Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

De Beers sold $425m (R6.12bn) worth of rough diamonds at its tenth sale of 2019 in Botswana, Anglo American said on Wednesday.

The figure is an almost 22% decline on the corresponding sale in 2018.

“Following continued polished diamond price stability in the lead-up to the final sales cycle of the year, we saw further signs of steady demand for rough diamonds during Sight 10,” De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said in a statement.

Anglo’s De Beers unit will mine one-million carats less than previously forecast in both 2020 and 2021, according to an investor presentation in December, Bloomberg reported.

That equates to less than 1% of global output, but slows the pace of the company’s expansion as an oversupply of rough diamonds weighs on the industry.

De Beers’s buyers have grown increasingly frustrated with the cost of rough stones as the price of polished gems slump. That’s led to wafer-thin margins and losses for some of the traders buying stones from De Beers and its Russian rival, Alrosa.

Even so, the company’s production is still set to rise to as much as 34-million carats in 2020, from 31-million carats in 2019.

With Bloomberg

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za