Alrosa Looks to Expand Foothold in Stabilized Diamond Market

The world’s largest diamond miner by output, Russia’s Alrosa, is targeting new opportunities in gem cutting at a time when the market is showing signs of starting to stabilize, Mining Weekly reports.

According to CEO Sergey Ivanov, the company, which typically hasn’t promoted stones outside Russia, contributed $25 million to the Diamond Producers Association for marketing last year and may increase sponsorship in 2018. Alrosa also plans to focus more on cutting premium stones and has considered buying Russia’s top polisher if it gets privatized.

Аfter 37-year-old Ivanov became CEO a year ago, Alrosa has is gradually changing its business and leaving its traditional policy on focusing on rough-diamond mining. One of the rare steps it has taken in the past year includes traveling the world to promote the auction of five gems cut from a giant diamond. While the industry has struggled with stagnant consumer demand, the market benefited from a stronger-than-expected end to 2017.

“DPA basically started to work at the end of the fourth quarter,” and this was in time for Christmas sales, Ivanov said in an interview in Moscow, referring to the association it established with De Beers and other miners in 2015. “The first-quarter sales were very good.”

That helped Alrosa reduce its 18-million carats of inventories by 30% from the start of the year to a seven-year low, as well as raising average prices by several percent, the CEO said.

Ivanov added that the company is testing technology to mark its gems and may join De Beers’ project to use blockchain to track them as well as looking at other similar projects.

Russian tourists spend a lot on diamonds abroad and with the right marketing those sales may support domestic cutters, he said.