Grib Diamonds has started buying rough in Angola, as a new company structure has enabled it to diversify beyond its one mine in Russia.
The Antwerp-based company, which markets most of the Grib deposit’s diamonds, is looking to source goods from a broader range of locations.
Grib Diamonds is now a subsidiary of AGD Diamonds, which operates the site in the Arkhangelsk region, whereas they were previously sister companies. Both of them are under the ownership of Otkritie Holdings, which bought AGD from Russian energy giant Lukoil for $1.45 billion in 2017.
“The structure of the relationship between AGD and Grib has changed,” said Antony Dear, Grib’s head of sales, in an email to Rapaport News last week. “Grib Diamonds has benefited from a more flexible approach to the expansion of its business from a single mine in Russia to other potential sources of rough diamonds.”
At the end of last year, the Belgian firm bought a batch of rough produced by a third party in Angola, sorted the goods, and sold them through an ascending clock auction, in which the winner takes the goods at the price offered by the second-highest bidder.
The company’s sales last year were on a par with 2018, when revenue totaled around $300 million and sales volume was approximately 5 million carats, Dear estimated. Prices of rough from the Grib mine dropped until late in the year, before strengthening in December, he noted, without providing precise data.
“2019 was a challenging year, as it was for many others,” he commented.
Image: An 86.46-carat diamond AGD extracted at the Grib mine in January 2020. (AGD Diamonds)