Q1 diamond production stood at 600 000 carats

Namibia’s diamond production for the first quarter ended 31 March, reached 600 000 carats and remained largely unchanged compared to the same period in 2023.

The Bank of Namibia said in the March economic outlook that diamond mining sector is expected to slow to 2,1% growth in 2024 before rebounding to 5,7 % in 2025. The anticipated significant slowdown in diamond mining is attributed to low production on the back of unfavourable international prices coupled with subdued global demand for rough diamonds, the central bank said.

Anglo American which owns De Beers said it recovered 6,9 million carats across its operations in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada during the period.

In Botswana, production decreased by 28% to 5 million carats, driven by intentional lower production at Jwaneng and a short-term change in plant feed mix at Orapa to process existing surface stockpiles.

In South Africa, production decreased by 19% to 600 000 carats, due to the continued depletion of lower grade surface stockpiles prior to the planned ramp-up of underground operations at Venetia over the next few years.

Production in Canada decreased by 4% to 600 000 carats, due to planned treatment of lower grade ore.

Anglo American said demand for rough diamonds began to recover during the first quarter following improved demand for diamond jewellery in the United States over the year-end holiday season.

“The flexibility for rough diamond allocations offered by De Beers in 2023, combined with the voluntary import moratorium on rough diamonds into India in Q4 2023, has helped improve the industry’s balance between wholesale supply and demand. However, ongoing uncertainty around economic growth prospects has led to a continued cautious purchasing approach by Sightholders and the recovery in rough diamond demand is expected to be gradual through the rest of the year,” the company said.

Commenting about other minerals Duncan Wanblad, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said the company was pleased with the performance in the first quarter, with copper production increasing by 11% as Quellaveco achieved its highest plant throughput rate, while Collahuasi and El Soldado in Chile benefitted from higher grades.” Steelmaking coal production also increased by 7%, due to the performance at the Aquila longwall and Capcoal open cut operations.

Wanblad said De Beers implemented changes to lower its diamond production for the year by 3 million carats which, combined with lower production in some mines resulted in flat production overall for the group compared to the same period of last year.

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