Alrosa’s rough diamonds sales down 22% in first half of the year

Alrosa’s rough diamonds sales down 22% in first half of the year

The Udachnaya quarry.

Russia’s Alrosa, the world's top diamond producer by output in carats, said Tuesday it sold 18 million carats of rough diamonds for $2.1 billion in the first half of 2015, significantly less than in the same period last year, when it raised $2.7 billion from about 21.1 million carats.

The company, hit by a sustained slowdown in the diamond market during the second quarter of the year, said its rough prices declined by 3% during the three months ended June 30 and by 6% in the first half of the year.

Production, however, was up 13% compared to the first half of 2014. In fact, Alrosa’s mines generate 25% of the world's diamond output and it competes with De Beers, a unit of Anglo American (LON:AAL), to rank as the world's leading diamond miner.

At the Karpinskogo-1 pipe of the Lomonosov deposit (Severalmaz), diamond output increased to 600,000 carats after production began in October 2014.

Higher grade ore was processed from extra stockpiles at the open pit of the Udachnaya pipe.

At the Mir underground mine, diamond output almost doubled through measures to reduce water inflow, while the first 481,000 carats of diamonds were produced from the Botuobinskaya pipe after its launch in March 2015.

Earlier this month, Alrosa's president Andrey Zharkov visited Angola to discuss further cooperation in developing new diamond projects in the African nation.