Windhoek, Namibia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 June 2010 – Namibian diamond production for the first five months of 2010 was more than half the entire output in 2009, while the value of sales also rose, signaling a recovery of the industry which had been undermined by recession.
Production between January and May 2010 reached 580 000 carats, compared to 929 006 carats for the whole of 2009 “’ a 102% jump from the same period last year, figures released here by the Ministry of Mines and Energy showed.
Reuters reports that diamond mining came to a virtual standstill in early 2009 as the industry announced a production holiday, reeling under the impact of the global recession.
Production in the first quarter of 2010 was 298 000 carats “’ a 2.9% increase compared to the last quarter of 2009, and a 138.1% rise compared to the same period last year.
“If current production levels continue during the remainder of the year, total diamond production could reach a respectable 1.4 million carats, an increase of 48%over 2009,” commented Bank Windhoek economist John Steytler. But he is skeptical that diamond production will recover to historic 2007 levels, when 1.1 million carats were mined in the first five months.
“It is doubtful that production will ever return to pre-crisis levels due to the depletion of the onshore resource,” he explained.
Diamond sales over the first quarter of 2010 numbered 239,000 carats, 193 percent above the same period last year.
Sales in April and May were 216000 carats, bringing total carats sold for the first five months of 2010 to 455 000.