VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – The seventh sale of diamonds produced from Mountain Province Diamonds’ 49%-owned Gahcho Kué mine, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, saw the average price of rough stones fall to the lowest level since sales started in January.
The September tender included an unusually large proportion of small stones and fewer high-end goods, the company advised.
The company sold 463 000 ct of rough diamonds at an average price of $59/ct, bringing total proceeds to $27.1-million, it said in a news release on Monday.
The tender featured a relatively high volume of smaller diamonds, as a planned procedural change by the Northwest Territories government to expedite processing of the company's smaller sized diamonds, for royalty valuation purposes, has enabled Mountain Province to bring smaller rough diamonds to the market sooner than it could in the past. However, this had a negative effect on the average selling price.
The sale also included significantly fewer fancy and special diamonds than previous tenders did, as De Beers, Mountain Province’s 51% partner in the mine and the operator, won a bid for these goods. Each month, the two joint venture partners divide the project’s regular run-of-mine rough production between them and bid against each other for the fancy and special precious gemstones.
Production at Gahcho Kué started in September 2016, with Mountain Province’s first sale taking place in January. Sales at the first three tenders, which took place in the first quarter, averaged $72/ct. This rose to $86/ct at the May sale and to $95/ct in June, before slipping to $72/ct in July.