Diamond miner De Beers' rough diamond production decreased by 4% year-on-year to 7.2-million carats in the third quarter of the year as a result of planned reductions in production to match lower demand for rough diamonds in the market, amid Covid-19.
Specifically, production from the company’s mines in Botswana decreased by 15% year-on-year to 4.8-million carats, owing to the planned treatment of lower-grade material at both the Jwaneng and Orapa operations, with production targeted at levels to meet lower demand.
The company’s Namibian rough diamond production decreased by 43% year-on-year to 200 000 ct as the marine fleet suspended production for part of the third quarter to match lower demand, while one vessel was in dock for planned maintenance.
De Beers’ South African production increased to 1.2-million carats owing to an expected change in ore mix, with more ore sourced from the higher-grade material from the last cut of the openpit, rather than from low-grade stockpiles, as the Venetia mine transitions underground.
The company’s Canadian rough diamond output also increased by 17% year-on-year to 900 000 ct, owing to the treatment of higher-grade material at the joint venture Gahcho Kué mine.
De Beers says it started seeing improved demand for rough diamonds towards the end of the third quarter as restrictions for cutting and polishing centres continued to ease globally and as consumer markets started heading into the end-of-year holiday period.
The company’s rough diamond sales totalled 6.6-million carats in the third quarter, compared with the 300 000 ct sold in the second quarter of the year, and the 7.4-million carats sold in the third quarter of last year.
The company maintains its yearly production guidance at between 25-million and 27-million carats.