De Beers’ Sales Up 10% in 2017, Production Up 22% on Gahcho Kué Ramp Up


Anglo-American plc, releasing its Q4 2017 production report, said that production of rough diamonds by De Beers rose 5% during the quarter to 8.1 million carats and by 22% during the whole year to 33.5 million carats as the new Gahcho Kué mine in Canada began operating at nameplate capacity since Q2 2017.

The mining giant also reported that consolidated rough diamond sales volumes in Q4 2017 were flat at 7.5 mn cts, while for the whole year they stood at 33.1 mn cts, up 10.3% over the 2016 figure of 30 mn cts.

De Beers also reported that the full year consolidated average realised price of US$ 162/ct was 13% lower than in 2016. This reflected strong demand in Sight 1 2017 for lower value goods held in stock at 31 December 2016, following a recovery from the initial impact of India’s demonetisation programme in late 2016, as well as the ramp-up of production from lower value per carat but high margin operations, including Orapa and Gahcho Kué. It added that the lower value mix was partially offset by a higher average rough price index, up 3% compared with 2016.

De Beers also reported the Q4 2017 production figures for each of its subsidiaries.

At Debswana in Botswana, production increased marginally to 5.5 million carats. Orapa’s production increased 14%, mainly due to planned increases in plant performance, and the ramp-up of Plant 1, which was previously on partial care and maintenance in response to trading conditions in late 2015. This was partially offset by Jwaneng where production decreased 15% due to expected lower grades.

At Namdeb Holdings in Namibia, production increased 14% to 488,000 carats, mainly due to higher grades at Namdeb’s land operations.

However, at De Beers Consolidated Mines in South Africa, production 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 due to the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué, which reached nameplate capacity in Q2 2017, the Company stated.

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