BY KABELO SEITSHIRO
De Beers Mining Company’s revenue continues to slide as challenging trade conditions in the rough diamonds space persist.
The mining giant says its total revenue went down by 17 percent to US$2.6 billion thanks largely to the decline in rough diamonds sales. The rough diamonds sales went down as much as 21 percent to $2.3 billion for the interim financial period that ended 30 June 2019.
De Beers Executive Vice President ÔÇôDiamond Trading, Paul Rowley stated that average realised rough diamond price decreased by 7 percent to $151/carat, driven by the reduction in the average rough diamond price index and a change in the sales mix due to weaker market conditions in certain segments.
Rowley said first half production decreased by 11 percent to 15.6 million carats, primarily driven by a reduction in Botswana and South Africa.
“We have experienced lower holiday season demand, tight liquidity, trade tensions and protests in Hong Kong have led to a more cautious buying approach,” he said.
Moving forward, Rowley mentioned Debswana’s Jwaneng mine amongst key projects that will sustain the company.
It is expected that Debswana Mining Company ÔÇô a joint venture between De Beers and Botswana government will invest approximately US$2 billion over the life of the Cut 9 project in Jwaneng.
At its peak Cut-9 is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs, majority of which are expected to be held by Batswana citizens. Already a local contract has been awarded to Majwe Mining, a joint venture between Bothakga Burrow Botswana and Thiess Botswana valued at US$ 1.2 billion (15.7 billion Pula) for the project.
“Work has already commenced to remove 513 million tonnes of waste material to expose diamond bearing ore. Recovery of diamonds is expected to start by 2027,” Rowley stated.
The multinational diamond company has also made a US$500m investment in a new diamond recovery vessel in neighbouring Namibia.