Petra to sell first newly mined diamonds from Williamson after reopening

PETRA Diamonds is to sell its first newly mined diamonds from Williamson, the Tanzanian mine it reopened in the first quarter after 12 months in mothballs.

The first tender of rough diamonds consisting of a parcel of 26,000 carats would take place in Antwerp between 19 and 26 November, the company said on Tuesday. The parcel includes a 32.32 carat pink stone that Petra said was of “exceptional colour and clarity”.

The UK-listed firm said in September it had identified Williamson as an asset for sale. It incurred an accounting loss of $52.1m on the asset for the 12 months ended June 30.

The mine, which is forecast to produce between 220,000 to 270,000 carats in Petra’s 2022 financial year, has been subject to numerous instances of illegal mining.

There were reports of on-mine violence and loss of life perpetrated by contracted mine security on trespassing miners. Petra agreed in May to pay £4.3m in settlement of claims brought against it by law firm Leigh Day for alleged human rights abuses.

The possible sale of Williamson provides evidence that restructuring at Petra is not at an end despite having undergone a year of significant financial change. The company last year issued 91% of its share capital in order to extinguish debt.

For instance, it is evaluating whether to continue mining Koffiefontein, a mine in South Africa. Petra CEO Richard Duffy said in September that a re-engineering project at Koffiefontein was aimed at seeing whether the mine could be restored to profitability.

“This is a step towards finalising a decision on Koffiefontein,” he said. “This is part of a broader asset review. We won’t continue to run it at a loss.”