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17 september 2021

Australia becomes world’s biggest producer of gold for first time

Australia has become the world’s biggest producer of gold for the first time, having played second fiddle to China for the last decade. Australia unearthed 157 tons of gold in the first half of the year, pipping China by four tonnes.

17 september 2021

Nigerian minister mulls death penalty for gold smuggling – report

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17 september 2021

Gemfields back to black

Gemfields is expected to register a net profit after tax of $23.8-million in the first half of the year compared with the net loss after tax of $56.7-million, a year earlier. Earnings per share are expected to be 2 US cents from a loss per share of 4...

17 september 2021

Debmarine Namibia's new diamond recovery vessel to arrive in SA next week

Debmarine Namibia’s new N$7 billion diamond recovery vessel, Additional Mining Vessel #3 (AMV3), is expected to arrive in Cape Town, South Africa next week ahead of commissioning early next year.

17 september 2021

Production Based on Impactites to Be Launched in Novosibirsk

11 december 2014

  ( - “Over the last couple of years, in-process testing of impactites have been carried out. The findings showed that their abrasive capacity is 2 to 2.5 times higher compared to that of the synthetic diamonds. Their cutting effect was tested: at the cutting speed of above 24 m per minute, the normal operation of the tools based on synthetic diamonds stopped as their cutting edges damaged. The tools made using the impact diamond-and-lonsdaleite raw material continued their operation even at the speed of 30 m per minute and 40 m per minute,” says Nikolay Pokhilenko. “The longer lifetime and much higher capacity are the features of the tools made with the use of the impact diamond-and-lonsdaleite raw material compared to those of the tools made using synthetic diamonds.”

According to him, the use of the IDLRM opens vast opportunities for the machining and tool-making industries. “The productivity could be increased several times because a part manufactured now for two days could be made for one day only,” he says.  

He states that this raw material can also be used in drilling operations (including the shale gas production), ceramics skiving, various materials polishing, including super-hard ones, etc.

At this point, there are plans to launch pilot production in Novosibirsk. “The production run of the tools based on the IDLRM requires the onset of the commercial mining of this valuable raw material having unique process characteristics in the Popigai Crater located on the border of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and Yakutia,” says Nikolay Pokhilenko. He did not tell what factory would start the prototype production. 

“We keep on studying the IDLRM properties. The work is carried out in team with the AK ALROSA, the V.N. Bakul Institute of Superhard Materials, NAC of the Ukraine, in close cooperation with the oil-and-gas servicing company Baker Hughes and the Element Six, an affiliated member of the De Beers Group of Companies,” said he. 

According to economists’ data cited by Nikolay Pokhilenko, if the IDLRM mining could be started in 2017, then in the first year with the output of 100 mln carats, the demand for this raw material would be for about $2 billion. This is a small share compared to the total global production of the synthetic diamonds – just about 1 to 1.5 percent. However, within a decade, the demand would jump up to 750 mln – 1 bln carats and the market would grow up to $15 billion. The economists believe that taking into account all the characteristics, the IDLRM cost could reach $20 to $23 per carat,” he said.

He also noted that the proved remaining resources of industrial- and gem quality rough diamonds in the world were about 5 bln carats. “In this crater, the resources of about 0.3 percent of the total crater area are studied and registered as book reserves – about 150 bln carats. These are great resources. The deposit is unique – no any other deposit of such a raw material is found anywhere in the world,” he says.

According to him, there is a chance that the ALROSA Company will be a mining operator of this deposit.

The Popigai Crater was open by the renowned professor Viktor Masaitis, a geologist from Leningrad, and it was under investigation in the 1970-s and 1980-s. Its diameter is about 100 kilometres. The Crater was formed as the result of a 6-km asteroid impact over 35 mln years ago. At the moment of the impact, high temperature and high pressure caused the transition of the graphite crystals into an aggregate formed due to close penetration of nanosized crystallites of more dense carbon phases – usual cubic diamond and lonsdaleite.

The grains of the diamond and lonsdaleite material look different from the kimberlite diamonds – they are like laminas. Their average dimensions are from several tenths to 2 mm, while maximum grains could be up to 1.5 centimeters. In 2012, it was announced that the impact diamond-lonsdaleite deposit - the only one in the world – was located in the area of the Crater.