Image source: Debswana
January 30, 2015
By Paul Zimnisky
De Beers' parent, Anglo American Plc (LSE: AAL), reported Q4 2014 production results on January 28th 2015. Company-wide production decreased 8% to 8.4M (million) carats year-over-year as lower grades were realized at 2 key mines, Orapa and Venetia, and a safety stoppage halted production at Snap Lake. However, quarter-over-quarter production increased 2% due to higher output at Venetia.
Total company-wide production for full-year 2014 was 32.6M carats, a 5% year-over-year increase.
De Beers has 11 primary operating mines: 4 in Botswana; 3 in South Africa; 2 in Namibia; and 2 in Canada, which are split into four respective divisions: Debswana; De Beers Consolidated Mines; Namdeb; and De Beers Canada.
Orapa, the largest diamond mine in the world by production value and volume, produced 2.73M carats in the quarter, taking total 2014 production to 12.07M carats, a 6% YOY increase. Orapa realized higher grades in 2014 and the mine's processing plant resumed normal operations following unplanned maintenance in 2013. Jwaneng, the worlds second largest diamond mine by value and volume, produced 3.08M carats during the quarter, totaling 11.31M carats in 2014. Year-over-year, or YOY, production at Jwaneng increased 9% on favorable grades and as the mine recovered from a slope failure which stalled production in 2013. Letlhakane and Damtshaa produced 83K and 94K carats during the period, and 548K and 303K in calendar year 2014, respectively. The four mines above represent Debswana which is a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers and the Republic of Botswana.
In Q4, Venetia produced 1.06M carats, bringing the mines total 2014 production to 3.20M carats, which is in-line with 2013 production. Venetia is currently being converted to an underground mine, which is expected to extend the mine's life by 25 years; first underground production is planned for 2021. Kimberley tailings produced 202K carats in Q4, and 722K carats in full-year 2014. The Voorspoed mine produced 140K carats in the period, and 711K carats in 2014. The three South African mines mentioned above are owned by De Beers Consolidated Mines, a 74/26 joint venture between De Beers and Ponahalo Holdings Ltd.
Debmarine offshore produced 375K carats in Q4, bringing total 2014 production to 1.27M carats, a 10% YOY increase. Mining Area 1, Elizabeth Bay, and Orange River, collectively “Terrestrial Namibia,” produced 121K carats in Q4, and 613K total carats in 2014. Combined, these operations represent Namdeb, a 50/50 join venture between De Beers and the government of Namibia.
In Canada, Snap Lake produced 301M carats in Q4, and 1.20M carats in full-year 2014. The Victor mine produced 178K carats in the quarter, and 647K in full-year 2014. De Beers owns 100% of both Canadian mines.