De Beers’ rough diamond production rose 12 percent to 9.1 million carats in the fourth quarter of last year, bringing total production for 2018 to 35.3 million carats.
The company traced the upward movement to a planned production increase at Orapa2 mine, although this was in the lower half of the production guidance range of 35 to 36 million carats.
Rough output at its Botswana (Debswana) facility was up 15 percent to 6.3 million carats, with Orapa2 reporting a 20 percent production increase to 3.6 million carats, driven by planned favourable grade and higher plant utilisation. Jwaneng production rose 9 percent following an increase in tonnes treated.
Production in Namibia (Namdeb Holdings) was 3 percent higher at 505,000 carats while in South Africa (De Beers Consolidated Mines), output was up 7 percent to 1.2 million carats as a result of planned higher-grade ore at Venetia.
In Canada, rough diamond output rose 5 percent at 1.0 million carats due to higher grades at Victor.
Rough diamond sales meanwhile totalled 9.9 million carats from three sales cycles, compared with 8.2 million carats in 2017.
The consolidated average realised price of US$171 per carat was 6 percent higher from 2017 due to a lower proportion of lower-value rough diamonds sold in 2018.
De Beers’ 2019 production guidance is 31 to 33 million carats, subject to trading conditions, the comapany said.