De Beers reported that diamond production for the fourth quarter of 2015 decreased 16% to 7.1 million carats, saying the figures reflected the decision to reduce production in response to trading conditions. At its largest mining unit, Debswana, production decreased 21% to 4.7 million carats, as a result of a reduction in tonnes treated at Jwaneng and Orapa. Production in Namibia dropped 18% to 400,000 carats, and in Canada, output was down 8% to 400,000 carats. However, in South Africa, production increased slightly to 1.5 million carats.
Rough diamond sales in the quarter were 3.6 million carats, compared with 3.0 million carats in the third quarter of 2015. "This reflected the weaker trading conditions and higher pipeline stocks that impacted upon the midstream," the miner said in a statement. For all of 2015, volumes decreased by 39% to 19.9 million carats (20.6 million carats on a 100% basis including all sales by joint ventures). De Beers added that its rough price index was on average 8% lower in 2015 than in 2014, with the index falling by 15% over the course of the year. However, the average realized price at $207 per carat was 5% higher than in 2014 due to a higher quality average product mix.