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1990: Diamond Dumping In Russia Affects Worldwide Diamond Market

February 1999

The Deputy President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, lead a delegation holding talks with Russia’s Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov in the hope of putting a stop to the leakage and possible dumping of Russian diamonds.

While South African sympathy clearly lies with Russia in its serious economic distress, the concern for the overall world diamond market naturally took precedence. “There must be consultation so that neither country acts in a way that leads to a fall in prices,” said Penuell Maduna, Minerals and Energy Minister.
The previous loan from De Beers, made in 1990, was directly linked to payment for gems Russia was to sell through De Beers marketing. As reported in the November issue of DRB, the Russian news agency Interfax stated recently that Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov had approached officials of De Beers and Alrosa to discuss a loan backed by diamonds. In a more recent report by the Moscow news, Gary Ralfe, the Managing Director of De Beers is quoted as saying that the Russian government did discuss the question of a $1 billion loan, but that De Beers had not yet received an official request for that loan.

Meanwhile South African concern about diamond dumping continues and the talks will continue on major issues such as the Russian laws on precious metals and stones that prohibit foreigners from acquiring more than 50% of a joint holding.

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