Sourcing

De Beers Production Declines 23 Percent in Q3

SourcingOct 26, 2023

De Beers Production Declines 23 Percent in Q3

The company attributed the drop to the ongoing transition at Venetia and planned maintenance at its diamond mines in Botswana.

Stock image of trucks at De Beers’ Orapa diamond mine in Botswana.
De Beers Group’s production dropped off more than 20 percent in the third quarter, including a 21 percent decline in output at the Orapa (pictured ) and Letlhakane mines. (©De Beers Group/Photo credit: Ben Perry @ Armoury Films)
London—De Beers Group recorded a 23 percent drop in production in the third quarter, though the company said its production target for the full year remains unchanged. 
 
The company mined 7.4 million carats of diamonds in Q3, a 23 percent year-over-year decrease.  
 
The biggest decline came from the Venetia mine in South Africa, where production fell 78 percent year-over-year to 365,000 carats as the mine continues its transition from an open-pit to an underground operation.  
 
Venetia will continue to process lower-grade surface stockpiles over the next few years as it waits for underground operations to start up, De Beers said.  
 
Production also was down in Botswana, De Beers’ top producing country, due to planned maintenance.  
 
Output fell 12 percent to 5.8 million carats, with production declining 21 percent at the Orapa mines (Orapa, Letlhakane, and the mothballed Damtshaa) and 5 percent at Jwaneng. 
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
In Canada, production at the Gahcho Kué mine totaled 676,000 carats, a decline of 9 percent year-over-year, a drop attributable to planned treatment of lower-grade ore.  
 
Production in Namibia was flat at 530,000 carats, with output at both Debmarine Namibia and the country’s land operations holding steady.  
 
Despite the decline, De Beers said its production guidance for 2023 remains unchanged at 30-33 million carats, as does its unit cost guidance ($75/carat).  
 
The drop-off in production in the third quarter came amid a slowdown in rough diamond sales; in September, De Beers recorded its lowest total for a sales cycle since the peak of the pandemic in mid-2020.  
 
During the quarter, the company held three sights totaling 7.4 million carats in sales, compared with sales of 9.1 million carats from three sights in Q3 2022, and 7.6 million carats from two sights in Q2 2023.   
 
De Beers reiterated what it said earlier this month—it will allow sightholders to buy as little or as much as they need in the final two sights of the year to help re-establish the supply-demand balance in the mid-stream.  

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