Rough diamond production at Debswana has increased by 6 percent during the first quarter of the year from the last quarter of 2017.
Figures released by Anglo American this week indicate that total production from Debswana mines stood at 5.8 million carats during the first quarter of the year from 5.5 million carats produced in the last quarter of the previous year.
Year-on-year production of rough diamonds at Debswana is up by 12 percent from 5.2 million carats to 5.8 million carats.
Debswana operates four open pit mines and from the total production, Jwaneng mine output is 2.9 million carats while 2.8 million carats was from the Orapa regime which includes Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines.
On yearly basis, Orapa production increased by 26 percent with Jwaneng, on the other hand, registering an increase of just 1 percent.
Total production at De Beers increased by 15 percent to 8.5 million carats; reflecting ramp-up production from Gahcho Kue in Canada that reached nameplate capacity in Q2 2017 as well as increased production from Orapa in response to healthy trading conditions.
In Namibia where De Beers is in partnership with the Namibian Government, operating Namdeb Holdings, production was up by 12 percent to 0.5 million carats which comes a result of accessing consistently higher grades at the land-based operations.
In South Africa, production of 1.1 million carats was in line with the same period last year while in Canada production increased by 69 percent to 1.1 million carats due to the ramp-up of Gahcho Kue.
During the first quarter of the year, total rough diamond sales volume was 8.8 million carats from two sights, compared with 14.1 million carats from three sights in the first quarter of 2017.
In addition to the different number of sights over the period, Sight 2017 also saw an unusually strong demand for lower value goods following the effects of Indian demonitisation during the last quarter of 2017, leading to higher than normal sales volume.
De Beers – which is majority-owned by mining giant, Anglo American which holds a significant 85 percent with the remaining 15 stake owned by Government of Botswana – has set full year production at 34 – 36 million carats which is subject to trading conditions.
The group has early this year announced plans to mine more diamonds this year than at any time since the 2008 global financial crisis.
De Beers Chief Financial Officer said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the most important thing when they look at production going forward is to make sure it is matched by demand.
The increase is said to be a positive sign for an industry struggling with flat demand for diamond jewellery of around $80 billion a year since 2014 and subdued prices for polished gems. The company has said economic conditions around the world support consumer demand.