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BY PORTIA NKANI
Diamond miner – Lucara Diamonds seems to be on the right path to augment the current physical auctions of diamonds with an online platform.
The Canadian diamond mining company which operates its Botswana’s Karowe mine in Letlhakane has since launched an online diamond auctioning platform dubbed CLARA.
Lucara Managing Director in the Botswana office - Naseem Lahri says CLARA uses a proprietary analytics, with the latest cloud and blockchain technologies to sell rough diamonds individually, based on polished characteristics and demand, transforming the sales process, driving efficiencies and unlocking value for diamond producers and manufacturers alike.
“Clara is integrated with blockchain technology, so every rough diamond is tracked with a secure and immutable record of its origins and ownership, providing peace of mind for consumers”, says Lahri.
Lucara Diamond’s CLARA was launched and went live at the end of 2018. It is expected to complete four scheduled sales to eight manufacturers this year (2019). CLARA incorporates blockchain technology, which is seen as a promising avenue for an industry that has been plagued by ethical problems, including the trade in so-called blood diamonds.
Unlike traditional in-person tenders, where manufacturers bid on assortments of similar diamonds from producers, CLARA allows manufacturers to place detailed orders. They are matched to stones in the system, with Lucara earning the difference between the bids and ask prices.
The company says its first sale in January 2019 generated revenue of $660 865. The Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) diamond mining company aims to sign up at least one producer this year, and will begin continuous sales once the system is fine-tuned.
“We envisage a world where people buy diamonds from all over the world sitting at their desk.” Lahri said.
Meanwhile the online platform is not expected to completely replace traditional tenders, which Lucara itself uses to sell diamonds under 1 carat and over 15 carat.
The company however admits that market dynamics are very different to 20 years ago and millennials are expected to be America’s largest generation by 2019.