Namibia records 9% increase in diamond production

Johannes !Gawaxab

Namibia, one of the top diamond miners in southern Africa, produced 2,327 million carats of rough diamonds last year, recording a 9% increase from the 2,137 million carats produced in the previous year.

According to the latest figures released by De Beers, Namdeb’s land-based production increased by 14% to 468 000 carats from 412 000 carats in the previous year during the period under review, while in the fourth quarter it recorded a 13% decline in production to 151 000 carats.

Meanwhile, Debmarine Namibia’s off-shore production for 2023 increased by 8% to 1,859 million carats from 1,725 million carats in 2022.

In the fourth quarter, Debmarine produced 439 000 carats.

De Beers operates as a joint venture partner with the government through Namdeb Holdings, where each entity holds a 50% stake.

Namdeb manages land-based diamond mines, while Debmarine operates offshore licences.

According to mininandenergy.com, Namibia’s total production in fourth quarter declined by 4% to 590 000 carats due to marginally lower grades at the country’s land operations.

In South Africa, De Beers’ production decreased by 54% to 400 000 carats due to the planned end of Venetias open-pit operations in December 2022, while Botswana’s production increased by 6% to 6,1 million carats, driven by increased plant throughput at Orape due to planned lower maintenance.

De Beers’ production guidance for 2024 remains unchanged at 29 to 32 million carats, but the company will, however, assess options to reduce production in response to prevailing market conditions.

Meanwhile, miningandenergy.com reports that Namibia’s diamond exports decreased by N$1,2 billion for October, as diamond prices in the country have been declining in recent months.

According to the Bank of Namibia, the rising demand for synthetic diamonds has led to softening prices for diamonds.

“Diamond prices continued to decline since the last monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting due to persistent lacklustre global consumer demand amid the rising supply of lab-grown diamonds, while food prices also fell – mainly as a result of the oversupply of some food products,” Bank of Namibia governor Johannes !Gawaxab said while announcing the 7,7% repo rate, which remained unchanged.

“However, the price of gold has risen most recently due to safe haven considerations and expectations that United States interest rates have peaked.

“The uranium spot price continued to increase since the last MPC meeting, supported by higher demand for cleaner, safe and secure energy, as well as supply interruptions,” he said.

According to the Trade Statistics Bulletin, uranium had the largest share of 19% of Namibia’s total exports ahead of fish, with 16,1% and non-monetary gold with 14,7% during October 2023.

Petroleum oils accounted for 8,4% of exports in the fourth position and precious stones (diamonds) came in fifth position, contributing 79%.

– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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