London–De Beers’ rough diamond production is up so far this year, with the diamond miner and marketer reporting trading conditions as “stable.”
Figures reported Thursday morning by parent company Anglo American show that De Beers mined 8.7 million carats of rough diamonds in the second quarter, a 36 percent increase when compared with the second quarter 2016.
For the first half of the year, rough diamond production has totaled 16.1 million carats, compared with 13.3 million carats in the first half of 2016, a 21 percent increase.
The biggest increase came from the De Beers operations in Canada, where the new Gahcho Kué mine, which officially opened in fall 2016, reached nameplate (full expected) capacity. The mine is a joint venture of De Beers (51 percent) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49 percent).
Production also increased for Namdeb Holdings, the mines De Beers operates in cooperation with the government of Namibia, as Debmarine Namibia’s Mafuta vessel was in operation again after being on planned extended in-port maintenance in the second quarter 2016.
Debmarine is the arm of De Beers that also recently launched a new $157 million vessel for diamond exploration and sampling in the Atlantic Ocean.
The company’s full-year guidance production remains unchanged at 31 to 33 million carats.
Sales-wise, De Beers’ consolidated rough diamond sales volumes were down year-over-year in the second quarter, with sales totaling 5.4 million carats from two sights, compared with 9.6 million carats from three sights in the same period last year. Apart from the extra sight, De Beers said it was up against difficult comps because of the high level of midstream restocking in the prior-year period.
Sales are up for the entire first half of 2017, reaching 19.1 million carats, compared with 17.2 million carats in the first half of 2016.
The average realized price for rough diamonds in the first half of 2017 was $156 per carat, a 12 percent decrease year-over-year. De Beers said there was strong demand for lower-value goods at the first sight of 2017 as diamond traders in India who recovered from the impact of that country’s demonetization program started buying goods again early this year.