De Beers production up 22%

Orapa Mine has significant contribution but is offset by Jwaneng Mine


Diamond miner, De Beers, increased its total rough diamond production for the year 2017 by 22% to 33.5 million carats, which is reportedly boosted by a 5% increase in production in the fourth quarter of the year to 8.1 million carats. Its subsidiary, Debswana, which is 50% owned by the Government of Botswana and 50% owned by the former, increased its diamond production for the year to 5.5 million carats, which is 16.4% of the total production which De Beers recorded.

Debswana operates four mines in Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa, and out of these, the Orapa mine stood top. The positive performance of the giant diamond miner, De Beers, is attributed to among other factors, the production ramp-up at Gahcho Kué in Canada, as well as at the Orapa mine.

Production at the Orapa mine increased by 14%. This is owing to planned increases in plant performance and a ramp-up of Plant 1, which had been under partial care and maintenance in response to trading conditions in late 2015. The Q4 Production Report shows that the Orapa mine’s performance was partially offset by Jwaneng mine’s performance, which saw a 15% decrease in production owing to expected lower grades.

De Beers’ Namibia production, which is facilitated by Namdeb Holdings, was at 488, 000 carats following an increase of 14%, and there were higher grades at Namdeb’s land operations. Contribution from the neighbouring South Africa decreased 17% to 1.1 million carats, “largely as a result of planned sequencing of ore sources at Venetia, where the increase in tonnes treated was more than offset by a reduction in grade.”

In Canada, production doubled to 993, 000 carats, owing to the ramp-up at Gahcho Kué, which is said to have reached nameplate capacity in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, South African publication, Mining Weekly has indicated that De Beers’ “Consolidated rough diamond sales volumes in the fourth quarter remained at 7.5 million carats, no change from the same comparable period in 2016, while total sales volumes increased by 2.5% year-on-year to 8.2 million carats, from 8 million carats the fourth quarter of 2016. Consolidated sales volumes for the full-year were 33.1-million carats, up 10% from the previous year’s comparable quarter of 30-million carats, while total sales volumes – which are comparable to production – were 35.1 million carats, up 9.7% from 32 million carats in the previous comparable quarter.”