Sourcing

De Beers’ Production Up 7% in 2022

SourcingFeb 06, 2023

De Beers’ Production Up 7% in 2022

The increase reflects continued demand for diamond jewelry and for “provenance-assured” goods.

20230206_Benguela Gem.jpg
The new Benguela Gem, which mines diamonds off the coast of Namibia, was a big reason the country’s diamond production increased 51 percent in Q4 and 46 percent year-over-year in 2022. Overall, De Beers Group recorded a 6 percent increase in production in the fourth quarter and a 7 percent increase for the year. (©De Beers Group/Photo credit: Ben Perry @ Armoury Films)
Gaborone, Botswana—Diamond production topped 34 million carats for De Beers Group in 2022, reflecting steady sales of diamond jewelry and continued restrictions on Russian goods fueling an increase in demand for De Beers’ diamonds. 
 
De Beers’ parent company, Anglo American, reported the diamond miner’s fourth-quarter and full-year results late last week.
 
In the fourth quarter, rough production rose 6 percent to 8.2 million carats recovered, up from 7.7 million carats in Q4 2021.  
 
For the full year, production was up 7 percent to 34.6 million carats from 32.3 million in 2021, topping De Beers’ revised mid-year forecast for the year by 600,000 carats.  

Among the four countries in which De Beers operates—Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Canada—Namibia posted the sharpest increase in production, rising 51 percent in Q4 and 46 percent for the full year to 2.1 million carats recovered. 
 
The company attributed the sharp fourth-quarter increase to the addition of the $420 million “Benguela Gem,” the new marine mining vessel that launched in March 2022, and the treatment of higher-grade ore at the country’s land operations.   

Production in Botswana was up 11 percent in the fourth quarter—driven primarily by strong plant performance at Jwaneng—and 8 percent for the year to 24.1 million carats.
 
In Canada, production increased 7 percent in the fourth quarter, due mostly to the treatment of higher-grade ore, but was down 11 percent for the year to 2.8 million carats.  
 
Production in South Africa, meanwhile, fell 27 percent in Q4 compared to Q3, but was up 4 percent for the full year at 5.5 million carats. 
 
De Bees’ only remaining mine in South Africa, Venetia, is in the process of transitioning from an open pit to an underground operation. 
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
In the fourth quarter, retailers were more cautious about restocking due to economic uncertainty, which drove down wholesale polished diamond prices. 
 
De Beers’ rough diamond sales were down slightly year-over-year in Q4.
 
They totaled 7.3 million carats from two sights in Q4 2022, compared with 7.7 million carats from three sights in Q4 2021, and 9.1 million carats from three sights in the third quarter 2022. 
 
The consolidated average realized price was up 35 percent for the year to $197/carat vs. $146/carat in 2021 due to rising rough prices and De Beers selling more high-value rough in the first half of the year.
 
“The increase in the rough price index reflected overall positive consumer demand for diamond jewelry and was supported by De Beers’ proposition of provenance-assured diamonds,” the company said. 
 
In 2023, De Beers expects diamond production to be down slightly, setting its guidance at 30 million-33 million carats.

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