Production | Diamonds
Jwaneng Mine, the world’s most richest by value and Debswana ‘s largest revenue contributor continued to deliver the magic inthe year 2021, anchoring the company ‘s production to almost pre covid pandemic levels, just 2 million carats short of the 2019 output of 24 million carats and about 6 million carats more than 2020’s 16 million carats.
In 2020 Debswana a 50/50 joint venture between Botswana Government and global diamond behemoth De Beers Group, slowed down production in response to lower demand and subdued trade across the value chain.
Debswana closed the year 2021 on a higher note with production increasing by 23% to 5.2 million carats in the last quarter of the year, primarily as a result of the planned treatment of higher grade ore at Jwaneng, albeit partly offset by lower production at Orapa due to the planned closure of Plant 1 in late 2020.
The Orapa No. 1 plant, which started operating in 1972 was permanently shut down due to low profitability, structural deterioration that presents increasing challenges regarding safety management, as well as high expenditure on structural repairs and operating costs.
Overall Rough diamond production at De Beers increased by 15% to 7.7 million carats inthe last quarter of 2021, reflecting planned higher production of rough diamonds to meet continued strong levels of demand.
Namibia production increased by 16% to 0.4 million carats reflecting a reduction in the scheduled maintenance time for the marine fleet.
South Africa production was in line with the prior year at 1.3 million carats, as planned plant maintenance in Q4 2021 was offset by processing of higher grade ore.Production in Canada was broadly flat.
In total De Beers recovered 32,2 million carat in 2021, a 29 % increase from 25.1 million carats mined in 2020. Of this 32.2 million 2021 production, Botswana (Debswana) accounted for 69 % at 22.3 million, underscoring its position as a major fabric of the entire De Beers Group, by far..!Jwaneng alone at over 12 million carats surpassed all other De Beers operations in Canada, South Africa, Namibia combined.
Demand for rough diamonds remained robust, with positive midstream sentiment and strong demand for diamond jewellery continuing over the holiday period, particularly in the key US consumer market.
Rough diamond sales for 2021 totalled 7.7 million carats (7.2 million carats on a consolidated basis)(2) from three Sights, compared with 6.9 million carats (6.4million carats on a consolidated basis)(2) from two Sights in Q4 2020, and 7.8 million carats (7.0 million carats on a consolidated basis)(2) from two Sights in Q3 2021.
The full year consolidated average realised price increased by 10% to $146/ct (2020: $133/ct), primarily as a result of positive market sentiment which gave rise to a strengthening of the rough price index.
Production guidance for 2022 is 30–33 million carats (100% basis), subject to trading conditions and the extent of further Covid-19 related disruptions.