Tennis ball-sized ‘diamond in a rough’ too large to sell


TORONTO (Reuters) – In a puzzling universe of solid mining, it turns out that some stones are too vast to sell.

Canada’s Lucara Diamond Corp will have to cut a tennis ball-sized severe solid to find a buyer, attention insiders say, following Sotheby’s unsuccessful auction for a world’s largest untouched mill final summer.

It’s not a finale that William Lamb wanted for his 1,109-carat stone, named ‘Lesedi La Rona’, or ‘Our Light’ in a inhabitant denunciation of Botswana where it was mined.

“It’s usually a second mill recovered in a story of amiability over 1,000 carats. Why would we wish to gloss it?,” pronounced Lucara’s arch executive.

“The mill in a severe form contains infinite potential…As shortly as we gloss it into one solution, all else is gone.”

Lamb had gambled that ultra-rich collectors, who buy and sell changed art works for record-breaking sums during auction, would do a same with a solid in a raw.

The rare gamble failed.

Bidding for a 2.5 to 3 billion year aged mill stalled during $61 million – brief of a $70 million reserve.

“When is a solid too big? we consider we have found that when we go above 1,000 carats, it is too vast – positively from a aspect of examining a stones with a record available,” pronounced Panmure Gordon mining researcher Kieron Hodgson.

“At a finish of a day, it’s about bargain what a mill can produce. And a attention now doesn’t work on hunches as many as it used to 20-30 years ago.”

An keen business, a solid attention has no mark marketplace trading, no pledge that ‘roughs’ will produce any value, and a punishing grading complement that can dramatically pitch values.

Stones in a hundreds of carats come with additional risk, from a multi-million-dollar cost tags and slicing routine that can take months or years, to erratic patron demand.

There is a “very, really tiny universe” of companies with a skill, income and network to gloss and sell a Lesedi, that will expected take dual to 4 days for a initial laser cut, pronounced Lamb.

But after Lucara’s open auction, intensity buyers now know what a marketplace is peaceful to pay, pronounced Edahn Golan, of Edahn Golan Diamond Research Data. “Maybe it’s value watchful a integrate of years,” he said.

While Lucara does not need a money, investors might not have that patience.

Lamb pronounced a unsold mill “weighs heavily” on a stock, that is down some-more than 30 percent from late final year.

To be sure, Lucara has seen other advantages from a stone, pronounced eccentric solid researcher Paul Zimnisky.

“There’s a value of a sold diamond, though afterwards there’s also a story behind a second-largest severe solid ever recovered in complicated time,” he said.

“Just from a broadside standpoint, nobody knew what Lucara Diamond was when they recovered that mill … now they’re substantially one of a many famous names.”

Lamb, a former De Beers executive, says it’s doubtful Lucara can sell a mill for a preferred cost and polishing a Lesedi itself is risky.

Another choice is for a Vancouver-based miner to partner with one or some-more companies to cut and sell a stone. “We’ve already finished a homework,” Lamb said. “You don’t take a mill like this and give it to a second best.”

Industry sources determine that high-profile British solid play Laurence Graff creates a list of intensity partners, though over that, opinions vary.

Lucara could work with a consortium, sources said, including Cora International, Diamcad, a supposed ‘King of Diamonds’ Lev Leviev, Mouawad, Tache Diamonds, Optimum Diamonds, a Angolan President’s daughter Isobel dos Santos, Swissdiam International and Rare Diamond House (RDH).

It would be a mistake for Lucara to reason onto a Lesedi, pronounced Oded Mansori, RDH handling director. “Maybe subsequent week, there will be a incomparable stone.”

New record means miners like Gem Diamonds, Lucapa Diamond, Petra Diamonds and Letseng Diamonds are detection some-more mega-stones total rather than violation a crisp crystals.

Lucara, that commissioned a Large Diamond Recovery machine, regulating X-ray delivery sensors (XRT), recovered a Lesedi, an 813-carat and 374-carat mill over dual days.

A Dubai trade association paid a record $63 million for Lucara’s 813-carat ‘Constellation’, while Graff bought a 374-carat mill for $17.5 million.

“Miners have some-more modernized technology, this is because we see these vast stones entrance adult all of a sudden,” pronounced Mansori. “I consider that Mother Nature has some some-more surprises watchful for us.”

Lamb won’t take that bet.

“Don’t reason your breath. There’s no pledge that there’s going to be a subsequent one,” he said.

Reporting by Susan Taylor


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