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Debswana production drops in Q3

MBONGENI MGUNI
Debswana is expected to ramp up its production in the last quarter
Debswana’s mines produced 5.7 million carats in the third quarter of the year, nine percent down from the second quarter due to planned volume reductions, figures released by the diamond giant this week show.

According to Anglo American’s third quarter production figures, output at Orapa dropped 21% quarter on quarter to 2.6 million carats, while at Jwaneng it rose marginally to 3.14 million carats from 3.03 million carats.

Anglo American owns 85% of De Beers, with the balance held by the Government of Botswana. De Beers, in turn, owns 50% of Debswana with the balance held by the Government of Botswana. “Botswana production decreased by six percent to 5.7 million carats due to the planned processing of lower grade material at Jwaneng. Production at Orapa remained in line with Q3 2017 at 2.6 million carats,” Anglo’s production report reads.

Despite the slower third quarter, Debswana appears on track to hit its 23.8 million carat target for 2018, as its mines had produced 17.8 million carats in the year to September 30. By comparison, the mines had produced 17.2 million over the corresponding period last year.

Should Debswana make the target, 2018 production will be the highest since 2014 when Jwaneng, Orapa and Letlhakane produced 24.2 million carats. In

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2015, Debswana dug up 20.4 million carats, followed by 20.5 million in 2016 and 22.7 million in 2017.

For the year to September 30, De Beers’ mines around the world including Debswana produced 26.2 million carats, well on track to hit the target of between 34 and 36 million carats.

“Full year production guidance remains at 34-36 million carats but is expected to be at the higher end of the range,” Anglo said in its report.

The diamond group will be hoping for an improvement in its recoveries and prices, for the rest of the year. Available data shows that De Beers’ prices per carat have been under pressure this year due to lower value stones being recovered and offered for sale.

Finance Ministry figures show that while Debswana sold 10.9 million carats in the first half of this year earning US$1.5 billion, last year over the same period, the group sold 10.5 million carats and earned US$1.6 billion.



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