Gahcho Kué Disappoints with Low Prices

Toronto: A large proportion of fluorescent diamonds and the negative impact of India’s liquidity crisis dampened prices at the initial sales of rough from Canada’s new Gahcho Kué mine, Mountain Province Diamonds reported.

The miner sold 522,000 carats for $37.7 million — an average price of $72 per carat — at its opening three tenders in Antwerp during the first quarter, it said Wednesday. Prices lagged behind the $123 per carat the company had anticipated before the mine opened in September, as projected by CEO Patrick Evans in a June 2016 interview with Rapaport News.

Prices of production from a new mine typically increase with each sale as manufacturers get to know the goods better, explained Mountain Province, which owns 49% of the mine in a joint venture with De Beers. The inaugural tenders also came as the industry was recovering from the Indian government’s November demonetization policy, which saw 86% of currency notes taken out of circulation and sapped liquidity from smaller and medium-sized diamond companies.

In addition, many of the higher-quality diamonds showed varying degrees of fluorescence, making them susceptible to price reductions.

“The market’s tolerance for fluorescence varies from time to time, depending on the strength of the general diamond market,” the company said. “In a stronger market, there is a higher tolerance for fluorescence, and consequently less of a discount. The reverse is true in a weaker diamond market.”

Mountain Province recorded a net loss of $1.6 million (CAD 2.1 million) for the period versus a profit of $13.7 million (CAD 18.8 million) a year earlier, mainly due to a smaller foreign-exchange gain than last year’s, it explained.