De Beers Mining Company says its diamond production in the first half of 2015 decreased by six percent to 8.0 million carats, mainly due to lower grades and reduced plant availability at the Orapa mine.
As a result, De Beers’s rough diamond sales by volume fell 26 percent year-on-year to 14 million carats in the first half of 2015, parent company Anglo American reported on Thursday. Production at Debswana, De Beers’s diamond mining unit in Botswana, fell six percent to 5.913 million carats, while production at Namdeb Holdings in Namibia slipped 15 percent to 431,000 carats. At the same time, De Beers Consolidated Mines in South Africa saw production down five percent to 1.117 million carats while De Beers Canada production declined 11 percent to 502,000 carats.
In 2014, Debswana led the pack as it recovered 6.3 million carats; with Orapa recovering 3.5 million carats, Jwaneng 2.5 million, Letlhakane 177, 000 and Damtshaa 77, 000. Jwaneng Mine is still the cream of Debswana as it contributes about 60-70 percent of the company’s total revenue. The mine is still recovering from a freak accident as a result of a slope failure that led to the death of one worker employed as a General Shift Foreman in the Mining department since March 2012. However fast forward to 2015, the diversified company, which owns three other diamond mines in Botswana, says operational flexibility at the Venetia (South Africa) and Jwaneng tailings treatment plants was utilised to reduce production marginally, in response to softer trading conditions. In 2014, Venetia, an open pit mine in Limpopo Province of South Africa, recovered 834,000 carats.
Anglo American said Thursday that the first six months of 2015 have seen further significant weakness and ongoing volatility in the prices of the bulk commodities, particularly iron ore and metallurgical coal. The diversified group says it has since reviewed its near and longer term commodity price assumptions at the mid-year, while also noting the gradual and ongoing reduction of consensus prices within what remains a wide range of forecasts. The company expects to record non-cash impairments within special items at 30 June 2015 relating to Minas-Rio and certain Australian coal assets of approximately $3.0 ÔÇô 4.0 billion on a post-tax basis.
Anglo American is scheduled to publish its interim financial report on July 24 and has since adjusted its production forecast for the year in light of the weak market. The company now expects to recover 30 million to 32 million carats across its four mining divisions, rather than 32 million to 34 million originally planned. De Beers is 85 percent owned by Anglo American and 15 percent by the Botswana government.