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India Consortium Procures Rough Diamonds Directly from Namibia Producer

14 july 2009

According to The Economic Times, rough diamond prices have risen by an average of 20-25% from the lows that they hit in November 2008. Diamond India (DIL), a consortium of 60 medium and large Indian diamond exporters, has for the first time achieved a breakthrough by procuring rough diamonds directly from a miner in Namibia, Israelidiamond.co.il reported.
The consortium was formed about two years ago with the support of the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Gems & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
According to a member of the consortium, the diamond deal is highly significant since no other company in the world, apart from De Beers’ DTC, has been able to procure rough diamonds directly from Namibia.
A highly-placed diamond industry official confirmed that the transaction was large. He noted: “A big deal was concluded two weeks ago with a Namibian diamond miner, a breakthrough with any African nation.”
GJEPC Chairman Vasant Mehta was quoted as saying: “Earlier, DIL managed to procure rough diamonds from Alrosa of Russia. However, till recently, they were unable to strike a deal directly with African diamond miners, which typically trade in large volumes and only with financially robust clients.”
The Economic Times notes that the diamond procurement deal will lead to a 5-7-% saving in costs, which is significant for local diamond exporters who operate on margins as slim as 3%.
Traditionally, India’s exporters purchased rough diamonds from Antwerp, which procured them from diamond miners in Africa, Canada and Russia. The online newspaper reports that the creation of DIL was part of the Indian diamond industry’s vision of making India a trading hub of rough and polished diamonds, similar to Antwerp, by procuring the raw material directly from diamond producers.
The Economic Times states that Indian rough diamond importers bid up prices in two diamond tenders recently floated by BHP Billiton, the Australian mining giant. As a result, the cut-off prices of these tenders were raised by a cumulative 20% in the past two months.