Can De Beers Hold On To Its Hammerlock?

Russians have seen a lot of latter-day business prospectors from the West. But few have more at stake than De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd., the South African diamond colossus that controls some 80% of world sales. In early September, all of De Beers' top brass, led by its octogenarian patriarch, Harry F. Oppenheimer, fanned out across the republic, wooing officials. At ceremonies in Moscow to mark the opening of the company's first Russian office, Harry's son and De Beers Deputy Chairman Nicholas F. Oppenheimer toasted "the momentous event for De Beers."

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