Botswana-De Beers diamond firm to cap output due to slow demand

Diamond buyer Elliot Tannenbaum, from the Leo Schachter Diamond Group, looks at uncut diamonds from his company's allocation at a sightholders week at De Beers offices in central London August 29, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

GABARONE (Reuters) - Debswana Diamond Company, a joint venture between Botswana and diamond giant De Beers, will trim output as it waits for demand for the precious stone to recover, an executive said on Thursday.

The company, which produced a peak of 34 million carats of diamonds in 2007, will produce between 23 million and 26 million carats a year in the medium to short term as the company tries to match demand, director Balisi Bonyongo told journalists.

"We will produce to demand. We would rather keep our goods in the ground and wait for the market to recover," he said, adding that he expected the global rough diamond market to recover in the second half of 2015.

Bonyongo said that from the last part of 2014 going into 2015, the global diamond market had slowed mainly due to liquidity constraints in India, the world largest cutting and polishing centre.

In February, De Beers, a unit of mining company Anglo American, said it expected sales to rise by 3 to 4 percent in 2015 after a 4 percent climb last year.

Botswana is the world's biggest diamond producer and early technical studies indicate that Debswana mines' lifespan will be extended from 2030 to 2050.