By Michelle Graff
Diamond production fell 14 percent for De Beers in the second quarter and the company has cut guidance for the full year. Pictured here is a file photo of De Beers’ Gahcho Kué mine in Canada, which opened in 2016.
London—De Beers’ rough diamond production tumbled 14 percent in Q2 and the company is lowering its guidance for the full year in response to “subdued” demand.

The diamond miner and marketer reported Thursday that it recovered 7.7 million carats of rough diamonds in the second quarter 2019, down from 9 million in the same period last year.

The bulk of the second-quarter decline came from pre-planned cutbacks or closings.

Production in South Africa plummeted 44 percent year-over-year to 600,000 carats due to lower mined volumes at Venetia, which De Beers is transitioning from an open-pit to an underground operation, and the planned shutdown of production at Voorspoed.

The closing of Voorspoed leaves De Beers with just one diamond mine in South Africa, Venetia.

In Namibia, production dropped 35 percent to 335,000 carats due to the closure of the Elizabeth Bay mine and planned maintenance for the Mafuta crawler vessel, which mines diamonds in the ocean.

Production was down 9 percent to 1.1 million carats in Canada due to planned lower grades at Gahcho Kué, and fell 9 percent in Botswana—De Beers’ largest producing country by a wide margin—to 5.7 million carats due to a scheduled plant shutdown at Orapa.

Gahcho Kué  is De Beers’ only remaining diamond mine in Canada following the planned closure of Victor in the second quarter 2019.

De Beers said Thursday that it is cutting its production guidance for the year from 31-33 million to 31 million carats in response to “weaker trading conditions.”

The diamond miner and marketer also mentioned the drop-off in demand for diamonds when reporting on sales and rough diamond prices so far this year.

RELATED CONTENT: Diamond Sales Down 33% in De Beers’ Latest Cycle

Rough diamond sales totaled 9 million carats in the first three sales cycles of the year, down 10 percent from 10 million carats in the same period last year.

“Demand for rough diamonds remains subdued as a result of challenges in the midstream with higher polished inventories, and caution due to macro-economic uncertainty, including U.S.-China trade tensions,” De Beers said.

Average realized rough diamond prices are down 7 percent from $162/carat to $151/carat, driven by a 4 percent reduction in the average rough price index and weaker conditions prompting the sale of more lower-priced goods.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.