gold, gold, gold, crypto coins, blockchain and diamonds

What happened, what may happen

For those interested in the yellow metal, the World Gold Council recently released two documents on the 2017 gold market events and on the outlook for 2018. We all now how forecasts work (I have just read and quote “if you have to forecast, forecast a lot“). Even so, the more you read and know, the better (provided you have a critical knowledgeable mind). The documents are available for download at WGC’s website or from here:

In another issue, a World Gold Council report states that:

  • Cryptocurrencies are no substitute for gold. In a summary of their report, WGC says”Bitcoin’s parabolic price rise was the big story of 2017 – putting the spotlight on the cryptocurrency market. While gold’s performance was a solid 13%, it was a fraction of the 13-fold increase of bitcoin by the end of the year.
    Some commentators went as far as to claim cryptocurrencies could replace gold. Cryptocurrencies may become an established part of the financial system. But, in our view, gold is very different from cryptocurrencies, as gold:

    • is less volatile
    • has a more liquid market
    • trades in an established regulatory framework
    • has a well understood role in an investment portfolio
    • has little overlap with cryptocurrencies on many sources of demand and supply. 

    These characteristics underpin gold’s role as a mainstream financial asset that will likely continue to resonate in today’s digital world.

Diamonds as an investment is no longer news; it’s been around since the oil crises of the seventies. There has been some evolution recently, related to the blockchain technology and crypto coins:

  • De Beers, has announced that “it is progressing development of the first blockchain technology initiative to span the diamond value chain and provide a single, tamper-proof and permanent digital record for every diamond registered on the platform.” Read more here, at IDEX.
  • The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) unveiled a new diamond-backed digital coin at IDWI (international Diamond Week in Israel). “The Israel Diamond Exchange and startup CARATS.IO have unveiled a new diamond-based crypto currency called CDC ( Diamond Currency), which they created together. The new coin was unveiled yesterday (Monday) at the International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI – February 5 – 7, 2018). The trade in the crypto currency will be based on a new index, presented yesterday for the first time, which will reflect the daily trends in the diamond trade at the IDE. The index will be updated daily on big LED screens, which will be set at the Trading Hall. The index will reflect diamond prices set according to 14 parameters for comparing diamond prices”. To know more, just read here, at IDE’s website.
    According to Founder and CEO Avishai Shoushan, CARATS.IO’s extensive ecosystem of products will elevate the entire diamond industry. CARATS.IO is creating two separate cryptocurrencies, each backed by diamonds purchased on the Israel Diamond Exchange. One coin, called CUT (Carat Utility Token), will be used specifically in B2B transactions between eligible diamond traders. This currency will enable safe peer-to-peer transactions, altogether eliminating the need for financial intermediaries. The second currency, called CARAT, is meant for the wider market of financial institutions and digital currency investors. Both currencies will be backed by diamonds, with a market cap coverage of 25 percent, significantly reducing their speculative level of investment.“, in previous news.

Lithium recovery from lepidolite

Electric cars and their batteries are on the top of the public agenda; Elon Musk’s high-profile Tesla (his company and his just-launched-into-space car) and the need to decarbonise the world’s economy have turned the public’s eye into the issue of lithium batteries, normally the realm of engineers and mining investors (how many of those in the general public know how batteries work and what are they made of?) .

Portugal is endowed in lithium, present in several minerals in the country’s pegmatite districts. Lepidolite (a pink mica – just follow the link for a nice lepidolite picture in this blog) is one of the lithium-containing minerals, until now mostly used in Portugal in special ceramics. Foreign junior miners have recently fired up a quest for lithium in Portuguese lithium-mineralised pegmatite deposits, contributing to an even higher high-profile in Portuguese media – also check the Portuguese Government’s task force report on lithium.

A team of Portuguese researchers from Instituto Superior Técnico and LNEG has just published an article on the “Optimization of an innovative approach involving mechanical activation and acid digestion for the extraction of lithium from lepidolite.” The team is composed by Nathália Viecel, Carlos A. Nogueira, Manuel F. C. Pereira, Fernando O. Durão, Carlos Guimarães and Fernanda Margarido.

