De Beers has increased its production forecasts for 2018 and the coming years, as the miner anticipates solid consumer demand.
The diamond company expects output for the current year to reach 35 million to 36 million carats, the highest level since 2008, whereas it recovered 33.5 million carats in 2017, parent company Anglo American said Tuesday.
Recovery levels will dip to between 31 million and 33 million carats in 2019 due to the Venetia mine in South Africa shifting from an open-pit to an underground operation, and the closure of the Victor mine in Canada. However, it will then grow to between 33 million and 35 million carats in 2020, rising to a range of 35 million to 37 million carats in 2021.
The increases are mainly due to the progress De Beers anticipates at Venetia during the asset’s transition, alongside greater output at its Botswana mines, a company spokesperson told Rapaport News. It expects to mine a high-grade section of Venetia in 2021, resulting in the jump in total production for that year.
“Consumer demand is indeed also a factor as we consider anticipated demand as an integral part of our production planning,” the spokesperson added.
De Beers had previously planned to unearth 34 million to 36 million carats this year, and 32 million carats for both 2019 and 2020. Bruce Cleaver, the miner’s CEO, earlier this year predicted global production was due to peak, without any significant rise for “some time.”
De Beers’ production increased 3% year on year to 26.2 million carats in the first nine months of 2018, while its sales volume fell 11% to 23.9 million carats for the period, Anglo American reported in October.
Image: Trucks at the Venetia mine in South Africa. (De Beers)