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Diamond producers , both big and small, are investing billions of rand in acquisitio­ns and mine extensions.

This is an exception to general trends in the mining industry, where most companies are cutting spending on new projects. Diamond companies are taking a long-term view that diamonds will become scarcer as fewer large discoverie­s are being made. That justifies making a start on big projects that will take years to deliver.

In the short term, global sales of diamonds to consumers have been disappoint­ing. Diamond analysts Rapaport’s RapNet index for one-carat polished stones fell 8,7% last year compared with 2013.

But the diamond pipeline, which refers to the lengthy process of cutting rough stones, polishing and setting them to sell in diamond jewellery, is seasonal, reflecting internal issues like inventory levels and liquidity among diamond traders and

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