Botswana’s Karowe mine that last year produced the first diamond larger than 1 000 ct in more than a century, has established its Canadian owner Lucara Diamond Corp as a consistent producer of exceptional quality stones, enabling the company to improve full-year earnings by 70 percent.
For 2015, the Vancouver-headquartered miner reported net income of $77.8-million, derived from sales of 377 136 ct of diamonds, for gross proceeds of $223.8-million at an average price of $593/ct.
Lucara reported strong prices for its exceptional stone sales, which resulted in an average price of $31 597/ct in 2015, for 3 114 ct sold, compared against an average price of $32 471/ct on 2014, for 4 176 ct sold. The regular tenders achieved an average price of $335/ct, an increase of 5.3 percent compared with 2014, which reflected the quality of the mine’s production and an increasing proportion of south lobe material.
Karowe was expected to produce more than 350 000 ct of diamonds in 2016, and revenue was expected to total between $200-million to $220-million, excluding the high-value inventory. Lucara announced that it was introducing a progressive dividend in 2016, which would be paid on a quarterly basis.
The company had declared a first-quarter dividend of C$0.015 per share. Last year, the semi-annual dividend was C$0.02 a share. The company said that it would soon showcase the 1 109 ct Lesedi La Rona (meaning ‘our light’) diamond, that was unearthed from Karowe in November, to the Botswana president and his cabinet.
Meanwhile, Lucara reported that it had relinquished its 75 percent-ownership in the Mothae exploration project, in Lesotho, back to the Lesotho government, after a deal to sell it to Paragon Diamonds fell through in the fourth quarter. The company said it was working with government to rehabilitate the project.
[Mining Weekly ]