Apr 26, 2019

De Beers Q1 2019 Rough Diamond Production Down 8%, Sales Volume Also Declines

De Beers Group reported yesterday that its rough diamond production during the three-month period ended March 31, 2019 (Q1 2019) decreased by 8% to 7.9 million carats (Q1 2018: 8.5 mn cts), with a major reduction in output from South Africa.

Rough diamond sales volumes also fell by 14%, the miner said with 7.5 million carats (7.2 million carats on a consolidated basis) being sold in two sales cycles as compared with 8.8 million carats (8.4 million carats on a consolidated basis) from the same number of sales cycles in Q1 2018. The decline was attributed to overall demand for low value rough diamonds remained subdued in the quarter.

The country-wise break up of production was as follows:

Botswana (Debswana)

Production increased by 2% to 6.0 million carats with output at Jwaneng rising as planned by 12% to 3.3 million. Production at Orapa however, was down 7% as a result of a plant shut down in the period.

Namibia (Namdeb Holdings)

Production fell by 9% to 0.5 million carats mainly driven by the land operation transitioning Elizabeth Bay to care and maintenance. Debmarine Namibia production was in line with Q1 2018 at 0.4 million carats.

South Africa (De Beers Consolidated Mines)

A massive decline of 65% to 0.4 million carats was reported from South Africa due to lower mined volumes at Venetia as it approaches the transition from open pit to underground. Voorspoed was placed onto care and maintenance in Q4 2018 in preparation for closure.


Canada saw a 3% drop in production to 1.0 million carats due to planned lower grades at Gahcho Kué.

De Beers said that production guidance for the full year remains unchanged at 31 – 33 million carats, subject to trading conditions.