De Beers output dips in Q2
De Beers’ rough diamond production was down 5 per cent to 7.6 million carats in the second quarter of 2023 due to a planned reduction in South Africa amid a transition to underground operations at Venetia.
According to Anglo American, which owns 85 per cent of De Beers Group, Venetia continues to process lower-grade surface stockpiles while it shifts to underground mining, which could lead to temporary low production levels. The decrease offset a strong performance driven by the planned treatment of higher-grade ore across most assets.
In 2023 Q2, South Africa production fell by 62 per cent to 0.5 million carats compared to single-digit increases in other De Beers mines. Botswana and Namibia reported an 6 per cent and 8 per cent increase to 5.8 million carats and 0.6 million carats, respectively, while Canada saw a 6 per cent rise to 0.7 million carats.
Meanwhile, rough diamond sales totalled 7.6 million carats from two Sights, compared with 9.4 million carats from three Sights in Q2 2022, and 9.7 million carats from three Sights in Q1 2023.
Anglo American noted diamond sales declined as sightholders took a more cautious approach to planning their 2023 allocation. Consumer demand for diamond jewellery also softened. “Demand for rough diamonds was impacted by the ongoing macroeconomic headwinds, with high levels of polished diamond inventory in the midstream,” Anglo American continued.
De Beers also reported that Venetia mine had delivered its first rough production from underground operations. The group earlier invested US$2.3 billion for this expansion, which is expected to bolster global output.
“The highly mechanised underground operation will deliver up to seven million tonnes of kimberlite ore per year to produce between 4.5 million and 5.5 million carats of diamonds annually,” De Beers stated.
The underground mine is now 70 per cent complete, with construction and production ramp-up continuing over the next few years.
De Beers’ production guidance for 2023 remains at 30 million carats to 33 million carats.