London - De Beers mined more diamonds last year than any time since the global financial crisis of 2008.
The company, a unit of Anglo American [JSE:AGL], mined 33.5 million carats in 2017. That’s a 22% jump from a year earlier, beating its own target. Production was boosted by its new Gahcho Kue mine in Canada and better market conditions.
Still, it hasn’t necessarily been a bumper year for gems. Diamond sales at De Beers totalled $5.3bn last year, compared with $5.6bn in 2016, even though production was higher. That’s because the average selling price fell 13% last year to $162 a carat.
De Beers sold more lower-quality stones in India in 2017, a rebound from the previous year, when demonetisation cut financing for gem cutters and polishers. The Gahcho Kue mine is also churning out lower-value diamonds.
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