Strong diamond demand boosts Lucara revenue, Petra sales

The global market for rough stones and diamond jewellery has reached a healthy balance, says Lucara. (Stock image.)

Petra Diamonds (LON: PDL) and Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) added evidence on Friday that the global diamond market has returned to pre-pandemic levels after posting a sharp increase in sales and revenue, respectively.

South Africa’s Petra said it initial tender results, 589,168 carats have been sold for a total  of $110.5 million after selling about 80% of the volume of diamonds offered during its fourth tender cycle for its 2022 financial year ending June 30.

No exceptional stones were sold, and the remaining 20% of the auction’s volumes is scheduled to close on or around March 7, the company said.

Publishing its 2021 results, Canada’s Lucara showed a revenue increase of 84% to of $230.1 million, which it attributed to strong diamond market fundamentals.

The miner said the global market for rough stones and diamond jewellery has reached a healthy balance. It said it expected the positive trend to continue in years to come.

“2021 was a pivotal year for Lucara, having de-risked our future growth strategy with the sanction of the fully financed, Karowe underground expansion project, conservatively estimated to add $4 billion to future revenues and extend mine life to at least 2040,” president and chief executive Eira Thomas said in a statement.

The Vancouver-based company also said it processed 2.8 million tonnes of ore last year at its Karowe mine in Botswana – a record since the start of production in 2012.

Lucara also revised its revenue guidance for 2022 higher to between $195 million and $225 million, compared with the previously guided $185 million to $215 million.

Higher prices expected

The diamond market came to a standstill at the height of the covid-19 pandemic, increasing worries that oversupply could hurt the sector for years. But surging purchases by intermediaries who cut, polish and trade stones all but wiped-out miners’ stockpiles, even as Alrosa and its closest competitor, Anglo American’s De Beers, hiked prices

A study commissioned by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre estimates that diamond jewellery demand will fully recover to pre-covid levels between 2022 and 2024.

The increase in demand won’t be uniform, the report by consulting group Bain shows, as it will depend lockdown policies, government support, and the extent to which retailers manage to shift sales online.