Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Venetian transition weighs on De Beers’ Q2 production

London – De Beers Group’s second-quarter production fell 5 per cent year-on-year to 7.6 million carats, dragged down by the company’s only mine in South Africa.

Venetia will cease open-pit operations in December 2022, and is currently processing low-grade stockpiles as it transitions to underground mining.

According to figures released on Thursday by De Beers’ parent company Anglo American, Venetia produced 466,000 carats in the second quarter, down 62 percent from 1.2 million carats in the same period last year when the pit was still active.

Production was down 37 per cent from 739,000 carats in the first quarter.

In the three other countries where De Beers has operations – Botswana, Canada and Namibia – production increased by single digit percentages in the second quarter.

In Botswana, which accounts for about 75 per cent of De Beers’ total diamond production, recovered carats increased by 6 per cent year-on-year to 5.8 million.

The company attributed the increase to the planned processing of higher grade ore at Orapa, partially offset by lower throughput at Jwaneng due to planned maintenance.

De Beers and the government of Botswana recently reached an agreement in principle for a new rough diamond sales contract and mining licences in the country. These agreements will run until 2033 and 2054 respectively.
Gahcho Kué in Canada produced 683,000 carats for De Beers in the second quarter compared to 643,000 carats in the prior year period, an increase of 6 per cent due to the processing of higher grade ore despite planned plant maintenance.

In Namibia, production increased by 8 per cent to 612,000 carats as De Beers continues to ramp up its open pit mining operations.

Year-to-date, De Beers’ diamond production has totalled 16.5 million carats, just 2 per cent below last year at this time (16.9 million carats).

Looking at the diamond market as a whole, the company said consumer demand for diamond jewellery fell in the second quarter, impacting both rough diamond demand and prices.

In the second quarter of 2023, rough diamond sales totalled 7.6 million carats from two sites, down from 9.4 million carats from three sites in the second quarter of 2022 and 9.7 million carats from three sites in the first quarter.

De Beers’ consolidated average realised price for rough diamonds fell 23 per cent to $163 per carat in the first half, compared with $213 per carat in the same period last year.

De Beers said it sold more lower value rough in the first half as sightholders are cautious due to uncertainty about the economy.

The average rough price index fell by 2 per cent, reflecting a slowdown in consumer demand and a build-up of midstream inventories.

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