De Beers produced 7.8 million carats in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with 7.1 million carats in the year-earlier quarter.
However, production for all of 2015 was down 5 percent on 2015 at 27.3 million carats.
“Rough diamond production increased by 10 percent to 7.8 million carats compared with Q4 2015 when production was reduced in response to trading conditions,” according to a report by Anglo American which owns 85 percent of De Beers. “The increase also reflects the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué in Canada.”
Debswana’s production increased by 15 percent to 5.4 million carats. At Jwaneng, production increased 40 percent, partly offset by Orapa, which decreased by 6 percent, and Damtshaa (a satellite operation of Orapa), which was placed on care and maintenance from 1 January 2016.
Production at Namdeb Holdings (Namibia) increased by 6 percent to 0.4 million carats due to increased material processed by the Debmarine Namibia fleet.
In South Africa, production decreased marginally to 1.4 million carats, 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.
Production in Canada increased by 13 percent to 0.5 million carats, driven by the ramp-up at Gahcho Kué. This 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.
Rough diamond production increased by 24 percent compared with Q3 2016 as a result of higher production at Orapa, higher grades at Venetia and the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué.
Total rough diamond sales volumes in Q4 2016 compared with Q4 2015 more than doubled to 8.0 million carats (7.5 million carats on a consolidated basis.
For the full year, total rough diamond sales volumes increased by 55 percent to 32.0 million carats (30.0 million carats on a consolidated basis). The increases reflect the improved trading conditions from those experienced in H2 2015.
For the full year, the average realized price of $187 per carat 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.