Gem and Diamond

De Beers lowers 2021 output guidance

De Beers lowers 2021 output guidance
Mining News Pro - Diamond miner De Beers has revised its production guidance for 2021 downwards to between 32-million and 34-million carats, from the previous target of 33-million to 35-million carats, amid ongoing operational challenges and expected lower production from the final cut at its Venetia mine, in South Africa`s Limpopo province.

Output in 2020 had decreased by 18% to 25.1-million carats, compared with the 30.78-million carats produced in 2019.

De Beers` production in Botswana decreased by 29% year-on-year to 16.56-million carats, while its operations in Namibia produced 15% less at 1.45-million carats.

The Canadian operations produced 3.32-million carats – also a 15% year-on-year decrease.

De Beers` South African operations, however, increased production by 96% year-on-year to 3.77-million carats.

Meanwhile, group rough diamond production for the fourth quarter decreased by 14% year-on-year to 6.7-million carats. This was the result of continued planned reductions in response to the lower demand for rough diamonds caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and operational challenges at Orapa that led to lower-than-expected production.

In Botswana, fourth-quarter production decreased by 28% to 4.3-million carats, driven by the planned treatment of lower-grade material at Jwaneng, where production decreased by 56%. This was partly offset by a 9% increase at Orapa owing to a planned improvement in grade, despite a slower than anticipated plant restart in December following scheduled maintenance, as well as power supply interruptions affecting plant availability.

Production in Namibia decreased by 26% to 300 000 ct for the fourth quarter, as the majority of the marine fleet remobilised during the quarter, following a third-quarter stoppage.

South African production increased to 1.3-million carats as a result of the expected improvement in ore grade from the last cut of the openpit at Venetia as the mine continues to transition to underground operations.

Production in Canada decreased by 23% to 800 000 ct, as maintenance resulted in lower plant throughput.

De Beers notes that demand for rough diamonds showed positive trends in the fourth quarter and that indications are that encouraging levels of consumer demand for diamond jewellery continued during the holiday season in the US, while China also performed well.

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