Debswana reopens Damtshaa mine as demand for diamonds slightly grows

06 Aug 2017

The country’s leading diamond mining company, Debswana Diamond Company has confirmed that it will re-open its Damtshaa mine at the beginning of 2018. The company which is jointly owned by the government of Botswana and De Beers Mining Company said this week that the decision to reopen the Damtshaa mine was guided by global demand projections.

In responding to the market down turn in 2015, Debswana took a decision to optimise revenue and distributions by maximising production at core assets, scaling down production at lower value and lower margin assets.

As a result, the company then placed the Damtshaa mine on care and maintenance because of weak demand for diamonds. During the shutdown, Orapa Mine plant  1 was  run  at  a  reduced  production  level  of  approximately  one  million carats  per  year  in  order to maintain plant readiness to ramp up production.

The company’s Head of Corporate Affairs Esther Kanaimba – Senai says Debswana produced more from Jwaneng Mine which is of a high value, low cost asset and reduced production from Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM).

Senai stated that everything Debswana do is dependent on the performance of the market which is currently showing signs of improvement. She further said the company’s strategy is to match expected levels of demand for rough diamonds.

“Macro-economic conditions underpinning consumer demand for polished diamonds globally remain supportive of marginal demand growth in 2017,” Senai said.

Senai further stated that the extent of global growth for 2017 will be dependent upon a number of macro-economic factors, including how USA and China government policies may impact exchange rate movements.

Meanwhile, production figures shows that Debswana increased production by 6 percent to 11.1 million carats (H1 2016: 10.5 million carats). At the same time, production at Orapa increased by 22 percent driven by the ramp-up of Plant 1. The plant was also on partial care and maintenance in response to trading conditions since late 2015.

Debswana’s mother company, De Beers stated in its production report for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2016 that its rough diamond production increased by 10 percent to 7.8 million carats compared with Q4 2015 when production was reduced in response to trading conditions.