The recovery of lithium from hard rock minerals has received increased attention given the high demand for this element. There- fore, this study optimized an innovative process, which does not require a high-temperature calcination step, for lithium extraction from lepidolite. Mechanical activation and acid digestion were suggested as crucial process parameters, and experimental design and response-surface methodology were applied to model and optimize the proposed lithium extraction process. The promoting effect of amorphization and the formation of lithium sulfate hydrate on lithium extraction yield were assessed. Several factor combinations led to extraction yields that exceeded 90%, indicating that the proposed process is an effective approach for lithium recovery.

International Journal of Minerals, Metallurgy and Materials
Volume 25, Number 1, January 2018

(Yes, some on the team are old colleagues and friends of mine; nonetheless, congrats on the work done).

CINZEL STONEWORKS, new Portuguese design in stone


CINZEL has just launched their maiden line of designed stone products in this year’s edition of MAISON&OBJET. In their own words, CINZEL is natural stone worked with passion into a young and bold design – A new brand intended for fun and beauty in furniture and decorative items.

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 12.16.00

CINZEL – Calçada product line

CINZEL’s first collection is inspired in the Portuguese ‘Calçada’ – street pavement made of irregular hand cut stone cubes, traditionally in a mix of black and white (cobblestone). It will be focused on interiors furniture and decorative objects.

The collection is inspired by ‘Calçada’ contrasts, namely:

  • Fragmentation vs. Continuity
  • Unity vs. Duality
  • Regular vs. Irregular

The color selection is also aligned with the Portuguese ‘Calçada’. Three Portuguese marble types were selected:

  • Ruivina (black),
  • Estremoz Branco (White) and
  • Pele de Tigre (white with grey veining).

CECILE MESTELANJOANA CONCEIÇÃO, MARIANA ESTEVES SERRA are the designers behind this collection and INÊS MARTINS of Mármores Central Porto de Mós, the project’s soul, four women in the forefront of Portuguese stone.


Isabel dos Santos exonerada da Presidência da SONANGOL

De acordo com notícias publicadas há minutos, Isabel dos Santos, filha do ex-Presidente de Angola, foi exonerada da Presidência da SONANGOL.

Isabel dos Santos é substituída no cargo por Carlos Saturnino, que ocupava o lugar de Secretário de Estado dos Petróleos no Governo Angolano.





One decade of ups and downs in rough and cut diamonds

Quarterly Zimnisky Rough Index.png


The last two decades have been a carrousel of emotions in the mining industry:

  • Oil and gold prices had steadily been growing since 2001. Oil spiked to maximum historical values in 2008 (and then crashed, to climb again for 3 consecutive years, plateau for 4 years, until mid 2014, crashing again, reaching nominal values of 2005, and recovering marginally since then).
  • Gold has had a more regular pattern, growing since to 2001 until 2011, maintaining a high plateau until the end of 2012, crashing until mid 2013, becoming relatively stable since then.
  • Polished diamonds have shown a much less volatile behaviour, with some ups in 2008 and 2011 (mimicking the markets’ general mood) but rapidly stabilising into a nominal stability (a slow real price decline).
  • Rough diamonds prices rose roughly 50% in nominal terms (as measured by the Zimnisky Rough Index) since 2007, a more subdued increase in real terms. The price increased in the 2009 – 2011 period, after which it stabilised until early 2015, after which it slowly declined until today.

Why are diamond prices less volatile than other mineral commodities’?
Why do rough and polished prices behave differently?
New deposits discovery and production capacity expansion seem increasingly difficult; why don’t diamond prices increase significantly in real terms?
Are there two different markets in diamonds?
What is the impact of new recovery technologies (XRT) in diamond markets?

Will discuss that in the next post. What is your opinion?

The oil and gold indices were calculated by just dividing the monthly gold average nominal price in US dollars by their price (nominal US dollars) in January 1980.

