Botswana’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) reported that diamond mining production slumped by 33% during the third quarter of last year due to mines that were closed in response to falling rough diamond prices on world markets. Debswana, jointly owned by De Beers and the Botswana government which mines the vast majority of the country's diamonds, reduced output level at Orapa Plant 1 and also closed the Damtshaa mine.
The figures are likely to have improved substantially when the figures for the first quarter of this year are published later in the year given the healthy demand for rough goods by sightholders and others. De Beers this week announced that its third sales cycle of the year last week saw provisional sales of $660 million, with combined sales for the first quarter of this year of just over $1.8 billion. Demand was so strong that De Beers was even able to slightly raise prices. Around two-thirds of De Beers' production comes from Botswana.