Record production of 1.725 million carats in 2022 revealed by marine diamond miner
Marine diamond miner, Debmarine Namibia produced 1.725 million carats in 2022, a record production in the short history of the company, constituting around 80% of the total diamond production in the country, an executive said Thursday.
The 52% increase from 1.136 million in 2021 was primarily due to the introduction of the mining vessel, the Benguela Gem in 2022, Debmarine Namibia, Chief Executive Willy Mertens, said in a statement at the company’s 2022-year results and business update.
“The Benguela Gem contributed 28% of our 2022 production second to the Mafuta vessel which contributed 36% or 613 thousand carats. The five drill vessels contributed 36 % or 632 thousand carats. One of the reasons we embarked upon the Benguela Gem project was to reduce the risk of reliance on the Mafuta and I am happy to report that we succeeded,” he said.
Mertens said putting the 2022 record production in perspective, this number is more than triple from 506 thousand carats (with 6 vessels) compared to when Debmarine Namibia commenced operations.
“We achieved this not only through additional capacity but also through continued innovation and investment in technology,” he said.
Mertens said looking at the long term, Atlantic 1 (license) potential resource endowment – 33 million carats with 36 years of the life of Mine to 2057.
“We need to remain innovative and continue to invest in technology to successfully negotiate the future and the challenges it will bring. Consumer demand for diamond jewelry over 2022 performed quite well, that is because we came from a lower base – evident from pricing reaching pre-COVID levels,” he said.
Mertens remains cautiously optimistic for demand to increase as China continues to reopen and inflation rates decrease in major economies.
According to Mertens Debmarine’s revenue increased 83% to N$13.2bn from N$7.2bn in 2021, as a result of increased production, positive consumer demand driving price (12%), augmented by 20% (N$14.9 vs N$16.8) weakening of the N$ against the US$.
Meanwhile, Earnings Before Interest Tax, Depreciation, and Amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 168% to N$6.7bn due to the increase in revenue set off by some cost increases.
“We have also seen improved profitability with EBITDA margin increasing from 35% to 51%. We benefited close to N$1 billion from the improvement in the diamond market and N$1.4 billion from the weakening of the N$ against the US$, with inflation taking out N$400 million,” he said, adding that the Benguela Gem contributed N$2.4 billion in her first year to EBITDA with cost pressures taking out N$900 million.