Nambeb increases first quarter diamond production 5.8% before lockdown applied

Debmarine Namibias Peace in Africa vessel

FIRST quarter diamond production by Namdeb, a joint venture between the Namibian government and De Beers, increased 5.8% year-on-year, said Reuters.

Citing a statement by De Beers, Reuters said Namdeb produced 511,000 carats in the first quarter. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, this was 28,000 carats higher – an increase of 12%, it said.

The bulk of Namdeb Holdings’ first quarter production came from Debmarine Namibia, its sea mining operation, which delivered 417,000 carats in January-March, up 15% year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter.

Mining in Namibia was not disrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter, as the country only went into partial lockdown on March 27, although De Beers Group cancelled a sales event owing to the lockdown, said Reuters.

Before the outbreak of the virus, which has so far infected 16 people in the sparsely populated African nation, diamond mining was touted as one of the drivers of the expected economic recovery. However, the Bankers Association of Namibia and the Economic Association of Namibia both now expect diamond mining to contract by 7.5% or 700 million Namibia dollars in 2020, the newswire said.

De Beers, which also owns diamond mines in Botswana, South Africa and Canada, produced 7.75 million carats in total in the first quarter of 2020, down 1% year-on-year, the data showed.

Anglo American, which owns 85% of De Beers, said it expected a tough year for diamonds in its latest production report.

“In response to the impact of Covid-19 on mining operations … production guidance has been revised to 25-27 million carats (from 32-34 million carats), subject to the timing and scale of the recovery in trading conditions,” Anglo said.