The Managing Director of Debswana Albert Milton says the 2018 business and production overview indicates that there has been positivity on the output increase as well as demand of the diamonds in the market although volatility remains high in the market.
Milton, who succeeded Balisi Bonyongo in December, made the remarks on Friday when giving the Business Update to Stakeholders, said the company realised a significant growth in earnings and returns.
Debswana Diamond Company – a joint venture between Botswana Government and De Beers Group of Companies – comprises of Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines.
He said the total carat production for the all Debswana mines increased by 6% pushed more by the Orapa mine ore. An overall increase of diamond production reached 24.1 million carats against the 22.7 million carats produced in 2017.
Milton further indicated that a heightened focus on operational efficiency continue to generate free cash flow process, adding that this is a result of investment in quality operating machinery such as the Shovel which cost P400 million each.
“The shovel that we have in our operations has significant impact on the rise of production in 2018 without any doubt. Jwaneng mine Shovel production output increase stands at 15% while for Orapa Letlhakane Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) production increased by 8%. We as Debswana, we are committed to continue investing robustly on technology and innovation in order to have efficient output from the big projects that still lies ahead to be undertaken,” said optimistic Milton.
Milton emphasised that the diamond industry is still faced with high volatility difficulties, but said preliminary data for 2018 suggests slightly stronger growth in consumer demand for diamond jewellery.
“There is lot of uncertainties facing the global market and more importantly our diamond market is not exceptional as well. The Chinese market’s demand for the diamond has been positive the whole year and we hope that the situation in terms of the market stability will change soon,” he added.
Milton noted that Debswana mines’ lifeline banks on Cut 8 and 9 projects, with Cut 8 expected to be the major source ore till 2030 producing a total of 600 million tonnes as well as 92 million carats over the life of the mine.
He said Cut 9 project will produce 52 million worth of carats for the Jwaneng mine taking the lifeline of the mine beyond 2034.
Recently when announcing the 2018 financial results De Beers Group’s Executive Vice President (Diamond Trading), Paul Rowley said production at Jwaneng mine increased by 12%, while the Orapa mine recorded production increase of 13%.
Rowley indicated that Botswana’s diamond output contributed to the De Beers Group’s total revenue that increased by 4% to USD 6. 1 billion in 2018 compared to USD 5.8 billion in 2017.