Sourcing

De Beers’ Production Down 14% as Mines Close, Market Slows

SourcingOct 30, 2019

De Beers’ Production Down 14% as Mines Close, Market Slows

The diamond miner’s outlook for the year is holding steady at 31 million carats.

2017_Victor-mine.jpg
Mine sales and shutdowns contributed to a 14 percent year-over-year decline in production for De Beers Group in the third quarter. Pictured here is Canada’s Victor mine, which closed down in Q2 2019.

London—A combination of mine sales and shutdowns and a weak market for rough diamonds contributed to a drop-off in production for De Beers Group in the third quarter.

The diamond miner and marketer reported production totaled 7.4 million carats in the period, down 14 percent from 8.7 million carats in Q3 2018.

All De Beers’ operations worldwide experienced flat or declining output.

In Botswana, production was flat year-over-year at 5.7 million carats.

A planned increase in the grade of material treated at the Orapa group of mines (Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa) was offset by planned lower grade at Jwaneng.

In Canada, production dropped 34 percent to 0.8 million carats, primarily due to the closure of the Victor mine in the second quarter.

Diamond mining output in South Africa was down 60 percent to 0.5 million carats, as volumes dropped at Venetia in anticipation of its transition from an open-pit to an underground mine. Venetia is De Beers’ only remaining mining site in South Africa following the shuttering of Voorspoed at the end of 2018.

And in Namibia, production slipped 7 percent to 0.4 million carats, as the Elizabeth Bay land operations were mothballed at the end of 2018 and have since been sold to a Namibian company.

All told, De Beers is down to six diamond mines worldwide (four in Botswana, one in Canada and one in South Africa); three on-land “recovery areas” in Namibia (Daberas, Sendelingsdrif and Southern Coastal); and six marine mining vessels that operate off the Namibian coast, one for exploration and sampling and five for diamond recovery.

Despite the decline in third-quarter production, De Beers’ production guidance for the full year remains unchanged at 31 million carats.

Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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