De Beers diamond production drops 15%

Diamond production at De Beers decreased by 15% to 7.8 million carats in Q4.

Anglo American (LON:AAL) reported fourth-quarter and full-year production results today, including diamond output from its subsidiary De Beers.

The production drop was caused by mine maintenance, mine closures and responding to “…softer rough diamond demand conditions experienced in the year.”

“In 2019, overall demand for rough diamonds was lower as a result of challenges in the midstream, with higher polished inventories and caution due to macro-economic uncertainty,” wrote the company.

Full-year production was down 13% to 30,776 carats, compared to the year prior. Anglo American set 2020 guidance at 32-34 million carats.

“The higher production anticipates an improvement in trading conditions compared with 2019, and is driven by an expected increase in production from Venetia,” wrote the company.

Platinum Group Metals

Anglo American’s PGM unit was up in Q4. The company increased platinum and palladium volumes 10% due to higher grades and throughput. Platinum and palladium production came in at 531,700 ounces and 360,400 ounces, respectively.

The company said production guidance in 2020 will be between 2.0 and 2.2 million ounces of platinum and approximately 1.4 million ounces of palladium. Production is dependent upon South Africa’s power producer, Eskom.


Copper production was down in Q4.

“Copper production decreased by 13% to 158,800 tonnes, largely impacted by a reduction at Los Bronces, driven by the continued drought conditions in central Chile, partially offset by continued strong plant performance at Collahuasi,” wrote the company. “Chile´s central zone continues to face unprecedented climate conditions, with 2019 being one of the driest years on record and the driest since the start of the current decade-long drought.”

Full-year copper guidance is between 620,000 and 670,000 tonnes, subject to water availability.

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