Sourcing

De Beers’ Production Down 8% in 2023

SourcingFeb 15, 2024

De Beers’ Production Down 8% in 2023

The company recovered 31.9 million carats of diamonds in 2023, compared with 34.6 million in 2022.

De Beers Venetia diamond mine
An underground mine shaft at De Beers’ Venetia diamond mine in South Africa. Venetia is in the process of transitioning to an underground operation so production is down significantly year-over-year. (©De Beers Group/Photo credit: Ben Perry @ Armoury Films)
London—Production fell 8 percent year-over-year in 2023 for De Beers Group as demand for rough diamonds dropped considerably and its one remaining mine in South Africa, Venetia, remains under construction.

According to the company’s fourth-quarter and year-end production report published last week, it recovered a total of 31.9 million carats of diamonds in 2023, compared with 34.6 million in 2022.

The nearly 32 million carats De Beers mined was in line with its guidance for the year, 30 million-33 million carats.

The biggest drag on De Beers’ production continues to be Venetia, where production was down 64 percent to 2 million carats.

Open-pit operations at the mine ceased in December 2022, and De Beers is now just processing lower-grade surface stockpiles while construction on the new underground portion of the mine continues.

The company said in July that it had recovered the first diamonds from the mine’s $2.2 billion underground expansion, and the project was now about 70 percent complete. 

The two underground ore bodies at Venetia are expected to produce a combined 4.5 million-5.5 million carats of diamonds a year, making it a significant source of diamonds. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

In Botswana—the country that produces 77 percent of De Beers’ diamonds—production ticked up 2 percent in 2023 to 24.7 million carats. 

Production was up 9 percent year-over-year in Namibia to 2.3 million carats, and essentially was flat at 2.8 million carats in Canada, where De Beers operates the Gahcho Kué mine in a joint venture with Mountain Province Diamonds. 

In the fourth quarter, production was down 3 percent to 7.9 million carats, with higher production from De Beers’ top producing country, Botswana, not enough to offset the steep decline in South Africa.

In Botswana, production increased 6 percent year-over-year during the quarter to 6.1 million carats, primarily due to increased production at Orapa. 

Orapa produced 2.9 million carats during the quarter, up from 2.7 million carats in the fourth-quarter 2022, a 10 percent increase. 

For 2024, De Beers’ production guidance remains unchanged at 29 million-32 million carats, though the company noted it could opt to reduce production if that’s what the market dictates. 

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