Lucara Diamond Co, the Botswana Stock Exchange quoted company, said on Monday the building and commissioning of a plant upgrade at its Karowe mine would improve large diamond recovery following continued occurrence of exceptional stones and to enable sustainable processing of harder ore in the south lobe.
The upgrade to be largely funded from the company’s 2013 yearend cash balance will be completed this year and brought online to deliver sustainable diamond recovery for production of 2.5 million tonnes per annum for the remainder of the mine life.
“This upgrade will also include processes to ensure the safe recovery of the value driving large and exceptional diamonds of Karowe,” Lucara President and Chief Executive Officer William Lamb said.
The company forecast to spend $45-$50 million on the plant upgrade.
┬áHe stated that Lucara had a strong financial year in 2013, achieving its production and operating cost targets and exceeding forecast revenues following the recovery of a high proportion of large exceptional quality diamonds during the year.
Lamb is of the view that the company is focussed on building on its strong financial position through operational optimization and focused cost management.
Lucara’s revenue of $150 to $160 million is expected from the sale of 400,000 to 420,000 carats of diamonds in 2014, including the assumption that the company will have two exceptional stone tenders.
“The Karowe Mine is forecast to treat between 2.2-2.4 million tonnes of ore, producing over 400,000 carats of diamonds, which is in line with forecast production for 2013. The plant throughput is constrained as downtime is scheduled to enable integration and commissioning of the new large diamond recovery and crushing circuits. The forecast for tonnes treated per annum returns to 2.5 million in 2015,” Lamb stated.
He pointed out that financial analysis has indicated that a treatment rate of 2.5 million tonnes per annum is optimal for the remaining mine life. ┬áLamb also added that Karowe is forecast to increase waste mined during 2014, in line with the original feasibility mine plan, as it opens up the full extent of the South lobe.
“The Karowe mine plan, therefore, expects more that 10 million tonnes of waste will be stripped and stockpiled or used to expand the tailings in 2014,” said Lamb.