Sourcing

De Beers to Mine More Diamonds This Year Than Originally Planned

SourcingJul 26, 2022

De Beers to Mine More Diamonds This Year Than Originally Planned

The company upped its 2022 production guidance despite warning of a potential slowdown in diamond jewelry sales. Here’s why.

2021_De Beers rough Kimberley.jpg
De Beers Group now plans to mine up to 34 million carats of rough diamonds in 2022 due to ongoing sanctions on Alrosa and continued development of tools like its Tracr blockchain platform. (©De Beers Group/Photo credit: Ben Perry @ Armoury Films)
London—De Beers Group is increasing is 2022 production guidance, citing the ongoing sanctions against Russia and continued development of provenance platforms like Tracr, which it says can track diamonds from mine to market.  
 
In reporting its second-quarter production results last Thursday, De Beers said it is increasing its 2022 guidance to 32-34 million carats, up from 30-33 million carats. 
 
“While consumer demand for natural diamonds continued to be robust in the first half, a deterioration of global macro-economic conditions and reduced consumer spending could impact demand for diamond jewelry,” the company said. 
 
“Despite this, the combination of ongoing sanctions against Russia, decisions from a number of U.S.-based jewelry businesses to apply their own restrictions on purchases of Russian diamonds, and continued development of provenance initiatives has the potential to underpin continued demand for De Beers’ rough diamonds.” 
 
De Beers said rough diamond sales totaled 9.4 million carats from three sights in the second quarter, up from 7.3 million from two sights in Q2 2021 and 7.9 million from two sights in Q1 2022. 
 
Diamond prices also continue to rise.
 
De Beers’ average realized price has increased 58 percent in the first half of the year to $213/carat (H1 2021: $135/carat). 
 
The rough diamond price index is up 28 percent, reflecting consumer demand as well as tight supply across the value chain. 
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
While De Beers aims to increase production for 2022, treatment of lower-grade ore at its operations in Botswana and Canada led to a dip in Q2. 
 
The company’s rough diamond production was down 4 percent year-over-year to 7.9 million carats compared with 8.2 million carats in Q2 2021.
 
In Botswana, production slipped 4 percent to 5.5 million carats due to the processing of lower-grade ore at both the Jwaneng and Orapa mines. 
 
Production was also down 4 percent in South Africa and fell 28 percent in Canada to 643,000 carats due to the treatment of lower-grade ore, unscheduled plant maintenance and COVID-related absenteeism. 
 
Namibia was the only country to report an increase in production, with recovery climbing 68 percent to 565,000 carats due primarily to the performance of the Benguela Gem, the new marine mining vessel that launched in the first quarter.

Year-to-date, De Beers’ production is up 10 percent, totaling 16.9 million carats compared with 15.4 million at the same time last year. 
 

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