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De Beers finds diamonds losing their sparkle

DE Beers, the world's top diamond producer, 45 percent owned by mining group Anglo American Plc, posted a 99 percent fall in first-half net profit and said rough diamond sales slid 57 percent to US$1.4 billion.

The firm, which controls about 40 percent of the rough diamond market, said yesterday that its net profit in the first six months of the year tumbled to US$3 million from US$316 million in the same period last year. "The industry has been severely impacted by the global economic environment being the most difficult in decades," a statement said.

"De Beers will continue to take a cautious approach in terms of production, sales and cost management, while anticipating the continued steady recovery of the industry."

The group slashed output due to weak demand in the first half, when production fell 73 percent to 6.6 million carats.

Overall costs in the group were cut by more than 50 percent and the global work force was cut by 23 percent.


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