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  • Revenue expected to soar in 2020

TLOTLO KEBINAKGABO

Multi-listed mining company, Lucara Diamond Corporation which is known for producing top gems in their Botswana operation, Karowe Diamond Mine, saw profits for the 2019 financial year reaching P2 billion.

The Canadian precious stone miners ended the year 2019 with US$192.5 million in revenue, which translates to P2.1 billion. This is an improvement of US$16.3 million (P180.5 million) because the company generated US$176.2 million (P1.9 billion) in the same period last year. Lucara released these figures yesterday (Monday).

According to the company statement, Lucara realised strong operational performance at Karowe mine, including record production through the plant in 2019. During the period under review, 3.3 million tonnes of Ore and 6.5 million tonnes of waste were mined at Karowe with a total of 433,060 carats recovered. Of the total figure of carats salvaged, 29 990 are from the previously milled material.

Known for recovering ‘Specials’ as diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats in size are usually referred to, the company did what it is best known for when it recovered 786 stones of that caliber in 2019. That represented 6.1 weight percent of total carats recovered from direct milling ore, consistent with the resource model for Karowe.

Even so, in 2019, Lucara sold 30 individual diamonds mined at Karowe for a value of P11 million or US$1 million. “That includes 11 diamonds which were sold at US$2 million of which two diamonds were sold for US$5 million each,” reads a statement from the company.

“Sales of individual stones at prices between US$2 million and US$5 million were consistent with the previous years. Achieved prices in 2019 for high value single diamonds were impacted by significant price erosion high color (D) 10 carat and 20 carats polished.”

Lucara president and Chief Executive officer Eira Thomas notes that the company’s strong operating results for 2019 reflect Lucara’s continued focus on safe, reliable operations which has delivered increased productivity at lower costs.

“It also provides a solid foundation to support our next stage of growth – an underground expansion at Karowe which has the potential extend our mine life to 2040, add net cash flow of $1.22 billion and gross revenues of $5.25 billion,” Thomas noted.

LUCARA FORECASTS REVENUE GROWTH AT KAROWE IN 2020

The Canadian conceived top gem producer also forecasts improved revenue for its 2020 financial year. They anticipate the revenues to be between P1.9 billion and P2.3 billion,as the proportion of carats recovered from the higher-grade M/PK(S) and EM/PK(S) units increases. Diamond price assumptions are considered to be consistent with 2019. The company expects to recover 350,000 to 390,000 carats from the processing of 2.5 to 2.8 million tonnes of ore. Diamonds sold are expected to be between 350,000 carats and 390,000 carats.

The company further, expects the tonnes mined in 2020 to be between 7.1 million and 8.1 million tonnes Lucara also anticipates to mine between 3.5 million to 3.9 million tonnes of ore and between 3.6 and 4.2 million tonnes of waste respectively. This follows the completion of a significant waste stripping campaign between 2017 and early 2019.

The 2020 estimated cash cost per tonne of ore processed is expected to be between $32.00 and $36.00.  The cost per tonne mined is expected to be between $4.40 and $4.90 and the estimated processing cost per tonne processed is expected to be between $11.50 and $12.50, a reflection of optimization work and strong operating performance in the plant.

Meanwhile, Lucara has approved a budget of up to P587 million has been approved for early works related to a proposed underground mine at Karowe. An investment decision, subject to receipt of all required authorizations and the arrangement of financing, is expected in H2 2020.Following the positive results of a feasibility study announced on November 4, 2019 and based on the Company’s ability to fund these initial capital expenditures from operating cash flow, a program of early works, including detailed engineering and design work has been approved to mitigate key risks related to schedule.

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