Canadian mining firm, Lucara Diamond Corporation, announced the recovery of a 127 carat, top white gem diamond from its 100 percent owned Karowe Diamond mine located in the Boteti area.
Since mining began at Karowe Diamond Mine in 2012, a total of 129 diamonds in excess of 100 carats have been recovered, 33 in 2018 alone. That tally includes 12 diamonds larger than 300 carats in size, of which 5 were recovered in 2018. In addition, Lucara has sold 180 diamonds in excess of $1 million (approximately P10 million) each and ten diamonds have sold for in excess of $10 million (Around P100 million) each. Eira Thomas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lucara said the recovery of this latest, high value, top white 127 carat diamond attests to the remarkable nature of the Karowe orebody, which has consistently delivered large, high value diamonds throughout its history.
He said 2018 was a banner year, having recovered a record number of Specials (diamonds of 10.8 carats in size) and in 2019, mining will be largely focused on the high value south lobe, including contributions from the newly refined unit which is now understood to be the source of both the historic 1109 carat Lesedi la Rona and the 813 carat Constellation, which sold for a record US$63.1 million. The Karowe Diamond mine currently boasts open pit reserves of 2.6 million carats extending out to 2026 and is in the process of completing a feasibility study that could expand mining underground to 2036 and beyond.”
In 2019, the Company forecasts revenues between $170 million (Around P1.7 billion) and $200 million (Approximately P2 billion), consistent with the forecast for 2018. These projections according to the CEO include “Specials” which are diamonds that are 10.8 carats and larger but exclude the sale of any truly unique diamonds such as the 1,109 carat Lesedi la Rona and the 813 carat Constellation. Specials are consistently recovered from the Karowe diamond mine and contribute a significant percentage of the Company’s annual revenue. Diamonds recovered are expected to be between 300,000 carats and 330,000 carats and diamonds sold are expected to be between 300,000 carats and 320,000 carats.
Thomas commented: “Having stabilized and significantly improved our mining operations at Karowe in 2018, Lucara is now focused on optimizing the base business and pursuing a suite of high potential, organic growth opportunities. The completion of a feasibility study examining the potential for underground production and Life of Mine expansion at Karowe from 2026 until at least 2036, remains a top priority for 2019. In addition, we will continue to systematically ramp up diamond sales through Clara, our transformational, proprietary digital sales platform that successfully completed its first trial sale in December 2018.”
She further communicated that, “Our focus at Karowe in 2019 will be on driving operational efficiencies, increased productivity and cost control, and maximizing cash flow. The waste stripping bottleneck is now behind us and we expect stripping ratios to steadily improve towards the end of the calendar year, enabling improved access to high value, south lobe ore.”