Diamond miner De Beers’ rough diamond production for the quarter ended March 31 decreased by 8% year-on-year to 7.9-million carats, driven by lower output at its South African operations.
De Beers Consolidated Mines, in South Africa, attributed its 65% year-on-year decrease in output to 400 000 ct to lower mined volumes at the Venetia mine, as it approached a transition from openpit to underground operations.
Additionally, the Voorspoed mine had been placed onto care and maintenance in the last quarter of 2018, in preparation for closure, driving production figures down further.
De Beers’ operations in Canada reported a 3% decrease in production to one-million carats, owing to planned lower grades from the Gahcho Kué joint venture mine.
The company’s production in Botswana, however, increased by 2% to six-million carats, driven by the Jwaneng mine’s production increasing as planned by 12% to 3.3-million carats. The Orapa project’s production decreased by 7% as a result of a plant shutdown in the reporting period.
In Namibia, production decreased by 9% to 500 000 ct, driven by the land operation transitioning Elizabeth Bay to care and maintenance. Debmarine Namibia’s production was in line with guidance at 400 000 ct.
De Beers sold 7.5-million carats of rough diamonds from two sales cycles in the reporting quarter, compared with 8.8-million carats from two sales cycles in the first quarter of last year. The company attributed this to subdued overall demand for low-value rough diamonds.
The company’s full-year production guidance remains unchanged at between 31-million and 33-million carats.