Data published by the Bank of Botswana on Monday shows that the country’s diamond exports fell to P27.36 billion in 2015 from P44.45 billion recorded in 2014, which reflects a 38 percent slide.
Bank of Botswana figures exclude diamonds that Botswana’s mining partner, De Beers brings into the country from Canada, South Africa and Namibia for aggregation before re-exportation. In its production report for the fourth quarter of 2015, De Beers said that the drop in sales was due to a 12 percent fall in production to 28.7 million carats. It said production slowed down in response to current trading conditions. The bulk of Botswana’s diamond exports are from Debswana, a joint venture between the government and the diamond giant De Beers.
Diamond production for the fourth quarter of 2015 decreased 16 percent year-on-year to 7.1 million carats, while rough diamond sales volumes stood at 3.6 million carats compared with three million carats in the previous quarter. In December 2015, Debswana Diamond Company announced that it will shut down its Damtshaa Mine, which is part of the Orapa, Letlhakane mines, as a result of a slowdown in the global diamond industry. The Telegraph has been informed that the mine has been placed on care and maintenance from 1 January 2016. Debswana has since revised its production target for 2016 to 20 million carats to match expected levels of demand for rough diamonds.
At the same time, available figures shows that Debswana’s diamond production for the fourth quarter of 2015 decreased 16 percent year-on-year to 7.1 million carats, while rough diamond sales volumes stood at 3.6 million carats compared with 3 million carats in the previous quarter.
The latest figures come after De Beers sold $540m (┬ú380m) worth of rough diamonds in the first sales cycle of 2016, more than doubling the value achieved in the company’s final sales cycle of 2015.
Available production figures shows that since the second quarter of 2015, Debswana has been experiencing a significant reduction in the sale of rough diamonds due to weak demand as a result of a global macro- economic slowdown and the strengthening of the US dollar which have put liquidity pressures on cutting and polishing centres.