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February 2005

Russian diamond production figures have surprised industry observers, according to the online news sources Mineweb and MosNews. This information had been considered a state secret since the first diamond discovery in Siberia in 1955. They were released for the first time in December.

The figures show Russian diamond production to be much higher than many industry observers had thought, and the value to be much lower. They also indicate that the prices Alrosa is charging to sell its rough domestically are much higher than what it charges on the export markets.

The Russian Ministry of Finance was finally pushed to agree to disclosure at the end of December because Russia assumed the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process in January 1.

According to reports, in the first half of 2003, Russia produced 14.5 million carats, which it sold for $729 million, and in the second half of the year, the country produced 18.5 million carats which sold for $947 million. For the year as a whole, Russia produced 33.02 million carats, which sold for $1.7 billion, an average of only $51 per carat. In the first six months of 2004, production totaled 17.8 billion carats sold for $948 million, an average of $53 per carat. The world average is $58 per carat. In dollar terms, this makes Russia the world’s second largest diamond producer after Botswana.

Russian exports are much different: in 2003, Russia exported 37.8 million carats for $883.4 million, for an average per-carat price of only $23. From January to the end of September 2004, exports totaled 23.6 million carats for $826.4 million, for an average per-carat price of $35.

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