Gaborone: De Beers’ rough diamond production leaped 10 percent to 7.8 million carats during the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with 7.1 million carats, a year earlier, when production was reduced in response to trading conditions, Anglo American said.
The group’s rough diamond production also increased 24 percent compared with 6,273 million carats produced during the third quarter as a result of higher production at Orapa in Botswana, higher grades at Venetia in South Africa and the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué in Canada.
It said Debswana’s production jumped 15 percent to 5.4 million carats during the period under review compared with 4,7 million produced during the same period last year. In Namibia, Anglo said production at Namdeb Holdings also went up by 6 percent to 428 000 carats due to increased material processed by the Debmarine Namibia fleet.
However, South Africa’s De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) saw its production slowing, albeit, marginally to 1.4 million carats from 1.46 million mainly due to the sale of Kimberley Mines in January 2016, partly offset by an increase of 18 percent at Venetia due to the processing of higher grades.
Anglo said De Beers’ output in Canada increased 13 percent to 500 000 carats, driven by the ramp-up at Gahcho Kué. This, it said, was partially offset by Snap Lake being placed on care and maintenance in December 2015. “The ramp-up of Gahcho Kué continues to progress, with commercial production expected to be reached during Q1 2017,” said Anglo.
Meanwhile, De Beers’ total rough diamond sales volumes more than doubled to 8.0 million carats in the fourth quarter compared with 3.6 million carats a year earlier.
Total rough diamond sales volumes for the year jumped 55 percent to 32.0 million carats from 20.6 million carats in 2015. “The increases reflect the improved trading conditions from those experienced in H2 2015,” said Anglo.
It also said that an average price of $187 per carat recorded last year was 10 percent lower than in 2015, reflecting the lower average rough price index, which was down 13 percent, partially offset by a stronger sales mix.