Botswana's Rough Diamond Exports Down 13% in 2017 as Average Price Falls

Mining and Exploration
02/02/2018 12:22

According to statistics from the Bank of Botswana, Botswana’s rough diamond exports fell by 13 percent in 2017 to $3.48 billion compared to $4.02 billion a year ago due to weak prices comparative to 2016, and weaker demand particularly in the second half of the year. While Botswana’s Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) - which sells 15% of Debswana's production - posted a 4 percent jump in sales to $567 million in 2017, De Beers’ rough diamond sales fell 5% to an estimated $5.31 billion last year. Debswana, a diamond-mining joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government, accounts for a large portion of Botswana’s total exports.

De Beers consolidated sales volumes for the entire year were 33.1 million carats (2016: 30.0 million carats), while total sales volumes, which are comparable to production, were 35.1 million carats (2016: 32.0 million carats). However, the full year consolidated average realized price of $162/ct was 13% lower than in 2016, and has been falling for several consecutive years. The company sold at a lower average price as manufacturers sought smaller, lower-value rough, causing demand for lower value goods held in stock at 31 December 2016 to surge following a recovery from the initial impact of India’s demonetization program in late 2016. Furthermore, the company ramped up of production from lower value per carat but high margin operations, including Orapa and Gahcho Kué. The lower value mix was partially offset by a higher average rough price index, up three percent compared with 2016.