target rock

Firestone Diamonds smashes expectations with first sale

Fledgling diamond miner Firestone has promised more riches are in store after beating expectations for its first ever sale of gemstones from Lesotho.

Aim-listed Firestone, which specialises in rare yellow diamonds from the landlocked southern African country, raised $8.14m (£6.5m) at a sales tender in Antwerp last week.

The miner began production last October, and will pursue an “aggressive” six-month ramp-up, according to chief executive Mr Brown, moving into higher-quality ore that should mean even bigger diamonds.

Despite deliberately targeting lower-grade rocks for its first production run, Firestone still turned up one diamond that sold for more than $1m in its first tender.

The sales process attracted 90 bidders, with 38 making purchases.

Firestone Diamonds’ plant in Lesotho 

Mr Brown said his management team’s experience in the industry helped it deliver an “outstanding result” in its first tender. “We understand the market, we know who to sell to and who to speak to, and we ignore all the noise and hype,” he said.

After a tough couple of years, the diamond market is showing signs of growth, with industry leader De Beers recently reporting strong sales numbers.

Mr Brown - a former De Beers chief executive and CFO, who took the helm of Firestone in 2013 and steered it through a refinancing - said the diamond market had enjoyed “a better start to 2017 than we could have hoped for”.

Firestone is 25pc owned by the Lesotho government, which has been trying to capitalise on the country’s natural diamond wealth. It is home to the world’s most valuable diamond mine on a price per-carat basis - the Letseng mine, run by London-listed Gem Diamonds.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said: “The first sale of white and yellow goods from the new Liqhobong mine can be viewed as a success with all of the 75,936 carats that were offered for sale being sold.“

Mirabaud analysts added: “We view this initial sale as very strong, and well ahead (by 20-30pc) of our expectations at this point. In particular we are highly encouraged to see the presence of a $1m stone so early in the project’s life.”


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Jude Law's security team was attacked and mugged by migrants when the cameras stopped after the Hollywood star left the jungle camp in Calais
  • Jude Law visited ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais last week with other stars
  • He was filmed as he called for action to save refugee children from eviction
  • But his security staff were reportedly mugged after cameras stopped
  • Understood to have had their phones stolen by rock-throwing migrants

By Stephanie Linning for MailOnline

Security guards hired to protect Jude Law when he visited the 'Jungle’ migrant camp were reportedly targeted by rock-pelting migrants just moments after the actor boarded the coach home.

The star made the journey to northern France last week to highlight the plight of child refugees who are being evicted under a move by French authorities to demolish the southern part of the camp.

He was joined by singer Tom Odell and a film crew, who captured him on camera as he urged David Cameron to let the hundreds of children at the camp come to the UK.

Aggressive: One member of the group said the migrants were acting like 'football hooligans’. Pictured migrants wait for clothes to be handed out at the camp on Thursday, when the evictions began

But moments after the celebrities had boarded the production team coach back to Britain, their security team was ambushed, according to the Sunday People.

The attackers reportedly hurled stones at the men before stealing their mobile phones.

A source told the newspaper: 'We were shocked to see some of the migrants acting like football hooligans. The security team had stones thrown at them and two had phones smashed and stolen.’