Trivalence Mining Corporation of Canada bought the inactive Aredor diamond mine and surrounding concession, which has estimated reserves of between 470,000 carats and 1,3 million carats, in February, 1996, with plans to put it back into production. The government has retained a 15% stake and local businessmen 10%. The Aredor mine produced 1,2 million carats of alluvial diamonds between 1984 and 1994 when the mine was closed. Trivalence has plans to modify the operating costs structure of Aredor so that it is able to operate profitably.
Hymex Diamond Corporation of Canada has announced a 160% rise in monthly production on its site in Guinea over the past year. Hymex has extended its interests to the north of its licence by acquiring a 60% stake on a concession owned by International Mining Company. To finance its projects it has just obtained a $4 million facility for a period of three years from Afreximbank, a Cairo-based institution in which the World Bank holds a stake.
De Beers Centenary, the offshore diamond arm of South Africa’s De Beers Consolidated Mines, and the Guinean government have signed an agreement under the country’s new mining code allowing De Beers exploration and mining rights, as well as marketing of diamonds through the CSO. The agreement allowed it to manage any mine developed as a result of its exploration in Guinea. The agreement also provides for diamonds produced at any new mines to be sold through the Central Selling Organisation (CSO). De Beers has had a licence to explore for kimberlites in eastern Guinea since 1995. CSO set up offices in Conakry and Kankan in 1992. These buying offices purchase rough diamonds produced at mines around Guinea. CSO purchases of diamonds represented $20 million in 1996.
De Beers is continuing its exploration of kimberlite deposits in Upper Guinea which it started in 1996. By early 1999, the company had acquired 13 permits in the Kerouane and Konkare districts and was asking for five more. De Beers has already spent $5m already on exploration and up to 48,000km2 has been explored on a preliminary basis. It is expected that a drilling programme should start soon. If first estimates of sizeable amounts of gem quality diamonds are confirmed, De Beers could invest up to $500m developing projects in the country.