Last month MARCH 2013 I made press release about government intervention and how opal prices will increase
Copy of thepress release below
I will go out on a limb and state that now we have many factors effecting opals at present and I do expect a price increase in some sectors
MAY 2013 update
Record sales on Opalauctions for April and May 2013-appro 5,000 opals sold and shipped over these two months on June 22 2013 we reaches totals ales on our site of 350,000 gems and opals-
Congratulations to all our verified sellers
Demand is strong for Black opals price range $500 to $3000
Production is still slow and demand stronger than production with many buyers trying source opal at lightning Ridge-strong demand is increasing prices
Boulder opal has strong sales $300 to $600
production has been steady with demand for good quality yowah opals.
Ethiopian Opals are over 50% sales on Opalauctions as deadline approaches on May 31st
Demand has been strong and we expect prices will continue to increase.
Already we are hearing reports of huge price increases in USA at trade shows.
Even a Gemshow in China in May reported the average selling price of Ethiopian opals asking price was $150 per carat.
We expect prices to continue to increase.
A year ago our opal and gemstone sites had roughly the same quantity of around 62,000 items .
In a year we have seen Gemstones listings increase to over 69,000 listings and opals site has fallen back to just under 60,000 listings
Basically more opals are sold each month than listed
Last month over 3030 opal sold but only 2200 listed
this trend I expect to continue.
The Lighting Ridge Miners association says mining operations in the town are receding.
10 years ago there were around 5,000 to 6,000 mining titles but now it is down to some 3,000
Many opal miners have stopped prospecting as too many uncertainties in the opal industry.
The ABC- Australian broadcasting Commission has done several articles about Australia’s Historic Opal industry dying off.
On top of these government regulations, many opal miners have now gone to work in the booming resources industry where the average wage starts at $100,000
Even reports drivers can earn $250,000 per annum on outback mines.
This pressure will also effect opal mining long term , with young people not opal mining and working in the resources sector
The farming industry also has the same problem in that young farmers are leaving the land and average age of farmer is now 52 years old.
At a guess the average opal miner is around 60 years age .
Mining cost and government policies for black opals is now curtailing the opal industry .
Less opal miners obviously will result in less opal.
Chinese buyers are now buying black opal ,mostly rough and medium quality at this stage
and this new market will absorb the already limited supply.
Russian buyers have also been active.
Not many Lower grade black opals ,under $50.00 are listed these days ,as rough is to expensive.
Older black opal listings are now selling but cannot be replaced for prices sold.
Top red fire black opals have always been in demand and will continue to do so.
The days of cheap black opals are disappearing fast and when old stocks sold they will not be replaced.
No Opal or Gemstone wholesales carry large stocks black opals
On trips to Asia ,Europe ,USA you will always find good stocks cooper Pedy or Boulder opal but rare to find black opals !
Consider buying a quality black opal now .
Prices are stable at present but market is manipulated by government policies to ban rough exports at end may 2013 and Indian cutters who have large stocks and are trying to inflate prices.
Already many re sellers are buying Ethiopian opals from our site and commenting how expensive these opals are at opals shows in USA.
80% of Ethiopian opals are now cut in India and obvious market manipulation is being played out right now
How can opals be cut in Ethiopia ?
It will take years to build an industry not months
Chinese buyers will add stress to rough sales so one can only imagine how much will be smuggled out of Ethiopia?
Today is good time to buy opals with unique patterns like honey comb ,snake pattern etc.
Boulder opals have had strong sales in last three months.
especially Yowah opal with interesting patterns an colours.
Out of all the major opals fields ,the Boulder opal is the most consistent in supply and steady sales.
Production has been stable but not a s good as in past and full faced opals represent good buying at todays prices.
8th march 2013
QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA, March 25, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/—Opal prices are set to escalate due to government polices of the two major opal exporting countries. “Both Australian and Ethiopian governments are interfering with the Opal industry at the same time,” according to Wayne Sedawie founder of OpalAuctions. Ethiopian Government is set to Ban exports of Opal rough whilst the new Australian Government policies for Miners will make opal mining expenses prohibitive for most miners. Ethiopia Opal Rough Ethiopia will ban sales of rough opal from May 31st 2013. Opal exports for Ethiopia now match their gold exports. 80% of the rough opal is now exported and cut in India. Ethiopia does not have the gem cutting capacities and will takes years to train good cutters. As an example of the Ethiopian opal industry, from 52 members of the association only 6 have opal cutting equipment. The Ethiopian government now taxes up to US$1500 per kilo for good quality rough, they have always taxed opals but now they also want to start a cutting industry to add value. This policy shift will increase price large quality opals. Australian Opals Opal miners at Lightning Ridge have been king hit with government policies that will make opal mining very expensive. This could be a death blow to the black opal industry. Mining costs levies, security deposits, landowner compensation, infrastructure levels, rehabilitation costs and now the government wants to introduce a sunset clause for miners working at the site. Mining claims have already jumped from $435 last year to $1230. The days of the romantic opal miner are now gone as it’s now currently an expensive operation to run a opal mine. Many small operators will leave due to costs and government policies. Plus the fact that opal mining is not a science and it is hard to find the rare opal. Already there is a shortage of good quality opals, as many miners are keeping stocks for themselves. Opal prices are set to escalate as demand will outstrip supply. Black opals and Ethiopian opals of large size and pattern will become more and more rarer, so now is an opportunity to invest in a quality opal, as it will most probably decrease production and keep decreasing over the next few years. Now is the right time to buy opals.
The Wall street Journal article
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Update October 2016
Prices have been steadily increasing since this report in 2013 and prices have increased as predicted.
There have been many factors effecting the prices of opal
Chinese buying started to push prices up in 2013 but this boom had ended with Chinese buyers paying more moderate prices.
But they still have good demand for N1 black opals and clean crystal opals.
Since 2013 Lightning Ridge has had moderate weather but 2016 we have experienced more floods
But when it rains in these desert places, dry river beds are flooded and the water slowly moves so that even after the rain stops the areas are flooded for weeks or months
And mines are full water so needs to be pumped out, and many mines have not been able to work for the last two months
Boulder opal fields have also experienced same floods and mines are flooded
South Australia has also had a once in century storm and the state has blackouts and also production has been down
Opal production has been down for 2016 considerable so its been hard to find volume parcels Australian opals from any opal fields
On top of this has been court cases and the Lighting ridge miner’s association has lost court cases and this will also hold back more opal mining ventures
Ethiopian opals have had sharp drop due once again to government intervention
Buyers now have to buy cut stones as well as rough and this is not practice, so many have had to smuggle Ethiopian rough opal and quality has been lower than previous years.
Supply and demand means opal prices will keep increasing for quality opals.