The Antwerp Diamond Index is a set of indices used to measure the price variation of five types of polished diamonds. The index is based on prices in US $ and gives the average price evolution on the Antwerp market of diamonds ranging in colour from exceptional white + to white and in clarity from LC to VS2:

  • 1 ct diamonds (1973 =100)
  • 1/2 ct diamonds (1973 =100)
  • A = Small Brilliant (1980 =100)
  • B = Melée (1980 =100)
  • C = 1/4 ct diamonds (1980 =100)

The Antwerp Diamond Index is maintained by the Diamond Office of The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). To know more about AWDC and the Diamond Office , just visit their website:

The Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index was created to consolidate rough diamond price information and publish current respective price changes of rough diamonds on a weekly basis in the form of an index.  The intent of the Index is to track, analyze, and disseminate current aggregate rough diamond price fluctuations for use by a range of diamond industry participants.

The proprietary index methodology primarily incorporates price data from rough diamond transactions in the primary market, e.g. sales via long-term contract, tender, and auction by commercial miners. The Index also includes a minor sensitivity to polished diamond prices, given that miners utilize the polished market as a factor when determining contract pricing of rough. In addition, the Index includes a minor sensitivity to stand-alone diamond mining equities, as the relative liquidity that equities provide can imply the current profitability and revenue generation ability of diamond miners, which is directly influenced by the current rough diamond market.

Given the nature of natural diamond production, the variance in quality of stones produced, or the product mix, can impact global rough diamond prices on an average price-per-carat basis. The Index strives to represent as accurately as possible current price changes reflected in the average rough diamond transaction valued on a per carat basis in U.S. dollars. The Index value does not directly represent the price of a 1-carat rough diamond, but the percentage change in the average value of a rough diamond transaction relative to the initial Index value, at a given point in time.

The Index is based on an initial value of 100 using data starting on April 4, 2004. The Index is updated on a weekly basis, typically on Saturday. Retroactive revisions to index data are made on a quarterly basis typically after public miners release official quarterly sales figures.
(adapted from

To know more about the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, or obtain Paul Zimnisky’s insight on the diamond markets, check


Segunda-feira, 16 de Outubro 2017
Instituto Superior Técnico
Museu Décio Tadeu – Pavilhão de Minas
das 1500 às 1700

Na data em que faz um século da criação da DIAMANG, temos uma oportunidade para:

  • Celebrar a DIAMANG e os diamantesPortugal e os PortuguesesAngola e os Angolanos e o projeto que desenvolveram no coração do continente africano;
  • Recordar a gesta anterior de Portugueses, Brasileiros e Africanos no princípio do século XVIII, senhores, homens livres ou escravos, que nos sertões brasileiros revolucionaram o mundo dos diamantes, imutável desde a Antiguidade; recordar a abertura de novos mundos e mercados no século XVI, com a descoberta pelos navegadores Portugueses da rota do Cabo, globalizando os diamantes e especiarias da Índia nos mercados europeus.
  • Celebrar uma comunidade de povos e nações que partilham língua, história e cultura nos quatro cantos do mundo.
  • Não esquecendo a História e a celebração do passado, sobretudo, construir pontes para o futuro, promovendo e desenvolvendo em Portugal, em Angola, no Brasil, o conhecimento e a investigação científica sobre os diamantes, as pedras e os minerais preciosos e os seus jazigos, por um lado, e sobre as culturas, povos, línguas e geografia de África, a América do Sul e a Ásia, por outro.

Programa de dia 16 de Outubro, já na segunda-feira

15:00 – Abertura: Prof. Luís Chambel e Prof. Manuel Francisco

Apresentação e discussão informal do programa das comemorações (a decorrer durante o próximo ano)
Visita guiada ao Museu Décio Tadeu e às coleções da DIAMANG e de Angola

15:45 – O diamante, Portugal, Brasil e Angola: uma viagem secular – Luís Chambel

16:30 – Discussão do programa de comemorações e da visita ao Museu (continuação)

Mais informações: mensagens para ou messenger (Facebook)


O que é?

Competição online desenhada para ajudar a mudar a percepção da indústria mineira.

Quem pode participar?

Equipas de (sugestão: três ou quatro) estudantes e profissionais da área


O prazo foi alargado até 15 de Novembro.

Para saber mais:
ou contactem-me em
ou vejam o vídeo

Mãos à obra.