London, May 18, 2007 AEST (ABN Newswire) - RBC Capital Markets, the corporate and investment banking arm of Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE), yesterday held its inaugural diamond conference in London. The conference brought together senior executives from industry-leading exploration and mining companies including De Beers, Aber Diamonds (owner of Harry Winston), Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) and Petra Diamonds (ASX: PDL). In addition, the conference welcomed new mid-cap firms and a number of fast, emerging juniors.

Opening the conference, Patrick Meier, Managing Director, Global Investment Banking at RBC Capital Markets said: "RBC Capital Markets attempts to identify new investment trends ahead of time, and we believe market interest in diamonds will justify our renewed focus. Investment in the diamond industry is currently driven by demand for jewellery in the US and the new markets of India and China, and the market is estimated to grow in excess of 5% in the foreseeable future.

"Other factors have also contributed to this strong demand including supply shortage, the need for further exploration and the potential threat from synthetics. RBC Capital Markets is proud to host this conference at such an exciting time for the diamond market and is dedicated to taking a leading role in the global mining industry for many years to come."

Stuart Brown, CFO, De Beers Group commented on the company's extensive marketing campaign: "Marketing spend in the past year reached $220m, primarily focused on the generic market. This has proved to be a very successful strategy for both De Beers and the diamond industry as a whole; however, we are hoping to increase the proportion of marketing budget dedicated to our proprietary diamonds in the future."

Also speaking were Bob Gannicott and Thomas O'Neill from Aber Diamonds, owner of Harry Winston. "Aber takes a different approach to the diamond value-chain, driving synergies by having exposure to the most profitable, and opposite ends of the industry - mining and retailing. This innovative strategy has been proven through the ownership of Harry Winston, the premier diamond jewellery and watch retailer. The brand's continuing success, and exclusive appeal to the market's most affluent customers, is further demonstrated by a selective expansion programme planned for the coming years."

Adonis Pouroulis, Chairman of Petra Diamonds, a leading diamond mining group with its activities focused on Africa, updated the conference on the company's future ambitions. He commented: "Petra could see its output increase materially over the next five years as its kimberlite exploration activities in Angola and Botswana progress. In addition, on the basis of our existing four mines in South Africa, expected production growth is in the region of at least 300,000 carats between now and 2010.

"Petra is also very excited about its future following the acquisition of Calibrated in November 2006. This acquisition means we are the only mid-tier diamond producer who undertakes cutting and polishing of our own diamonds, creating an enormous value-add for the company. "

Other speakers sharing insights at the conference were Keith Johnson, CEO, Diamonds of Rio Tinto and Alberto Calderon, President. Diamonds and Specialty Products of BHP Billiton.

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