After a 2 year disruption by the Covid 19 pandemic, the De Beers mining company sights are set to return to the capital Gaborone this month.
The global mining giant De Beers, which is 85 percent owned by Anglo American and 15 percent by Botswana government, sells rough diamonds through ten Global Sightholders Sales and Auction Sales held every year in the capital Gaborone. The sights or auction sales are restricted to the company’s top 80 Sightholders who buy the diamond packages at a price determined by De Beers.
De Beers Executive Vice-President Diamond Trading, Paul Rowley told journalists in a brief last week that from March 2022, the company will bring back the sights to the capital Gaborone.
“We will of course maintain some flexibility for some customers who will still not be able to come to Botswana,” said Rowley.
When diamond sales slumped to record lows in 2020, De Beers broke from tradition and made several concessions that included temporarily moving away sights from Gaborone due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and use of the flexible approach that extends the sights beyond the normal week-long duration to now two weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global diamond supply chain, with some mines owned by De Beers getting shut while rough diamond trade also plummeted.
This past week markets experts noted that the return to Gaborone suggests things could be returning to normal, despite the ongoing pandemic.
The projection has been supported by the De Beers figures which show that sales were up from $2.79 billion in 2020, reaching $4.82 billion in 2021. On the other side, the company’s production guidance for this year is 30 to 33 million carats, though the forecast is subject to trading conditions and the possibility of COVID-19 disruptions. The company said the long-term outlook for diamond jewelry demand remains positive.
Meanwhile in Namibia, production was broadly in line at 1.5 million carats (2020: 1.4 million carats), reflecting an increase from the remobilisation of most vessels in late 2020, partly offset by planned maintenance. De Beers says in South Africa, production increased by 41% to 5.3 million carats (2020: 3.8 million carats), owing to the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns in the first half of 2020 and the planned processing of higher grade ore from the final cut of the Venetia open pit. In Canada, production was marginally lower at 3.2 million carats (2020: 3.3 million carats), mainly due to a temporary Covid-19 related shutdown in the first quarter of 2021.