• February 21st, 2020

De Beers rough diamond production down 14%

WINDHOEK – In a half-year production report released last week, De Beers revealed that its rough 
diamond production decreased by 14 percent to 7.7 million carats driven by reductions in Botswana (Debswana) and South Africa (DBCM). 

As a result, the diamond-mining giant has revised production downwards to about 31 million carats, in response to weaker trading conditions.

Debswana’s production decreased by nine percent to 5.7 million carats. This was driven by a decrease at Orapa of 23 percent to 2.5 million carats following a planned plant shut down brought forward from H2 2019, which impacted production in late Q1 and early Q2. Production at Jwaneng increased by seven percent to 3.2 million carats, driven by an increase in tonnes treated. 

Namibia (Namdeb Holdings) production decreased by 35 percent to 0.3 million carats, driven by Elizabeth Bay transitioning to care and maintenance in Q4 2018 and planned maintenance for the Mafuta crawler vessel.

DBCM’s production decreased by 44 percent to 0.6 million carats due to lower mined volumes at Venetia, as it approaches the transition from open pit to underground mining. In addition, Voorspoed stopped production after it was placed on care and maintenance in Q4 2018 in preparation for closure. 
Canada production decreased by nine percent to 1.1 million carats due to planned lower grades at Gahcho Kué. Victor production decreased by four percent to 0.2 million carats as it reached the end of its life during Q2 2019.

Rough diamond sales were 9 million carats (8.3 million carats on a consolidated basis) from three sales cycles compared with 10.0 million carats (9.4 million carats on a consolidated basis) from the same number of sales cycles in Q2 2018. Demand for rough diamonds remains subdued as a result of challenges in the midstream with higher polished inventories, and caution due to macro-economic uncertainty, including the US-China trade tensions. 

The first half of 2019 average realised rough diamond price decreased by seven percent to US$151/carat (H1 2018: US$162/carat), which was driven by a four percent reduction in the average rough price index and a change in the sales mix in response to weaker conditions.

Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between the Namibian government and the De Beers Group, recently approved the construction of the world’s first custom-built diamond recovery vessel.
The new vessel is expected to cost N$7 billion and represents the largest single investment in the marine diamond industry.

The ship will become the seventh vessel in the Debmarine Namibia fleet and is scheduled to commence operations in 2022. On completion, the vessel is expected to add 500 000 carats annually to Debmarine Namibia’s production, an increase of approximately 35 percent on current production.

Following an extensive global tendering process, Damen Shipyards were selected to build the ship based on their strong track record for delivering quality vessels and their advanced technological capabilities. The new vessel will incorporate the latest marine technologies that will drive improved safety performance while optimising efficiency and utilisation rates.

Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy, commented at the time: “We note and appreciate the investment announced by Debmarine Namibia. It is through investments like this we can continue to develop Namibia’s economy. As Government, we will continue to do what we can to promote and encourage investment in the mining sector.” Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, said: “Some of the highest quality diamonds in the world are found at sea off the Namibian coast. With this investment, we will be able to optimise new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand across the globe.”

The new vessel is expected to create more than 160 new jobs alongside Debmarine Namibia’s current workforce of 975 employees.

Staff Reporter
2019-07-22 11:13:48 | 6 months ago

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