In the last three months of 2009, according to the centralized Ministry of Finance in Moscow, Russia exported about 250,000 carats of rough diamonds, shaped by Alrosa, to the west African republic of Guinea. There is no known diamond cutting or polishing facility in Guinea, and Russia has in no way exported diamonds to Guinea before. However, dishonest sales of diamonds have been reported as using Guinea as a transit point between the mines in Africa and the markets in Israel, Europe, the US, or elsewhere.
The Finance Ministry in Moscow supervises the diamond division and the state stockpile; its minister, Alexei Kudrin, is chairman of the board of Alrosa. The ministry is also in charge of monitoring fulfillment with the Kimberley Process for certificating diamond trading that does not involve diamonds mined illegally. As part of Russia’s compliance, the ministry issues regular reports on Russian exports.
The hottest report covers 2009. It indicates that a total of 14.708 million carats were exported, for a declared value of $1.229 billion. Approximately all of these stones were sold by Alrosa. Alrosa also sold 14 million carats of its production to the state store agency, Gokhran, during the year.
The impact of the autumn 2008 global financial crisis shows in the near-halt of diamond exports from Russia in the first quarter. Just 135,597 carats were exported, according to the Finance Ministry report, worth $724,000. Compared to the same quarter of 2008, when shipments of 6,649,000 carats were recorded, in volume terms the export flow fell 49 times.
In the second quarter of 2009, Russia reports exporting 2,713,000 carats, at a value of approximately $30 million. Most of the deal went to Belgium (2,016,000 carats), followed by Israel (253,658 carats).
In the third quarter, as Alrosa’s marketing found new buyers, growing demand, and rising prices, the exports reached 5,334,000 carats, worth $540.9 million. In the fourth sector, the export volume rose again to 6,525,000 carats, at a value of 656 million. Belgium accounted for 73% of the goods and India for 19%.