Southern Times Writer
Harare – Botswana’s diamond production decreased in the second quarter of 2019.
According to the Bank of Botswana, Debswana produced 5.7 million carats of diamonds in the second quarter of 2019, a decrease of 8.9 percent compared to the same period in 2018, mainly due to lower production at Orapa Mine which decreased by 23.3 percent in the second quarter following a planned plant shut down. Production at Jwaneng Mine increased by 6.5 percent in the same period. Lucara Diamond Corporation (Karowe Mine) output increased by 34.1 percent to 109 312 carats5 in the second quarter of 2019, from 81 507 carats in the corresponding period in 2018.
“The increase in production is attributable to improved efficiency in the recovery of smaller sized diamonds. During the second quarter of 2019, a total of 225 special stones (single diamonds larger than 10.8 carats) were recovered, including ten diamonds greater than 100 carats.
Special stones accounted for 8.1 percent of total carats recovered during the period. Overall, for 2019, Karowe Mine anticipates producing between 375 000 and 420 000 carats, higher than 366 086 carats recovered in 2018,” stated the bank in their August monetary policy report.
The report further stated that, the global rough diamond price index decreased by 0.4 percent from 147.56 in the first quarter of 2019 to 146.99 in the second quarter due to higher than expected increase in polished diamond inventories which suppressed manufacturers’ demand for rough diamonds.
“Moreover, the decline reflects the deteriorating consumer and investor sentiment, excess supply of smaller diamonds and underperformance in the Indian consumer market. Similarly, the global polished diamond price index decreased by 0.62 percent from 215.8 in the first quarter of 2019 to 214.43 in the second quarter.
“This was due to the weaker demand for diamond jewellery and liquidity constraints forcing retailers to sell at a discount, in order to raise funds for bank loans repayments. In addition, the recent street protests in Hong Kong have dented sales of luxury goods, including diamond jewellery,“ highlighted the report