Lucara investing over P600 million at Karowe mine


The Canadian mining company with mining assets in Botswana, Lucara Diamond Corp is in the process of installing multi-million-pula mining machinery which is expected to enhance recovery of high value diamonds at Karowe diamond mine in Orapa.
The company indicated last week that the installation of machinery which is expected to start working by the end of the third quarter of 2017 (Q3 2017) remains on schedule and total cost of the project is forecast between $60 and $65 million (around P650 million).
The company which is listed in Botswana and Canadian Stock Exchange stated that the installation of machinery known as Mega Diamond Recovery MDR is forecast to be complete during Q3 2017, with commissioning in the same period. “Construction is essentially complete and first stage commissioning has commenced,” stated the company in the market update released last week. The entity added that installation of another technology known as XRT is also progressing on plan. “The project is also on schedule for completion in Q3 2017 and it will further enhance the processing facilities ability to treat the high yielding, high value south lobe ore at depth and is anticipated to result in an efficient and cost effective methodology for processing this ore.”
Lucara CEO William Lamb last week indicated that the company’s focus is to complete the capital projects and further enhance recovery of high value diamonds by the end of Q3 this year. “This will place the Karowe mine in an even stronger position to maximize value from the recovery and sale of diamonds of high value,” said Lucara CEO.
According to Lucara’s second quarterly operational report released last week, diamond sales during the second quarter of 2017 generated $79.6 million (around P796 million) revenue compared to $77.7 million (around P777 million) recorded in the second quarter of 2016 and revenue made from diamond sales conducted between January and July amount to $105.7 million (around P1.6 billion). The company has projected that a total of around $200 million (P2 billion) will be generated from the sale of diamonds in 2017. The mine is expected to produce around 310,000 carats diamonds this year.
Karowe is one of Botswana’s diamond mines which contribute significantly to Botswana’s economy and the installation of the technology is expected to increase mineral revenues and mining royalties paid to government.  According to the company’s recent financial statement Lucara paid government over P1 billion as mining royalties and tax from Karowe diamond sales revenues generated last year.