De Beers production figures for the first quarter of 2018 show that the Group’s production increased by 15% in the period to touch 8.5 million carats, as compared to 7.4 million carats produced in the same period of the previous year.
The rise includes the impact of the ramp-up of production from Gahcho Kué in Canada, which reached nameplate capacity in Q2 2017; as well as increased production from Orapa in Botswana “in response to the sustained healthy trading conditions”, the Company said.
Breaking it down company/countrywise, Debswana (Botswana) production increased 12% to 5.8 million carats, from 5.19 million carats produced in the same period of the previous year. Debswana production was bolstered by Orapa’s performance where production increased 26% to 2.8 million carats. This was mainly due to “an increase in tonnes treated in response to sustained healthy trading conditions”, the Company explained.
Namdeb Holdings’ (Namibia) production increased 12 per cent to 0.5 million carats from 0.47 million carats “as a result of accessing consistently higher grades at the land-based operations”.
DBCM (South Africa) production was virtually flat and in line with Q1 2017 at 1.1 million carats, the Company stated.
Production from Canada’s Gahcho Kué grew by 69 per cent to 1.1 million carats for reasons stated above.
“Total rough diamond sales volumes in Q1 2018 were 8.8 million carats (8.4 million carats on a consolidated basis) from two Sights, compared with 14.1 million carats (13.7 million carats on a consolidated basis) from three Sights in Q1 2017,” De Beers said. “In addition to the difference in the number of Sights over the period, Sight 1 2017 also saw an unusually strong demand for lower value goods following the effects of Indian demonetisation in Q4 2016, leading to higher than normal sales volume.”
De Beers reiterated that full-year production guidance remains unchanged at 34-36 million carats, subject to trading conditions.