De Beers’ rough diamond production declined by 5% to 8.7 million carats in the third quarter due to planned reductions in mining volumes in Botswana and South Africa, the miner announced today. In Botswana, production at the Jwaneng mine declined by 6% to 5.7 million carats due to the planned processing of lower grade material. Production at the Orapa mine remained in line with Q3 2017 at 2.6 million carats. A planned shutdown at the Venetia mine in South Africa to upgrade the processing plant ahead of the transition from open cut to underground operations led to a 14% fall in production to 1.3 million carats at De Beers Consolidated Mines.
Meanwhile, De Beers' Canadian production grew 5% to 1.2 million carats driven by higher grades at the Victor mine, which is approaching the end of its life and slated for closure in 2019. Its share of production (51%) at Gahcho Kué, which it owns in partnership with Mountain Province Diamonds, remained at about 930,000 carats. De Beers says production in Namibia was flat at 460,000 carats.
The volume of rough diamond sales tumbled from 6.9 million carats in Q3 2017 to 5 million carats in Q3 2018, a decline of nearly 28%, as a result of De Beers giving sightholders the opportunity during the seventh sight of 2018 to re-phase the allocation of some smaller, lower value rough diamonds. Rough sales revenues were broadly in line with those in Q3 2017. Overall production during the first nine months of the year has increased by 3% to 26.2 million carats, while sales have fallen by 11% to 23.9 million carats. De Beers reiterates its prior production guidance at 34 to 36 million carats but says it should fall at the higher end of the range.