Mine closures force revenues 24pc lower at Gem Diamonds
◆ Southern Africa-focused diamond producer Gem Diamonds’ revenues fell 24pc to $69.5m (£52m) over the half-year as coronavirus forced mine closures, writes Rachel Millard.
The miner, which owns the Letseng diamond mine in Lesotho and the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana, cut salaries and other costs to help it through the temporary suspension of Letseng, but pre-tax profit from continuing operations fell from $18m to $2.5m.
The business expects global rough diamond supply to decrease from 141m carats in 2019 to 110m in 2020 due to industrywide mine closures and other coronavirus-related disruption.
Gem Diamonds, led by Clifford Elphick, its chief executive, has been buoyed in recent weeks by the announcements of two major diamond finds in Letseng – 442-carat and 233-carat – which are among the largest finds this year globally. The company has introduced strict coronavirus protection measures across its sites. It said two employees from Letseng had died while in quarantine, but these had not yet been confirmed by the Lesotho authorities as Covid-19 related deaths.