June 1, 2004
Waldman Secures Marketing Rights to Sierra Leone Diamond Mine
The Waldman Diamond Group, the international diamond manufacturing and trading company headquartered in Israel, secured the exclusive marketing rights for the output of the Magna Egoli mine, an alluvial mining operation in Sierra Leone that produces gem-quality diamonds.
The group was able to secure the exclusive marketing rights after its mining and exploration arm, Waldman Diamond Resources, obtained an ownership stake in the mine's holding company. The Israel office has received the first shipment from this highly mechanized diamond mine, located on the Sewa River. This particular shipment of rough diamonds ranged from $225 to $280 per carat. Some of the larger stones in the parcel weighed approximately five carats.
Before Waldman acquired its marketing rights, the production of the Magna Egoli mine was sold on the local Sierra Leone market. Waldman determined the high quality of the output made this production of particular interest to the Israeli industry, since more than 75% of the rough diamonds can be economically cut and polished by Israeli diamond manufacturers.
When operating in a post-conflict diamond producing country like Sierra Leone, it is imperative to uphold the highest ethical standards, says Alexander Waldman, the company's CEO. "Magna Egoli is the first diamond mine in Sierra Leone where the labor conditions for the mine workers have been negotiated with the countryıs National Union of Mineworkers," he stated. "This means that the earnings of the local diggers are considerably above those customary in other small-scale alluvial diamond mining operations. Consequently, this has earned our operation respect and gratitude on the highest governmental levels. Our model is now being followed by other mining companies."
Magna Egoli's mining plan includes the exploration of a 22-sq.-mile area north of the current mining area, which guarantees an uninterrupted production for at least five years. After its restructuring under the new ownership, the mine is expected to reach full production in July 2004. An independent evaluation report conducted earlier this year indicated that at the current price level, when under full production, the mine will produce well in excess of $25 million per year &150; all of which will be marketed through the Israel diamond center.