De Beers sparkles as diamond sales shine

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

De Beers' first-half results show that diamonds are still a girl's best friend - and investors like them too.

The growing popularity of diamonds pushed De Beers' revenue up 10percent to $3,7billion (about R21billion) on slightly lower production of 24million carats during the six months ended in June.

South African production plunged 16percent on the Eskom supply crisis along with the sale of Koffiefontein Mine to Petra.

The results show neighbouring countries were also hit by the power supply crunch, with Namibian production falling 16percent. Botswana, which produced 67percent of the group's diamonds, saw production fall one percent.

De Beers Canada contributed its first diamonds. Though Canada only amounted to three percent of the group's first-half total, this will ramp up when Snap Lake and Victor mines open this half.

De Beers, which controls about 40percent of the world's rough diamond market, expects its new Canadian mines to replace the Russian gems it is now prohibited from buying to satisfy European Union competition authorities.

Although De Beers has not been a listed company since June 2001, it continues to make its financial results public as a 45percent-owned Anglo American subsidiary with the Oppenheimer family owning 40percent and the Botswana government 15percent.