De Beers’ Production Slips 7% in Q1

SourcingApr 23, 2021

De Beers’ Production Slips 7% in Q1

Heavy rainfall in southern Africa, a COVID-19 shutdown in Canada, and planned maintenance all contributed.

A digger loads kimberlite into a haul truck at the Orapa Diamond Mine in Botswana. Heavy rains hampered diamond production in Botswana in the first quarter, De Beers said. (©De Beers, Photo credit: Ben Perry, Armoury Films)
London—De Beers Group’s diamond production fell in the first quarter due to a mix of inclement weather, COVID-19, and planned maintenance.  

The company mined 7.2 million carats of diamonds, down 7 percent from 7.8 million carats in Q1 2020 and 9 percent from 7.9 million carats in Q1 2019. 

De Beers recorded its steepest decline in Namibia, where production fell 34 percent to 338,000 carats. 

The marine mining vessel, the Mafuta, was undergoing planned maintenance while another vessel remained sidelined, part of the response to lower demand first implemented in Q3 2020. 

Production in Canada dropped 16 percent to 710,000 carats, primarily because a COVID-19 outbreak forced De Beers to close Gahcho Kué in February. 

Heavy rainfall impacted diamond mining in Botswana, where a 24 percent reduction at the Orapa mine contributed to the overall 12 percent slide in production to 5 million carats. 

South Africa was the first quarter bright spot for De Beers. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Production increased 55 percent to 1.2 million carats due to the planned treatment of higher-grade ore from the final cut of the open pit at Venetia, the company’s sole remaining mine in South Africa. 

De Beers said demand for rough diamonds recovered to pre-COVID levels in Q1, as the midstream restocked following strong demand for diamond jewelry in the U.S. and China at the end of 2020. 

Rough diamond sales totaled 13.5 million carats from three sights, up from 8.9 million carats from two sights in Q1 2020 and 6.9 million carats from two sights in the fourth quarter 2020. 
De Beers’ full-year production guidance remained unchanged at 32-34 million carats, though that is subject to trading conditions and the extent of any more COVID-19 related disruptions to its mines.

That target is up from both its 2020 total (25.1 million carats) and 2019 total (30.8 million carats). 

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

The Latest

MajorsSep 24, 2021
Brilliant Earth Is Now a Public Company

CEO Beth Gerstein said she believes in the jeweler’s omnichannel approach as its retail rollout continues.

Events & AwardsSep 24, 2021
These 3 Companies Will Receive Business Grants from PGI USA

PGI created the program to accelerate the growth of the platinum jewelry market in the U.S.

CollectionsSep 24, 2021
Zales Introduces Elvis Presley Men’s Jewelry Line

From its curb link chains to statement diamond rings, the new collection takes inspiration from the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Brought to you by
Bringing Sexy Back: The Allure of COUTURE, Italian Style

Take a tour of Italian designers at COUTURE 2021.

TrendsSep 24, 2021
Piece of the Week: Mateo’s Initial Pendant

It’s a trendy take on personalization.

Weekly QuizSep 23, 2021
This Week's Quiz
Test your knowledge of jewelry news from the week of Sept. 20-24, 2021.
Take the Quiz
CrimeSep 23, 2021
5 Men Who Fenced Stolen Diamonds Get 15 Years in Prison

They bought and resold jewels from a South America-based gang that targeted traveling salespeople across the United States.

GradingSep 23, 2021
Another Diamond With Fake GIA Inscription Surfaces

Graders at HRD Antwerp found this one, a HPHT-treated natural diamond inscribed with the report number of an untreated stone.

Brought to you by
What is your Health Care Coverage Strategy?

Health care coverage is a big expense for small businesses - find out how to lower costs long-term instead of every 12 months.

MajorsSep 23, 2021
Claire’s To Offer Subscription Service

The quarterly themed boxes will feature on-trend jewelry, hair accessories, handbags, and more.