Karowe Diamond Mine this week recovered a 223 carats high white gem diamond, adding to the company’s perennial high quality diamond discoveries since beginning of the year.
Eira Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Lucara Diamond, the developers of Karowe Mine said the discovery together with 127 carats and 240 carats discovered earlier this year will be made available for sale alongside other discoveries.
“2019 is off to a great start, with several, high quality diamonds in excess of 100 carats having been recovered by mid February, a testament to the strong, stable operating environment that has prevailed at Karowe since late 2018,” said Thomas. Lucara is a leading independent producer of large exceptional quality Type IIa diamonds from its 100 percent owned Karowe Mine in Botswana.
In 2015, the largest diamond found in over 100 years was discovered at Karowe Mine. Weighing 1,111 carats, the stone became the second-largest ‘gem quality’ diamond ever recovered. Two years later, the uncut tennis ball-sized diamond named Lesedi La Rona was sold for $53 million.
Lucara Diamond recently sold a total 1,453.06 carat, including two diamonds greater than 300 carats, and achieved gross revenues of US32.48 Million (US 22,356 carat).
This is according to the latest results from Lucara’s 12th Eceprional Stone Tender (EST). The tender consisted of 10 single lots, ranging from 472.37 to 40.4 carats in size. The 327.48-carat was sold for US10.1 Million (US 30,900/ct). President and CEO of Lucara, Eira Thomas acknowledges that the quality of Karowe’s large diamonds continues to attract attention of the world’s foremost manufacturers and diamantaries within 29 companies attending the sale and eight individual companies winning lots.
“Lucara is very pleased with the outcome of EST12, which was comprised of diamonds produced during 2018, including several diamonds recovered from the EM/PK(S) unit during February and April of this year,” he said. He added that all the ten diamonds were sold for more than $1 Million each and the 327.37 carat diamond sold for US$ 10.1 Million (US$ 30, 900/ct).
At present, Lucara has sold 168 diamonds in excess of 1 Million and ten single diamonds have been sold over US 10 Million. Thomas explains that the average price per carat for Karowe diamonds sold up to date, equates to 893.3/ct. The EST achieved a price in excess of US 22,356 per carat, continuing the production of large high quality diamonds sourced from the South Lobe of the AKO6 Kimberlite, Thomas says.
Lucara Diamond has decreased operating cash costs in its Karowe mine due to high power costs and an increase in tonnes processed. In its third quarter report, Lucara Diamond indicated that Karowe’s operating cash costs guidance was being decreased for the year from between $29 to $31 per tonne of ore processed to $25 to 28 $per tonne of ore processed.
“Karowe’s operating cost is $25 per tonne compared to $29 per tonne last year. The reduction in cost guidance is due to power and general cost savings and an increase in tonnes processed. Costs remain well controlled,” stated the report. The mine has recorded 700 000 tonnes of ore and 3.1 million tonnes of waste. The report states that the process plant has performed well during the quarter with tonnes processed being 19.5 percent ahead of forecast for the quarter. The company also recorded revenue of 38 .1 million compared to 90.9 million in the same period last year.
Lucara has recorded a net loss of 3.8 million in the third quarter compared to net income of $44.2 million in the prior year. “This is due to the company having two sales in the prior year including an exceptional stone tender compared to a single sale in the current year. The company has also reported a foreign exchange loss compared to a foreign exchange gain on translation of its US dollar cash in the prior year,”
Lucara Diamond President and Chief Executive Officer, William Lamb said they are pleased with the third quarter revenue and now look forward to the fourth quarter with high quality production for their second exceptional tender of the year. “Cost discipline during the third quarter remained strong and we continued to advance our capital projects for large diamond recovery as well as our exploration and drilling programmes to expand our resource base,” said Lamb.
Lamb said the company continues to forecast between $15million to $18 million for the modifications to the existing large diamond recovery circuit and the installation of a Mega Diamond recovery circuit.In the last quarter, the company approved the a sub-middles XRT project which targets the recovery of diamonds sized between 4mm and 8 mm using XRT technology.
The 30 million Dollar project is expected to address processing of the very dense high quality or at depth and will also result in the most efficient and cost effective processing methodology for processing this ore. Lucara has two prospecting licences in Botswana located within a distance of 15km and 30km from the Karowe Diamond Mine. The two precious stones prospecting licenses are to be known to host kimberlites, BK02, AK11 and AK12, AK13 and AK14.