Sharp Decline in De Beers Diamond Production

  • Rough production down 23% to 6.9m carats in Q1 2024
  • Botswana decline notable at 28% to 5.0 million carats
  • Rough sales in notable decline to a mere 4.9m carats
  • But Anglo sees “a glimmer of hope on the horizon”


The world’s leading diamond company, De Beers, grappled with a significant 23 percent decrease in rough diamond production during the first quarter of 2024.

According to a recent report from its parent company, Anglo American, the fall, down to 6.9 million carats, was attributed to strategic shifts in production configurations, orchestrated in response to burgeoning inventory levels within the market and the anticipation of a gradual resurgence in demand for rough diamonds.

Jwaneng and Orapa

Anglo American says the decline reverberated across various production sites, notably in Botswana, where production nosedived by 28 percent to 5.0 million carats.

This downturn was propelled by deliberate reductions at Jwaneng Mine and a transient alteration in plant feed mix at Orapa to accommodate existing surface stockpiles.

Meanwhile, Namibia saw minimal fluctuations, holding steady at 0.6 million carats.


In South Africa, the descent amounted to 19 percent, with production clocking in at 0.6 million carats, largely attributable to the ongoing depletion of lower grade surface stockpiles as Venetia gears up for the planned underground operations ramp-up over the coming years.

Similarly, Canada witnessed a slight dip of 4 percent, registering 0.6 million carats, attributed to the scheduled processing of lower grade ore.

“Despite the setback, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon,” Anglo said. “The demand for rough diamonds started to regain momentum in Q1 2024, spurred by an uptick in demand for diamond jewellery, particularly in the United States during the year-end holiday season.”


The report highlighted the pivotal role played by De Beers in bolstering industry equilibrium through flexible rough diamond allocations in 2023, coupled with the voluntary import hiatus on rough diamonds into India in Q4 2023.

However, lingering economic uncertainties have instilled a sense of caution among sightholders, resulting in a gradual resurgence in rough diamond demand anticipated throughout the remainder of the year.

Consequently, the report shows that rough diamond sales for Q1 2024 amounted to 4.9 million carats, marking a notable decline from the preceding year.

Market dynamics

The consolidated average realised price, however, ascended by an impressive 23 percent to $201/ct. This surge was attributed to a shift in sales mix towards higher-value rough diamonds and the favourable impact of price adjustments in Sight 1 of 2024, which catalysed demand in higher price brackets.

Meanwhile, in response to prevailing market dynamics, Anglo American revised its production guidance for 2024 downwards to a range of 26–29 million carats, previously forecasted at 29–32 million carats.

This adjustment was aligned with the elevated inventory levels in the market and the anticipated gradual resurgence in rough diamond demand throughout the year.

Consequently, unit cost guidance for 2024 was revised upwards to approximately $90/carat, reflecting the impact of decreased production.