Alrosa might be considered the king of diamonds. It is the world’s largest rough diamond producer by volume, with almost 1bn carats of resources.
It’s certainly the king of privatisations, as far as 2013 is concerned. A stake of 16 per cent stake in the company was sold for $1.3bn in an IPO on Monday, making it Russia’s first state privatistion of the year.
Botswana may be the world’s top diamond producer, but it is keen to diversify its exports away from precious stones. The country has been steadily mapping out a plan to develop what it says are its huge coal resources.
The benefit would be clear: in addition to boosting domestic energy supplies, a coal industry would be able to export to countries such as China and India in the future. The question is, just what is the size of its reserves?
Zambia’s government is the latest in sub-Saharan Africa to propose measures to claw back a bit more of the wealth extracted by foreign mining companies. But this time it’s not the proceeds of a major commodity like copper that are in the spotlight, but the rather more niche trade in emeralds.
Zambia is the third largest producer of the gemstone after Colombia and Brazil, and last Friday Yamfwa Mukanga, mining minister, gave mining companies a jolt when he said that any emeralds dug up in Zambia will have to be auctioned there from now on, too.
Diamond miner De Beers plans to invest $2bn in a new mine in South Africa’s Limpopo province, providing a rare spot of good news for the country’s troubled mining industry.
The company, which is 85 per cent owned by mining giant Anglo American and 15 per cent by the government of Botswana, will dig beneath its existing open-pit Venetia Mine, extending the life of the complex up until 2042.
Zimbabwe hosted its inaugural diamond conference on Monday and Tuesday to promote the industry, but instead has become embroiled in fresh controversy around the country’s diamond sales and tax revenues.
There are conflicting reports around diamond sales. While the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Ministry of Mines lament that sales are being hit by sanctions, critics argue that the companies are actually making huge sales but looting is rife.
Pin-striped diamond merchants from Antwerp, Tel Aviv, India, and New York will soon have to come to Gaborone in Botswana to bid for some of the world’s best diamonds, after the country struck a landmark deal with De Beers that makes it a power player in the global diamond industry.