By Michelle Graff
London--De Beers parent company Anglo American announced that the full restoration of operations at one of its mines led to a 21 percent increase in production in volume terms for De Beers.

According to third quarter results released Friday by the London-based mining company, De Beers mined 7.7 million carats of diamonds in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with 6.4 million in the third quarter last year.

Anglo said the increase mainly was due to the full restoration of operations at the Jwaneng mine in Botswana following a slope failure at the mine in June 2012. In addition, production at the Snap Lake mine in Canada was significantly higher due to increased mining volumes and grade.

Offsetting the increase was unplanned maintenance at one of the two Orapa processing plants in Botswana, operated by Debswana, the joint venture between De Beers and the Government of the Republic of Botswana. Overall, Debswana’s third quarter production fell 14 percent due to the problems at Orapa and lower grades at Jwaneng.  

Year-to-date, De Beers’ diamond production increased 11 percent from 19.8 million carats to 22.0 million carats.

De Beers remains the world’s No. 1 diamond producer by value. (Russian mining company Alrosa is No. 1 by volume). The Oppenheimer family owned De Beers for eight decades but in late 2011 news emerged that the family would sell their remaining 40 percent stake in the business to Anglo American, a transaction that was completed in August 2012.

In addition to De Beers, London-based Anglo American mines platinum and rhodium, as well as iron ore, manganese, coal, copper, nickel, niobium and phosphates.

Among the company’s significant transactions for third quarter was its September announcement that it was backing out of the proposed Pebble mine in Alaska, a project that has drawn ire from local residents, environmental groups and a number of retail jewelers, which vowed never to source gold mined from Pebble.

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