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De Beers adds another 5 sightholders

By Michelle Graff

March 19, 2014

Gaborone, Botswana--De Beers said Tuesday it is adding five more companies to its list of sightholders for the current contract period but won’t be releasing their names until early next month, when they are “formally appointed to the list.”

David Johnson, head of midstream communications for De Beers, said the names of the new sightholders  will be available following the next sight, which is scheduled to take place March 31 to April 4 in Gaborone, Botswana.

The first sight for the new companies will be May 5 to 9, when the final intention to offer, or ITO, period of the current contract begins, he said. De Beers’ current sightholder contract period began in 2012 and extends through March 30, 2015.

The diamond miner and marketer announced in 2011 that, for the first time ever, it was modifying its sightholder system to allow non-sightholder companies that have been buying rough diamonds via its auction sales to apply for a sight in the middle of a contract period. These extra sights are dependent upon forecast rough diamond availability and the companies undergoing the same selection process as current sightholders.

Johnson confirmed that the addition of these five companies brings the total added by De Beers during the current contract period to 10.

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Almost exactly a year ago, in March 2013, De Beers announced the first mid-contract additions to its sightholder list. They were: Asian Star Co., H Dipak, HVK International, KP Sanghvi & Sons and Wing Hang Diamond Co.

De Beers’ next sightholder contract period will begin on March 31, 2015. The company will start accepting sight applications for it in the third quarter of 2014.

The new contract will involve a simplified allocation process but even more rigorous criteria for financial compliance, De Beers said. The dynamic ITO re-planning process will remain in place, meaning non-sightholder companies again will be able to apply for sights in the middle of the contract period.