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Rough diamonds production soar

De Beers has announced that rough diamond production for the second quarter of the year, increased three per cent to 9.0 million carats, reflecting production increases to meet stronger demand as well as the contribution from the ramp-up at Gahcho Kué.

In Botswana, the group’s company Debswana’s production increased six per cent to 6.3 million carats in response to stronger trading conditions.

Debswana’s flagship mine Jwaneng’s production increased four per cent to 3.0 million carats due to an increase in tonnes mined and treated.

Similarly at Orapa2, production increased eight per cent to 3.3 million carats due to the ramp up of additional processing capacity in response to stronger trading conditions.

Namdeb Holdings, the Namibia outfit’s production increased 32 per cent to 515,000 carats driven by access to consistently higher grades at the land operations and technology-led optimisation of the marine drill fleet.

In South Africa, De Beers’ Consolidated Mines’ production decreased 28 per cent to 1.0 million carats, primarily owing to a period of suspended production at Venetia following a fatal incident in March while Canada, the production increased 17 per cent to 1.2 million carats due to the completion of the ramp-up at Gahcho Kué.

On sales, the company reported that rough sales volumes were 10.0 million carats (9.4 million carats on a consolidated basis3) from three sales cycles in second quarter of 2018, compared with 5.9 million carats (5.4 million carats on a consolidated basis3) from two sales cycles in second quarter of 2017.

In addition to the different number of sales cycles over the period, sales volumes benefited from positive sentiment in the midstream following growth in consumer demand for diamond jewellery in late 2017, and a continuing positive outlook.

The first half of 2018 average realised rough diamond price increased by four per cent to US$162/carat (H1 2017: US$156/carat) due to a 1.6 per cent increase in the average rough price index and an improvement in the sales mix, driven by the substantial volumes of lower value goods sold in the first half of 2017, following the Indian demonetisation programme in late 2016. Excluding this impact, the average value of the production mix was lower in first half of 2018 as a higher proportion of lower value carats was delivered from Orapa and Gahcho Kué.

Meanwhile full year production guidance remains unchanged at 34 to 36 million carats, subject to trading conditions.

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