Alrosa (MCX: ALRS), the world’s top diamond miner by output, has found a 236-carat rough stone of deep amber colour at one of its mines in Russia’s northeastern Yakutia region.
The precious stone, thought to be between 120 and 230 million years old, is the largest coloured diamond ever mined in Russia, the company said.
The diamond, described as having a “natural and intense yellow-brown colour” was found at Alrosa’s Ebelyakh mine.
Alrosa’s specialists are currently evaluating the find. After that, the company will decide whether to give it to its manufacturers for cutting or sell it as a rough.
The diamond, measuring 47x24x22 millimetres, could be turned into several high-quality polished diamonds, the miner said.
This not the first time a rough coloured diamond has been unearthed at the Ebelyakh deposit. In just one month in 2017, three unique stones of intense yellow, pink and purple-pink were discovered there.
Diamond miners and traders have been hit hard over the past two years by weak market conditions and this year the coronavirus pandemic.
Alrosa reported on Monday rough and polished diamond sales of $35.8 million last month. The figure is 79% lower than a year earlier and the miner said covid-19 is to blame.
July was the fourth consecutive month of weak sales for Alrosa and other diamond miners, who have been hit by falling demand and supply chain disruptions since March.
The state-controlled miner’s sales rose from $31.3 million in June but still were only a fraction of the usual sales of the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds. Its sales in July 2019 totalled $170.5 million.
Investment banks are increasingly reluctant to extend credit to diamond producers, as inventory is not being sold and defaults are possible, analysts have warned.
“We are concerned about an oversupply of rough diamonds following the reopening of economies, as a lot of inventory could potentially be flooded into the system and the market might not be able to absorb all of it, resulting in increased pricing pressure,” Citi said in May.