Russia Overtakes Botswana as Rough Producer

Moscow: Russia extended its lead over Botswana as the world’s largest rough diamond producer, according to data released by the Kimberley Process (KP).

Russia’s output leaped 9.4 percent to 41.9 million carats worth $4.24 billion last year while that of Botswana eased 16 percent to 20.8 million carats valued at to $2.99 billion.

Diamonds from the southern African nation recorded an average price of $143.73 per carat compared to Russia’s $101.15 per carat. That means Botswana can easily surpass Russia as the largest producer in terms of value, should it improve its volume.

Debswana, a joint venture between De Beers and Botswana lowered its output to 20.4 million carats last year in light of depressed prices while Russia’s ALROSA increased production to 38.3 million carats during the same period.

Meanwhile, the KP data also showed that global rough diamond output tumbled in value terms last year due to weak prices.

This was its first annual decline since 2012. Total production by value dropped 4.2 percent to $13.88 billion during the period under review. However, output in terms of volume jumped 2.1 percent to 127.4 million carats, but the average price of production dropped 6.2 percent to $108.96 per carat.

Australia was third having produced 13,5 million carats valued at $308 million as its average price was a measly $22.73 per carat. Angola produced just over 9 million carats worth $1.18 billion last year. Its diamonds were sold for $131.11 per carat.

South Africa recorded an output of 7,2 million carats worth $1,39 billion at an average price of $192.57 per carat.