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De Beers raises output as demand strengthens

Diamond miner De Beers increased its rough diamond production by 15% year-on-year to 7.7-million carats for the fourth quarter of 2021, reflecting planned higher production to meet strengthening levels of demand.

Production from its Botswana operations increased by 23% to 5.2-million carats for the quarter. This was primarily as a result of the planned treatment of higher-grade ore at Jwaneng, partly offset by lower production at Orapa owing to the planned closure of Plant 1 in late 2020.

Production out of Namibia was 16% higher year-on-year at 400 000 ct for the fourth quarter, reflecting a reduction in the scheduled maintenance time for the marine fleet.

De Beers’ South African production, at 1.29-million carats for the quarter, was in line with output in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Canadian production was also broadly flat, decreasing from 776 000 ct in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 771 000 ct in the quarter under review. This was owing to planned plant maintenance during the quarter, which was offset by the processing of higher-grade ore.

De Beers’s overall production for the full 2021 increased by 29% year-on-year to 32.28-million carats.

Production in Botswana increased by 35% to 22.33-million carats for the full-year, while output in South Africa improved by 41% to 5.31-million carats.

Namibian production increased by 1% to 1.47-million carats for the full-year, while production in Canada decreased by 4% to 3.18-million carats.

De Beers notes that demand for rough diamonds remained robust in 2021, with positive midstream sentiment and strong demand for diamond jewellery continuing over the holiday period, particularly in the key US consumer market.

The full-year consolidated average realised price increased by 10% to $146/ct, primarily as a result of positive market sentiment, which gave rise to a strengthening of the rough price index.

De Beers expects to produce between 30-million and 33-million carats of diamonds this year. – (Mining Weekly)

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