BY KABELO SEITSHIRO
Global mining giant – De Beers achieved a 4 percent year-on-year increase in revenue to $6.1-billion in 2018, compared with $5.8-billion in 2017, the company’s latest financials shows.
De Beers said on Thursday that production increases at Debswana’s Orapa mine, in Botswana more than offset the effect of the temporary suspension of production at Venetia, in South Africa.
Local unit – Debswana Diamond Company has significantly contributed across in the De Beers Group in 2018 as rough diamond production increased by 6 percent to 35.3 million carats.
Previously in 2017 it stood at 33.5 million carats, which was in the lower half of the production guidance range of 35-36 million carats.
Briefing the media this week, De Beers Executive Vice President, Diamond Trading Paul Rowly said the midstream started the year on a positive note due to healthy demand for polished diamonds from US and Chinese retailers.
He added that however, in the second half, the low-priced product segment came under considerable pressure due to weak demand and surplus availability, the rapid depreciation of the rupee and a reduction in bank financing in the midstream. He observed that this resulted in a surplus of low-priced polished diamonds at the end of the year, leading to lower sales at the start of 2019.
“Significant progress was made across the De Beers Group brands in 2018. De Beers Jewellers opened new stores in China and Hong Kog , and launched new franchise partnerships in Russia and Saudi Arabia,” said Rowley.
Meanwhile in Namibia, Namdeb Holdings production increased by 11 percent to 2.0 million carats from 1.8 million carats in 2017.
On the other end, South Africa’s production decreased by 10 percent to 4.7 million carats, owing to a period of suspended production at Venetia following a fatal incident.
Output in South Africa is also said to have been affected by the placing of Voorspoed onto care and maintenance in the fourth quarter in preparation for closure.
In Canada, production increased by 19 percent to 4.5 million carats from 3.8 million carats due to the full year contribution from Gahcho Koe, which entered commercial production in March 2017.