Sourcing

Venetia Transition a Drag on De Beers’ Q2 Production

SourcingJul 21, 2023

Venetia Transition a Drag on De Beers’ Q2 Production

The company recovered 7.6 million carats in the second quarter, compared with 7.9 million in the same period last year.

Sunset shot of De Beers Venetia diamond mine in South Africa
A sunset shot of Venetia, a De Beers diamond mine in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. De Beers’ diamond production slipped 5 percent in the second quarter due mainly to a massive drop in production at Venetia, which is in a transition period. (©De Beers Group/Photo credit: Ben Perry @ Armoury Films)
London—Production slipped 5 percent year-over-year to 7.6 million carats in the second quarter for De Beers Group, dragged down by the company’s sole mine in South Africa.

Venetia ended open-pit operations in December 2022 and currently is processing lower-grade stockpiles while it transitions to underground mining.

According to figures released Thursday by De Beers’ parent company Anglo American, Venetia’s second-quarter production totaled 466,000 carats, down 62 percent from 1.2 million in the prior-year period, when the pit was still active.

Production is down 37 percent from 739,000 carats in Q1.

In the three other countries where De Beers mines—Botswana, Canada and Namibia—production rose by single-digit percentages in the second quarter.

In Botswana, the country responsible for roughly 75 percent of De Beers’ total diamond production, carats recovered increased 6 percent year-over-year to 5.8 million.

It attributed the increase to planned treatment of higher-grade ore at Orapa, though that was partially offset by lower throughput at Jwaneng due to planned maintenance.

De Beers and the government of Botswana recently reached an agreement in principle on a new contract for rough diamond sales as well as for mining licenses in the country. These agreements extend through 2033 and 2054, respectively.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Gahcho Kué in Canada produced 683,000 carats for De Beers in Q2 compared with 643,000 carats in the prior-year period, a 6 percent increase due to the treatment of higher-grade ore despite planned plant maintenance. 

In Namibia, production was up 8 percent to 612,000 carats as De Beers continues to ramp up land mining operations there. 

Year-to-date, De Beers’ diamond production has totaled 16.5 million, just a 2 percent difference from last year at this time (16.9 million carats). 

Looking at the diamond market as a whole, the company said consumer demand for diamond jewelry dipped in the second quarter, impacting both rough diamond demand and prices. 

In Q2 2023, rough diamond sales totaled 7.6 million carats from two sights, down from 9.4 million carats from three sights in the second quarter of 2022 and 9.7 million carats from three sights in the first quarter. 

The consolidated average realized price for De Beers’ rough diamonds declined 23 percent in the first half of the year to $163 per carat, compared with $213 per carat in the first half of last year. 

De Beers said it sold more lower-value rough in the first half of the year, as sightholders are being cautious because they are unsure where the economy is going. 

The average rough price index was down 2 percent, reflecting the slowdown in consumer demand and a build-up of inventory in the midstream.

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