By Michelle Graff
Alrosa saw sales drop but production pick up in Q3 due to a new deposit and improved efficiencies at one of its kimberlite pipes. Pictured here is the mining company’s Udachny open-pit mine that consists of two pipes, Udachnaya and Zarnitsa, and is known for its big diamonds. (Photo courtesy of Alrosa)
Moscow—Oversupply in the midstream continues to impact the industry’s diamond miners, though Alrosa said the latter half of Q3 marked a “turning point” in destocking.

The Moscow-based miner reported a 5 percent year-over-year decline in all diamond sales (gem quality and industrial) in the third quarter to 6.4 million carats. Gem-quality rough diamond sales specifically fell 8 percent, as cutters and retailers continued to reduce their respective stocks.

Year-to-date, sales are down 13 percent to 25.3 million carats, mainly due to a 14 percent drop-off in demand for gem-quality rough.

In value terms, sales shrank 37 percent year-over-year to $601 million in the third quarter and are down 34 percent on the year to $2.39 billion.

Weaker demand for diamond jewelry, particularly in the United States and China, caused the decline, Alrosa said, as did the continuing difficulty midstream producers face in securing financing.

Also contributing is consolidation and increasing online sales on the retail end of the business.

There are fewer businesses, and many of those that remain require less stock—either because they are e-tailers or brick-and-mortar retailers that have gotten more efficient with inventory management—which, in turn, means cutting and polishing companies need to buy less rough from miners.

However, Alrosa said rough diamond sales recovered in the latter half of the third quarter, marking a turning point in the scramble to destock and “creating a basis for the market recovery in the future.”
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While sales were down in the third quarter, Alrosa’s production rose 15 year-over-year to 12.1 million carats, buoyed by mining at a new deposit, V. Munskoye, and increased production at the Botuobinskaya kimberlite pipe.

V. Munskoye is part of the Udachny Division, which also includes the Udachnaya and Zarnitsa pipes and alluvial deposits in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia); Udachnaya is the kimberlite pipe that just yielded a 232-carat diamond.

Also located in Yakutia, the Botuobinskaya pipe falls under the Nyurba Division, which also includes the Nyurbinskaya pipe and alluvial deposits.

Year-to-date, Alrosa’s production has totaled 29.7 million carats, up 12 percent year-over-year.

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