File picture: Stefan Wermuth

Gaborone - Exports of diamonds mined in Botswana fell 38 percent to $2.4 billion last year from $3.9 billion in 2014, the southern African country's lowest shipment of gems in six years.

Data published by the Bank of Botswana on Monday showed that the value of exports from the major diamond mines in Botswana have not been lower since the 2009 global financial crisis when the exports were worth $1.8 billion.

The figures don't include diamonds that De Beers brings into Botswana from Canada, South Africa and Namibia for aggregation before re-exportation.

The bulk of Botswana's diamond exports are from Debswana, a joint venture between the government and diamond giant De Beers.

Exports from Botswana are largely dominated by the four mines owned by Debswana.

Analysts at Consultancy firm, Econsult say that despite the immediate economic outlook remaining poor there is, however, some room for optimism for the diamond industry.

“Combined with reasonably good jewellery sales over the peak Christmas period, the diamond pipeline is flowing again as demand is rising for polished goods, and this will in turn help rough demand,” said the analysts in market report.

De Beers has reported a more than double jump in diamond sales at its first sale of the year held in Gaborone recently.

At its first sale of 2016 held in Gaborone in January, De Beers sold $540 million worth of diamonds, representing a 117 percent leap from $248 million recorded in the last sale of a challenging 2015.