London--Diamond miner and marketer De Beers cut diamond production by nearly a third in the third quarter as diamond sales remain sluggish. 

Parent company Anglo American reported Thursday that diamond production for the third quarter totaled 6 million carats, compared with more than 8 million carats in the third quarter 2014, a 27 percent drop. 

De Beers decided to reduce production to “better reflect current trading conditions.” 

De Beers noted that global diamond demand remains slow.The company also decreased its full-year production guidance to approximately 29 million carats, down from the earlier projection of 29 to 31 million carats. 

The greatest drop in production came from Debswana, the mines De Beers operates in Botswana in cooperation with the government there. Debswana’s third quarter production was down 35 percent year-over-year to 4.1 million carats. Current trading conditions led De Beers to prioritize maintenance over mining at both Jwaneng and Orapa.

Production in South Africa, meanwhile, was down 8 percent but increased 4 percent in Namibia. 

De Beers Canada increased production 11 percent, due mainly to improved grades at the Snap Lake mine there. 

Russian diamond mining company Alrosa also released third quarter, as well as year-to-date, production results this week.

In the third quarter, the company mined 11.6 million carats of diamonds, up 20 percent year-over-year and up 21 percent from the second quarter. 

Year-to-date, Alrosa has mined 29.6 million carats of diamonds, a 16 percent year-over-year increase. 

While Alrosa continues to increased production despite the slowdown in the diamond market, the worldwide drop in demand is reflected in the mining company’s sales.

Preliminary third quarter and year-to-date sales figures show that Alrosa sold 23 million carats of diamonds in the first nine months of the year, with rough diamond sales reaching $2.7 billion. Both figures are down from the same nine-month period last year.

Third quarter diamond sales and revenue also are down year-over-year.

Alrosa stated that gem-quality rough diamond prices declined by 8 percent in the third quarter, in line with the slowdown in the diamond market. 

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De Beers and Alrosa, the world’s two largest diamond mining companies, have been under pressure all year to reduce rough prices and decrease demand as polished prices have slipped in the face of faltering global demand.   


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