Waldman Diamond Co. secures marketing rights to Sierra Leone mine

The Waldman Diamond Group, an international diamond manufacturing and trading firm headquartered in Israel, has 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.

Waldman Diamonds was able to secure the exclusive marketing rights after Waldman Diamond Resources (WDR), which is the WDC Group’s mining and exploration arm, obtained an ownership stake in the mine’s holding company.

In May, the WDC Ramat Gan office received the first shipment from this highly mechanized diamond mine, which is located on the Sewa River, the company said in a statement. The value of this particular shipment of rough diamonds ranged from $225 to $280 per ct. Some of the larger stones in the parcel weighed approximately five cts. each.

Before Waldman acquired its marketing rights, the production of the Magna Egoli mine was sold on the local Sierra Leone market. But Waldman Diamonds said it recognized that 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 the Israeli diamond manufacturers.

Magna Egoli’s mining plan includes the exploration of a 22 square-mile area north of the current mining area, securing 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, which was 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, all of which will be marketed through the Israel diamond center.