De Beers Wants to Refresh Sightholder List

De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company is undertaking a new
sightholder selection process in order to “refresh its list,” Mahiar Borhanjoo,
the DTC’s executive director of sales and sightholder services, told JCK in an exclusive interview.

“Will the new list comprise the some 70 [sightholders] we already have or will there be any companies that are better than those companies on the new list?” he said. “It’s too early to tell yet. What
is different this time is the simpler, online system we have to assess [companies’] capabilities and how that relates to their availability and how we utilize
these goods.”

Along those lines, the DTC is holding
webinars
for prospective sightholders, which can be seen here.

While past “selections” have come with warnings that the
list would be trimmed because of decreased rough output, Borhanjoo noted the
near-term projections are for De Beers’ diamond production to rise 20% this
year, if not scale the heights of 2008.

“We don’t foresee having major change in our overall rough,”
he said. “We did
sell Finsch
so there will be an impact on our availability because of the sale.
But we are looking at increasing production elsewhere.”

Among the stipulations to become a sightholder is compliance
with the DTC’s ethical codes called “Best
Practice Principles
.” Borhanjoo notes that prospective sightholders will be
audited for compliance with BPP before they are accepted.

Certain cutting centers, including New York, have long been
nervous that the DTC is phasing them out. “We want to work in with the very
best,” says Borhanjoo. “They can be from any part of the world, as long as they
show us how they add value to their diamonds.”

Borhanjoo also denied speculation that the De Beers will
sell more of its production via tenders, like its subsidiary Diamdel.

“Diamdel is going to be auctioning up to ten percent of our
overall production,” he says. “The other 90 percent will continue to go through
the intention to offer process. We still feel this process is very strong and it allows us to
have an understanding of where our business is going, and allows our customers
to plan and forecast their business. I don’t see much of a change.”

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