De Beers has reported a strong first six months of the year, with revenues increasing to $3.6 billion, up from $2.9 billion in 2021. This it said came as the midstream of the diamond pipeline replenished stocks following healthy consumer demand over the holiday season. Regarding the second half of 2022, the diamond mining conglomerate was more reserved, suggesting that short term challenges could impact spending in the marketplace.
During the first six months of 2021, De Beers stated, rough diamond sales rose to a value of $3.3 billion, from $2.6 billion a year earlier. Rough diamond sales volumes totaled 15.3 million carats, up from 19.2 million carats, with period of comparison having benefited from very strong demand recovery following the impact of COVID 19 in 2020.
The average realized price during the first half of 2022 rose by 58 percent to $213 per carat, up from $135 per carat, which De Beers said was driven by a larger proportion of higher value rough diamonds sold, as well as growth in own rough diamond price index.
The rough price index increased by 28 percent compared with the same period in the prior year, reflecting positive consumer demand for diamond jewellery as well as tightness in inventories across the diamond value chain.
ROUGH PRODUCTION UP 10 PERCENT
De Beers rough diamond production increased by 10 percent to 16.9 million carats, compared to 15.4 million carats on output during the first six months last year. This, De Beers said, reflected a strong operational performance and higher planned levels of production to meet continued strong demand for rough diamonds, while the first quarter of 2021 was affected by particularly high rainfall in Botswana and at Venetia in South Africa.
In Botswana, production increased by 10 percent to 11.7 million carats, up from 10.7 million carats, owing to increased processing at both the Orapa and Jwaneng mines, as well as planned higher grade at Orapa.
The Orapa Mine in Botswana, where both an increase in the volume and grade of production were reported.
Namibia production increased by 50 percent to 1.0 million carats, from about 700,000 carats during the equivalent period in 2021, primarily due to continued strong performance from the new diamond recovery vessel, the Benguela Gem, in the first quarter of 2022.
South Africa production increased by 20percent to 2.9 million carats due to the treatment of higher grade ore from the final cut of the open pit at Venetia.
Production in Canada decreased by 22 percent to 1.2 million carats, primarily as a result of treating lower grade ore and COVID 19 related absenteeism.
De Beers’ newest sea-going diamond recovery vessel, the Benguela Gem.
REDUCED CONSUMER DEMAND POSSIBLE
De Beers said that demand rough diamonds remained robust throughout the first half of the year, supported by strong U.S. consumer demand for diamond jewelry, tightness in global rough diamond supply and De Beers’ focus on enhanced provenance assurance for its rough diamonds through its blockchain-backed Tracr technology platform.
But, while consumer desire for natural diamonds continues to be robust in key consumer markets, a deterioration in global macro-economic conditions and significant inflation in the key markets could result in reduced consumer spending impacting demand for diamond jewellery.
Still, said the company in its earnings announcement, despite the near term challenges and uncertainties, the long term outlook for diamond jewellery demand remains positive, while the global supply of rough diamonds is expected to slightly decline owing to the lack of recent discoveries.
De Beers expects its annual production to stand between 32 million and 34 million carats, subject to trading conditions and the extent of further COVID 19 related disruptions.