London-listed Gem Diamonds says following pressure on prices for larger high-quality diamonds last year, signs of improvement have been noted since December.
Diamond prices for smaller commercial-type diamonds also remained under pressure for most of last year, with polished inventory levels remaining high for the company, but Gem on Thursday noted that the prices of these goods had also improved in January and February.
The company on Thursday published a trading update for the fourth quarter of 2019, in which the Letšeng mine, in Lesotho, delivered solid operational results.
In the quarter under review, Gem recovered four diamonds greater than 100 ct in weight, which brought the total number of diamonds it recovered at a value greater than 100 ct to 11 for the year.
The average price per carat was $1 713/ct, which was 21% higher quarter-on-quarter.
The average price achieved further improved to $1 753/ct subsequent to year-end, for the first tender of this year.
The company sold 27 diamonds for more than $1-million each last year, generating revenue of $68-million for the year.
“There was an increase in volumes treated for the year and a significant reduction in the waste profile.
“This, together with the Business Transformation programme delivering its targeted gains and continued emphasis on cost controls, positions the company well for the anticipated upturn in the market which appears to have begun,” commented CEO Clifford Elphick.
The company achieved its operational guidance metrics for the full year and the mining lease for the mine was renewed for a further ten years from October 3, 2019.