JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – London-listed diamond mining and development company Firestone Diamonds on Thursday reported a rise in diamond output from its flagship Liqhobong mine, in Lesotho.
The mine produced 72 833 ct, at an average grade of 24.8 ct per hundred tons (cpht) during the six months to December, up from the 69 319 ct at an average grade of 33.5 cpht recorded in the comparative period the year before.
The pilot plant at Liqhobong achieved an average capacity of 100 t/h and it was expected that full-year production would reach between 160 000 ct and 180 000 ct.
Firestone commented that the operation’s delivery of higher quality and increased variety of colour, including the discoveries of the rare type 2B blue diamond and the type 2A diamonds, during the period, reinforced the company’s belief that Liqhobong “contained significant upside” that would be fully realised once the main treatment plant was commissioned during the second half of 2015.
The expansion of the Liqhobong mine’s main treatment plant, which would push diamond production capacity to about one-million carats a year, was expected to be completed within the next two years.
Meanwhile, Firestone reported that the operation’s gross diamond sales of 79 071 ct, at prices of $102/ct on average, resulted in revenue of $8.1-million during the 2013 interim period – a significant jump from the revenue of $2.5-million reported in the first half of the previous financial year when 42 803 ct were sold at an average price of $59/ct.