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De Beers’ full year rough diamond output slides 13% to 30,8mln

24 january 2020

de_beers_logo.pngDe Beers’ rough diamond output eased 13% to 30,8 million carats in 2019 compared with 35,3 million carats in 2018, according to Anglo American.
“While trading conditions have improved since Q3 2019, production was reduced in response to softer rough diamond demand conditions experienced in the year,” it said in a statement.
Anglo also said its diamond unit’s fourth quarter output dropped by 15% to 7.8 million carats in the fourth quarter of 2019, driven by lower production levels in South Africa and Botswana.
Botswana production decreased by 7% to 5.9 million carats during the quarter under review as output at Orapa fell due to a delay in an infrastructure project coupled with expected lower grades.
Production in South Africa fell by 65% to 400 000 carats due to lower volumes of ore mined at Venetia as it approaches the transition from open pit to underground. 
Namibian production also decreased by 10% to 500 000 carats, driven by Debmarine Namibia where production eased by 9% to 400 000 carats due to routine vessel maintenance during the quarter.
Production in Canada dropped by 3% to 1.0 million carats, mainly due to the closure of Victor, which reached the end of its life in the second quarter of 2019. 
However, Gahcho Kué production increased by 28% to 1.0 million carats due to strong plant performance.
De Beers’ production guidance for 2020 was unchanged at 32-34 million carats, subject to trading conditions. 
“The higher production anticipates an improvement in trading conditions compared with 2019, and is driven by an expected increase in production from Venetia,” said Anglo.
Meanwhile, De Beers’ full year rough diamond sales volumes eased 8% to 30.9 million carats compared with 33.7 million carats in 2018.
Demand for rough diamonds was lower in 2019 due to challenges in the midstream, with higher polished inventories and caution due to macro-economic uncertainty.
Anglo said De Beers recorded a full year consolidated average price of $137 per carat compared to $171 per carat, due primarily to a higher proportion of lower value rough diamonds sold in 2019.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished