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Weekly Market Report

DIAMOND MARKET OVERVIEW

Polished traded steadily over the past week. The main focus is on the JCK jewellery trade show in Las Vegas beginning of June. Some traders said there was pressure on prices for larger stones as demand had softened. High quality smalls were reportedly selling well, in particularly in mainland China where demand has been picking up steadily since the start of the year. The main polishedprices index ended down, opening at 117.31 on Friday, from Monday’s opening at 118.28.

ROUGH MARKET

Rough traders reported strong demand in the secondary market over the past week. Market players cited a number of factors for the strong demand situation. Many in the trade are anticipating lower volumes coming on to the market, after De Beers, the world’s largest supplier, said it had cleared its inventory in the first quarter resulting in bumper sales.  In addition, De Beers traditionally sells smaller volumes in the second half compared to the first half.  Debswana last month indicated that it would produce around 20.5 million carats this year, more or less the same as last year and compared to a high of 34 million carats in 2007.

CORPORATE EVENTS

The performance of the State Diamond Trader, which was set up to promote the local beneficiation of diamonds, was not satisfactory, Parliament’s mineral resources committee has concluded, Business Day reported. Diamond exporters have to make up to 10% of their rough diamonds available to the State Diamond Trader so that it can supply historically disadvantaged beneficiators. The finding was made in the committee’s report on the annual 2017-18 performance plan of the Department of Mineral Resources and its entities, the Business Day report said.

A much anticipated auction for one of the world's largest diamonds fizzled on Thursday when the government of Sierra Leone rejected a $7.8 million bid for the rough, egg-sized stone, saying it failed to meet its own valuation, Reuters reported. The 709-carat gem is the second largest ever discovered in the West African country and was unearthed in March in the eastern Kono region by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government to handle the sale, said the Reuters report.

Quebec’s sole diamond producer Stornoway Diamonds has issued its maiden first-quarter operating and financial results report, showing that mining rates, development progress in the underground mine, and carat production all continue to exceed plan, miningweekly.com reported. The Longueuil, Quebec-based company, which declared commercial production at the flagship Renard diamond mine on January 1, recovered 385 151 ct of diamonds during the quarter from the processing of 419 233 t of ore, for an attributable grade of 92 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht), compared with a plan of 369 307 cts at 91 cpht, the miningweekly report said

The World Bank has called on Botswana to make public details of large mining contracts and subject those to public auditing mechanisms saying such as move would help the country in becoming more transparent and accountable, Mmegi reported. Through various large-scale mining, sales and marketing contracts with De Beers, Botswana earns over 80% of its foreign exchange income and 30% of national revenues from mining, which is primarily diamonds, the Mmegi report said. Launching a report titled Botswana Mining Investment and Governance Review (MinGov) recently, a consultant with the World Bank Group, Nils Handler said keeping the negotiation process around contracts for diamond mining and large integrated projects confidential and secretive does not aid Botswana’s case for accountability and inclusiveness, said the Mmegi report.

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