Sales and diamond production dropped sharply in 2020 for De Beers Group, as COVID-19 had a “profound impact” on global diamond supply and demand, the company said.
Total revenue fell 27 percent to $3.4 billion, compared with $4.6 billion in 2019.
Rough diamond sales declined 30 percent to $2.8 billion, compared with $4 billion in 2019, as demand decreased at the retail level and factories in India shuttered for health and safety reasons, forcing De Beers to be more flexible with its clients.
Rough diamond sales volume shrunk 27 percent to 21.4 million carats, compared with 29.2 million carats in 2019. The average realized price slipped 3 percent to $133 per carat, down from $137/carat in 2019.
As previously reported, production fell 18 percent to 25.1 million carats due to COVID-19 shutdowns at mines and the drop in consumer demand.
De Beers recorded an underlying loss of $102 million, compared with underlying earnings of $45 million in 2019. Rapaport noted this was the company’s first time in the red since 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis.
De Beers Group’s 2020 financials were released Thursday [February 25 in the] morning as part of parent company Anglo American’s preliminary full-year results.
Other highlights of the year for De Beers included the following:
— Work continued on the underground expansion of the Venetia mine in South Africa, as well as on Cut-9 at Jwaneng in Botswana;
— Namibia’s new off-shore diamond mining vessel, AMV3, remains on track for commissioning in 2022; it is the largest diamond recovery vessel ever built; and
— Construction was completed on the Lightbox lab-grown diamond facility in Oregon.
Looking ahead to 2021, De Beers said there is potential for a continued recovery in demand for rough diamonds amid “positive” demand trends in key markets and healthier inventory levels across the supply chain.