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Industry News: WJA Names Awards Nominees; New Diamond Mining Ship Launched; Gold Production Falls June 21, 2017 (0 comments)


WJA Names 2017 Awards for Excellence Nominees; Deadline For Edelstein Memorial Honors Is Friday

New York, NY—The Women's Jewelry Association has announced its nominees for the association's annual Awards for Excellence, to be presented at its gala dinner July 24 at Pier Sixty in New York City.

WJA’s Awards For Excellence are given to female professionals in the jewelry and/or watch industries who have demonstrated significant achievements throughout their careers. Categories include design; manufacturer, dealer, supplier; merchandising and product development; business services; large-scale, independent, and open-format retail; marketing and communications; and editorial media. 

Along with announcing the WJA Awards for Excellence winners, the gala also celebrates three WJA Hall of Fame honorees, announced earlier this year. They are: Cecilia Gardner, president, CEO, and general counsel of Jewelers Vigilance Committee, who will receive the WJA Lifetime Achievement Award; Michael Pollak (left), CEO of Hyde Park Jewelers, who will receive the Ben Kaiser Award; and Day's Jewelers, which will receive the WJA Corporate Award.

This year, the individual awards categories were reviewed and redefined through a committee led by WJA Awards and Ballots chair Jennifer Heebner. "An eligible nominee must have a reputation for integrity, honesty, high ethical standards, and credibility and she also must devote time and effort to help women in the jewelry industry excel," says Heebner. Nominations were submitted by WJA members and industry professionals through an electronic nominations process open to all and the committee, consisting of past winners of the awards, selected the final nominees in each category. They will vote in a secret online ballot for the winners, to be revealed at the dinner.

The gala, with its famed silent auction, raises money for scholarships and grants to deserving women entering or working in the jewelry industry. Last year’s gala raised $40,000; the organization hopes to top that this year, said WJA executive director Bernadette Mack.

The 2017 Awards For Excellence nominees are:

Separately, June 23 is the deadline to nominate a mentor in memory of Cindy Edelstein, and to apply for the Cindy Edelstein Jewelry Design Scholarship. Edelstein, who died in early 2016, was renowned for her dedication to the development, encouragement, and enrichment of the talents and lives of designers and women in the industry. The award in her memory will be presented at the gala to a candidate who exhibits the qualities that Cindy possessed: generosity of time and talent for the benefit of others without the expectation of personal or financial gain. Nominate a mentor here . Apply for the design scholarship here, and click here for more information about the gala and to purchase tickets.


Advanced Diamond Exploration Vessel Reports For Duty In Namibia

Walvis Bay, Namibia—The mv SS Nujoma, billed as the world’s largest and most advanced diamond exploration and sampling vessel, is ready to start exploring for diamond deposits in Namibian waters following its official inauguration earlier this week. 

The US $157 million (N$2.3 billion) vessel will enable Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers Group, to explore diamond deposits and secure diamond supply in the country well into the future. Debmarine Namibia is the only company in the world to mine diamonds offshore, having started in 2002. The company produced around 1.2 million carats in 2016. 

Mining of Namibia’s diamonds takes place at around 120 to 140 meters below sea level. Through its advanced exploration capabilities, the mv SS Nujoma will enable Debmarine Namibia to increase resource development for the mining fleet. The first in the company’s fleet of five other vessels to be dedicated to exploration and sampling, it incorporates a range of unique technologies that allow it to sample faster, take larger samples, and collect more information per sample than any other diamond sampling vessel. It is capable of sampling at more than double the speed of its predecessor.

The 12,000 ton, diesel/electric-powered vessel has created 140 direct new jobs, the vast majority of which have been filled by Namibians. At 113 meters long, it can accommodate a crew of 80 and has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s. It was constructed in Ulsteinvik, Norway, and fitted with its subsea sampling system, designed by De Beers Group, in Cape Town, South Africa.

The inauguration ceremony follows five months of successful sea trials. Attending were dignitaries from both the Namibian government and De Beers, as diamond mining is the single biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy. The partnership between De Beers Group and the Namibian Government delivers more than N$10 billion in revenue annually.


Gold Mine Production Growth Grinds To Halt

London, United Kingdom—Following eight years of uninterrupted gains, growth in global gold mine production looks set to end in 2017, says a new report from Metals Focus. Since 2008, the annual supply of new gold (as opposed to recycled material) has grown by around 800 tons/year (25.7 million ounces/year), an increase of about 30%. This growth has been driven by the rise of China, Russia, and Mexico as major gold producers, new mine startups across Africa (outside of South Africa) and a recovery in more mature mining jurisdictions like Canada and Australia.

But gold mine supply declined by 0.4% year on year in Q1 2017, as a sharp decline in China, the world’s largest gold producer, offset some weighty additions from the project pipeline. Chinese output fell about 10% year on year in the first quarter. The drop is partly attributed to an extended New Year holiday at some mining and refining companies but, more significantly, the introduction of stricter environmental regulations that drove  a number of more marginal operations to close.

The average global all-in sustaining production cost of gold rose in Q1 2017, up 4% from Q4 2016 and 8% year-on-year. This was driven by a recovery in some key producer currencies (most notably the South African rand), the general pickup in the commodities sector and an increase in sustaining capital expenditure as the industry looks to adequately reinvest following a period of austerity. But with gold prices expected to rise through the remainder of 2017, Metals Focus analysts expect margins to increase despite cost inflation. 

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