Namdeb Holdings diamonds helped push De Beers’ profits after they were sold at an average price of US$539 per carat in 2017, the highest in the world’s leading diamond company’s production, financial results released on Thursday showed.
The price per carat for 2016 was US$528.
Namibia has the best gem quality diamonds in the world, under the De Beers production.
Namdeb Holdings is made up of Debmarine Namibia, which mines in the Atlantic Ocean and the land based operations called Namdeb.
In comparison, diamonds produced in Botswana - the biggest producer in the world – sold for an average price of US$159 per carat, while diamonds mined in South Africa sold for US$129 per carat.
Underlying EBITDA increased by 2% to US$1,44 million (2016: $1,4 million.
Results also show that Namibia has the highest cost per unit per carat of US$257 compared to US$28 for Botswana, US$62 for South Africa and US$57 for Canada.
During 2017, Namdeb Holdings’ production increased by 15 percent to 1,8 million carats (compared to 1,6 million in 2016), primarily due to higher production from Debmarine Namibia’s Mafuta vessel, driven by higher mining rates following an extended scheduled in-port maintenance during 2016.
Production from Namdeb’s land based operations rose by 6 percent despite challenging conditions, including grade variability owing to the nature of alluvial deposits, structural cost pressures, and some operations nearing the end of their lives.
De Beers’ capital expenditure reduced by 48 percent to US$273 million mainly owing to the completion of major projects, including Debmarine Namibia’s new exploration and sampling vessel, the SS Nujoma.
The SS Nujoma, which was delivered three months ahead of schedule and under budget, was officially inaugurated in June 2017 and is fully operational.
In Botswana, Debswana increased production by 11 percent to 22,7 million carats (2016: 20,5 million carats).
In South Africa (DBCM), production increased by 23 percent to 5,2 million carats (2016: 4,2 million carats while in Canada, production increased to 3,8 million carats (2016: 1 million carats).
In terms of the outlook for this year, De Beers said improving global macro-economic conditions remain supportive of consumer demand growth for polished diamonds in 2018.
“The degree of global economic growth, however, will be dependent upon a number of factors, including the extent of the positive impact on growth in consumer spending from US tax cuts, the strength of the dollar on consumer demand in non-dollar-denominated countries, and how successfully China manages its adjustment to a more domestic consumer-driven economy.”
For its overall production, rough diamond production increased by 22 percent to 33,5 million carats (2016: 27,3 million carats).