporuk.

Gertler's office made no comment on this report yesterday.

According to the announcement, the joint venture will be conducted through Alrosa and two of Gertler's companies, DGI and Emaxon Finance International. The statement also noted that, in March, Angola stopped exporting diamonds to Israeli merchant Lev Leviev, who until then had controlled the market. Leviev had been considered the man with the heaviest clout over Alrosa. The two jointly own the largest diamond mine in Angola.

Gertler also managed to arrange a meeting between Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Nichiporuk.

Nichiporuk will be exploring commercial possibilities while on his visit to Israel. Alrosa has not sold gems in Israel, as local dealers buy their rough gems from Russia, or on the open market, mostly in Antwerp. This will be Nichiporuk's second visit to Israel. During his first visit a few months ago, he met Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trade Minister Ehud Olmert.

Dazzling gems to be put on sale in Hon Kong

A spectacular selection of quality diamonds and fine gems will be offered at a Spring auction on May 2 in Hong Kong, announced Sotheby's Hong Kong on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon's media preview, a superb Kashmir sapphire and diamond necklace became the main focus.

The necklace was beautifully mounted with a matching suite of eight cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphires of over 70 carats in total. Its price is estimated at 23 million HK dollars (about 2.9 million US dollars).

Two white diamonds to be put on sale were recognized as "best of the best," not only because they have the best color and flawless clarity, but also they are certified as having excellent polish and symmetry. One of them was 18.3 carats in pear shape, estimated about 9 million HK dollars (about one million US dollars); the other was a 10.5 carats diamond with an estimated price of about 5 million HK dollars (about 640,000 US dollars).

Among the highlights of jadeite jewels, there was a suite of jadeite and diamond necklace and earrings designed by Christian Tse, one of America's celebrity designer.

This exclusive and unique design, estimated about 7 million HK dollars (about 900,000 US dollars) was inspired by the chrysanthemum, an auspicious flower for Chinese New Year celebrations.

Mounted in diamonds, the center of each articulated flowers incorporates an exquisite jadeite cabochon of vivid green color with wonderful translucency and texture.

High-tech airborne magnetics to help find diamonds

Mining company Flinders Diamonds has begun a new exploration program in the Flinders Ranges, in South Australia's north, where it hopes to locate deposits with new surveying technology.

Trenching has begun in areas where the diamond source, kimberlite, was found using magnetic surveys last February.

The company will use new technology involving airborne magnetic surveying to test areas it believes are most likely to contain economic diamond deposits.

Managing director Kevin Wills says the technology will provide up to 10 times more information than other systems.

"One of the areas we're flying [over]... it's got 12 known diamond locations from previous work," he said.

"But nobody's been able to find the source of them yet so we're hoping that these new high-tech airborne magnetics will help us do that."

Stolen diamonds add sparkle to business

SURAT, APRIL 24: At midnight, business is in full swing here. Kantawallahs sort out diamonds as per cut, clarity, colour and carat. The market is situated in a small alley in Varachha — hub of the diamond industry. But nothing’s legal. Only stolen diamonds are sold and bought, sometimes at throwaway prices.

Though located a few metres away from the police station, kantawallahs openly weigh diamonds stolen by workers employed in diamond manufacturing units for sale. Business begins at 7 pm after official diamond markets at Heerabaug and Mahidharpura close for the day. And deals go on till 2 am, as some diamond workers prefer shady deals in the shadow of the night.

Mahesh Khodiyarwala, a kantawallah, admits: "I weigh and sort diamonds, then sell it to buyers. We get many buyers as they can get polished diamonds at a cheaper price here. I earn anything between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 as brokerage each night."

"Everyone in the diamond trade knows about the market. But nobody stops them," says Praveen Nanavati, former president of the Surat Diamond Association (SDA).

How do the workers manage to steal? Says diamond manufacturer Kirti Shah, "At a manufacturing unit, a worker is given 15-20 rough diamonds for polishing. At the end of the day, the worker deposits the polished diamonds with the unit owner. The owner counts the number of diamonds without checking quality and workers exchange low-quality diamonds for high-quality ones."

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Over 25 mln dlrs worth of diamonds sold at auction in Moscow

Alrosa together with Russia's Diamond Chamber sold more than 25 million dollars' worth of diamonds at the seventh international auction in Moscow, Alrosa's press service told Prime Tass.

Representatives of 36 Russian and foreign companies participated in the auction that lasted for a month and ended on April 21.

The representatives were from companies of the United States, India, Israel, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates specialised in diamond operations.

Put up for the auction were 133 boxes (901 diamonds) weighing a total of more than 15,600 carats, including 19 big diamonds each weighing more than 50 carats.

The biggest was the diamond the weight of which was 232.76 carats. It was sold for almost one million dollars.

Alrosa CEO to discuss rough diamond deliveries to Israeli merchants

Alrosa CEO Alexander Nichiporuk will visit the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange next week. Alrosa, a Russian government company, is the world's second largest producer of rough diamonds.

Israeli sources expect Nichiporuk to announce collaboration with Israel's diamond industry, and the possibility of Alrosa's first sales of rough diamonds to Israel. Nichiporuk may be part of the entourage of Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit next week, since he is considered an associate of Putin.

Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) chairman Simcha Lustig confirmed the report. He said it was not known if Putin would participate in the visit to the Diamond Exchange.

The visit follows 18 months of open and confidential talks between representatives of the Israel Diamond Exchange, Alrosa, the Russian government, and Russian Ministry of Natural Resources.

NSDM receives first shipment of "North Star" diamonds

North Star Diamonds, Inc. is pleased to announce it has received its first
shipment of "North Star" diamonds. These diamonds have the stylized "N"
emblazoned on the girdle, along with a serial number and maple leaf. This
positions NSDM as a leader in the marketing of branded diamonds.

The stylized "N", serial number, and maple leaf makes it possible to
trace the origin of the diamond and authenticate the diamond as a Canadian
Diamond. An added benefit to having a branded diamond is security from theft;
as stolen diamonds can be traced.

The "North Star" diamonds will be sold mainly to tourists visiting
Vancouver, but will be available to anyone interested in purchasing them. The
introduction of our "North Star" diamonds is expected to increase diamond
sales for NSDM to $100,000.00/month.

De Beers no longer seeking new N.W.T. diamonds

De Beers is closing its exploration office in Yellowknife, opened at the height of the diamond exploration boom 10 years ago.

A company spokesperson says De Beers has done enough work to be satisfied about the diamond potential of the Northwest Territories.

About half of the 14 staff in the office have been reassigned while the rest have left the company.

"I think what we see in the N.W.T. is a sort of a natural transition from exploration into mining development," says Linda Dorrington of De Beers.

"We have done extensive exploration in the N.W.T. for a number of years, and we are now spending most of our efforts in other parts of the country, the eastern Arctic and elsewhere."

For example, De Beers plans to spend $26 million on diamond exploration in Saskatchewan this year.

Dorrington says that while the exploration office in Yellowknife is closing, the mining office is expanding.

De Beers plans to bring its deposit at Snap Lake into production in 2007, and the company plans to make a decision about developing the rich diamond find at Gahcho Kue, 300 kilometres east of Yellowknife, later this year.