Anglo American’s latest production report says total De Beers production decreased by 8% to 7.9 million carats during the first quarter of 2019. This drop in output was largely credited by the Group to the by a reduction in South Africa (DBCM).â€¨â€¨Debswana, a 50:50 joint venture with the Botswana government saw production increase by 2% to 6.0 million carats.
This was driven by Jwaneng production increasing by 12%, as planned, to 3.3 million. Orapa production decreased by 7% as a result of a plant shutdown in the period. Debswana is the world’s number one diamond producer in terms of value and the world’s number two in terms of volume. The Production Report is for the first quarter ended 31 March 2019. "Improving global macroeconomic conditions remain supportive of consumer demand growth for polished diamonds in 2019," De Beers has said.
In Namibia, Namdeb Holdings’ production decreased by 9% to 0.5 million carats. This was driven by the land operation transitioning Elizabeth Bay to care and maintenance. Debmarine Namibia production was in line with Q1 2018 at 0.4 million carats. As for South Africa, DBCM production reduced by 65% to 0.4 million carats due to lower mined volumes at Venetia as it approaches the transition from open pit to underground. Voorspoed was placed onto care and maintenance in Q4 2018 in preparation for closure.
Meanwhile the Canada production reduced by 3% to 1.0 million carats due to planned lower grades at Gahcho Kué. Rough diamond sales volumes were 7.5 million carats (7.2 million carats on a consolidated basis(3)) from two sales cycles compared with 8.8 million carats (8.4 million carats on a consolidated basis(3)) from the same number of sales cycles in Q1 2018 as overall demand for low value rough diamonds remained subdued in the quarter.
Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “Production is 6% lower in the quarter, with two planned longwall moves at Metallurgical Coal accounting for 80% of the reduction. Isolated production issues at Venetia (De Beers), Kumba Iron Ore and Platinum Group Metals made up the balance, mitigated by stronger operational performance from Copper, with a 4% production increase, and the ramp-up at Minas-Rio, which is ahead of plan following the restart of operations in December 2018.
By the end of the quarter we had increased our production run-rate, are on track to deliver this year’s production targets and our guidance is unchanged.” The company this week also announced that full year production guidance of 31-33 million carats, a slight decline when compared to 2018 Q1 which was projected at 34-36 million carats, subject to trading conditions.
According to the report, rough diamond sales volumes were 7.5 million carats (7.2 million carats on a consolidated basis) from two sales cycles compared with 8.8 million carats (8.4 million carats on a consolidated basis3) from the same number of sales cycles in Q1 2018 as overall demand for low value rough diamonds remained subdued in the quarter.
Meanwhile Copper production increased by 4% to 161,100 tonnes due to strong plant performance and planned higher grades. On the other hand Platinum and palladium production decreased by 5% to 471,900 ounces and by 6%(2) to 326,600 ounces, respectively, due to operational challenges as well as one-off benefits in Q1 2018. The Anglo American report further states that the Kumba’s iron ore production decreased by 12% to 9.5 million tonnes due to plant maintenance.
Minas-Rio’s iron ore production increased by 61% as its ramp-up progresses well, facilitated by access to higher grade ore in the Step 3 licence area. As for Metallurgical coal, production decreased by 25% to 4.2 million tonnes with two longwall moves in the period compared to only one in Q1 2018. Thermal coal export production decreased by 2% to 6.6 million tonnes, with solid operational performance across the South African mines offset by lower production at Cerrejón due to dust management.
Production from Los Bronces increased by 8% to 91,700 tonnes, driven by higher grades (0.80% vs. 0.71%), in line with the mine plan. At Collahuasi, attributable production decreased by 5% to 57,300 tonnes reflecting planned lower grades (1.16% vs. 1.24%), partially offset by continued strong plant performance. The planned three-month shutdown of Line 3 (responsible for around 60% of plant throughput), to replace the stator motor at the second ball mill, commenced during Q2 2019. El Soldado production increased by 30% to 12,100 tonnes as a result of planned higher grades (0.84% vs. 0.67%).
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.