Firestone opens new tender facility at Belgium’s Antwerp World Diamond Centre

Firestone Diamonds (LON:FDI) announced Thursday that it has partnered up with First Element Diamond Services and opened a new tender facility at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), in Belgium.

Firestone’s chief executive Tim Wilkes said the independent facility would help mining companies sell its diamonds in what is one of the premier diamond buying centres of the industry.

“Firestone and First Element have worked very hard with the ADWC and De Antwerpsche Diamantkring to develop this facility and we look forward to developing the relationship,” he added.

Only two days ago, the company filled headlines with its discovery of very rare type 2 diamonds, as well as an even more rare blue diamond, from its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho.

Firestone  said both finds were highly significant, especially the batch of 28 type 2a diamonds as these occur mostly as high quality, high colour crystals and are extremely unusual.

The world’s diamond production comprises of approximately 98% of type 1A diamonds, with less than 2% being high quality, white and colourless type 2 stones.

Wilkes said in May that, while prices for better-quality diamonds are strengthening and —in some categories— creeping up to levels not seen since June 2011, the prices of brown diamonds, near-gem quality and small stones remains depressed and under pressure.

The diamond miner expects to release a definitive feasibility study for the expansion of production from its pilot plant. Increasing production from the current 200,000 carats per annum to over 1 million carats by 2015, with a new treatment plant to handle the large gems being found at Liqhobong.

Firestone began operating its pilot plant in June 2011, since then it said it has recovered significant quantities of vivid and yellow fancy diamonds, two small pink diamonds and a number of high quality white stones and can now confirm the presence of rare type 2 diamonds.

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