De Beers reported that its rough diamond sales volumes in the first quarter of 2019 stood at 7.5 million carats (7.2 million carats on a consolidated basis) from two sales cycles compared with 8.8 million carats (8.4 million carats on a consolidated basis) in Q1 2018 — a drop of 14.8 percent.
The company said this was due to overall demand for low value rough diamonds remaining subdued in the quarter.
De Beers’ overall rough diamond production in the first quarter of 2019 decreased by 8 percent to 7.9 million carats, driven by a reduction at De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) in South Africa.
DBCM production reduced by 65 per cent to 0.4 million carats due to lower mined volumes at Venetia as it approaches the transition from open pit to underground. Voorspoed was placed onto care and maintenance in Q4 2018 in preparation for closure.
Production at Debswana in Botswana increased by 2 percent to 6 million carats. This was driven by Jwaneng production increasing as planned by 12 per cent to 3.3 million carats. Orapa-2 production decreased by 7 percent as a result of a plant shutdown in the period.
At Namdeb Holdings in Namibia, production decreased by 9 percent to 0.5 million carats. This was driven by the land operation transitioning Elizabeth Bay to care and maintenance. Debmarine Namibia production was in line with Q1 2018 at 0.4 million carats.
Canadian production reduced by 3 percent to 1 million carats due to planned lower grades at Gahcho Kué.
Full year production guidance remains unchanged at between 31- and 33 million carats, subject to trading conditions.