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Diamond Slump Hits African Producers

Sales at the diamond miner De Beers have slid to their lowest level in almost a decade, after the pandemic took the shine off global demand for gems and jewellery. The world’s biggest diamond producer said it had provisionally sold $2.7bn of rough diamonds during 2020, down a third on 2019’s sales of more than $4bn. Global demand for diamonds and jewellery tumbled in the spring, knocking sales and prices. At the same time, diamond production at some of the company’s southern African sites declined by 27% as coronavirus restrictions hampered operations. De Beers was also forced to cancel one of its regular sales events in Botswana after travel restrictions prevented buyers from attending. Earnings at De Beers, which has been part of the vast Anglo American mining group since 2012, plummeted in the first half of the year to just $2m, down from $518m for the same period in 2019.