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The workforce has been reduced by 75 per cent at the De Beers Venetia mine in South Africa.
The workforce has been reduced by 75 per cent at the De Beers Venetia mine in South Africa.

De Beers cancels March sight; Gemfields auctions uncertain

The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the diamond and coloured gemstone trade, with De Beers cancelling its most recent sales event and ruby and emerald mining company Gemfields unable to confirm if its future auctions will take place.

De Beers cancelled its most recent sight, which was scheduled to take place 30 March–3 April in Gaborone, Botswana, hours before the sales event was due to take place.

In a statement, the diamond company explained, “Due to the public health restrictions on the movement of people and product in Botswana, South Africa and India, which prohibit customers from travelling and prevent the shipment of goods to customers’ international operations, De Beers Group will not hold its third sight of 2020.”

"Due to the public health restrictions on the movement of people and product in Botswana, South Africa and India... De Beers Group will not hold its third sight of 2020"

The Botswana government implemented a 28-lockdown on 2 April, with all citizens to remain at home unless performing essential services or transporting essential goods.

De Beers sightholders can defer 100 per cent of their allocation to the seven remaining sights in 2020.

At the time of publication, all De Beers-operated mines – located in Canada, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia – remained open, though the on-site workforce at the Venetia mine in South Africa had been reduced by 75 per cent.

Russian conglomerate Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond producer by volume, will proceed with its scheduled sale on 6–10 April and allow clients to defer 100 per cent of goods.

Uncertain future for Gemfields

Ruby and emerald mining company Gemfields has announced it is “unable to provide reliable guidance as to when it might be able to host its next auctions”.

In a statement, Gemfields stated that upcoming auctions – scheduled for May and June 2020 – are likely to be postponed until the second half of the year due to “widespread travel restrictions”, while its November and December 2020 auctions may be cancelled.

The company’s six annual auctions account for 93 per cent of its revenue. Its most recent emerald auction, held in Zambia from 18-21 February, saw 64 per cent of carats sold, generating $US11.5 million.

Gemfields has since suspended “all but critical operations” at its Kagem emerald mine in Zambia, though its Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique continues to operate.

 

More reading:
Coronavirus forces drastic measures in watch and jewellery industry
Furore as diamond prices fall; Rapaport Price List suspended




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