Lucara Diamond Corp has achieved revenues of $25.4 million for the first quarter of the year ended March 31, 2018. This is in comparison to $26.1 million achieved during the same quarter last year, reflecting a fall in revenues.
Lucara which 100 percent owns Karowe Mine in Boteti District is now known for producing larger diamonds at the mine with the precedent having been set when the company dug out a 1109 carats diamond named Lesedi La Rona in November 2015 and later sold for $53 million.
Since then the company has been digging out bigger diamonds at the mine which is located on the 6 kimberlite.
During the first quarter of the year, 2018, Lucara recovered 218 specials which is said to be the third best tally since mining began in 2012.
Lucara CEO, Eira Thomas said Karowe delivered solid performance in the first quarter, underpinned by production from the South Lobe which yielded 218 special, the third best quarterly tally ever, and included eight diamonds greater than 100 carats in size.
The company continued recovering large stones into April, and included a 472 carat top light brown and a 327 carat white gem.
“The strong sales result achieved from our first Regular Stone Tender of the year is consistent with the improving sentiment of the broader diamond market, and positions Lucara well for its June sale, which will include both a Regular Stone Tender and an Exceptional Stone Tender,” said Thomas.
Based on a production profile of 270,000 to 290,000 carats per annum, primarily sourced from the South Lobe, Lucara expects to consistently achieve average diamond values of between US$625 to US$680 per carat.
This average diamond value excludes contributions from the less frequent and less predictable recovery of very large, high quality gem diamonds like the historic 1109 carat Lesedi La Rona and the 813 carat Constellation.
Karowe’s first quarter operating cash cost2 was $43.04 per tonne processed compared to the full year forecast of $38-$42 per tonne processed.
The increase in cost per tonne processed compared to the three months ended March 31, 2017 reflects an increase in waste mined during the quarter as compared to the prior year, following the 2017 change in mining contractor.
Costs per tonne processed during Q1 are higher than the full year guidance, due to mill maintenance completed during the period however, forecast costs are expected to be within guidance.
A budget of up to $3.0 million was approved for the completion of a pre-feasibility level study of the Karowe AK06 underground development and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Costs associated with geotechnical and hydrogeology drilling and additional studies in support of an underground development study are forecast at up to $26 million in 2018, Lucara said.
During the three months ended March 31, 2018, the Company started hydrological and geotechnical drilling programmes and updates to structural and hydrological models to support the underground study.