JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Africa-focused Petra Diamonds anticipated strong diamond prices in 2011, as prices had recovered since the economic downturn and continued to strengthen in 2010.
CEO Johan Dippenaar said in a presentation delivered at the company’s annual general meeting on Monday, that Petra Diamonds benefited from robust mining assets and quality management, as well as positive fundamentals for the diamond market.
“Significant supply deficits are expected to emerge in three years, as the world’s largest diamond mines are past their peak, while strong demand growth continues from China and India, where the urbanisation trend delivers millions of new middle-class consumers in emerging markets every year,” the presentation stated.
The company, which mines the Cullinan, Koffiefontein and Kimberley underground operations in South Africa and the Williamson mine in Tanzania, is expanding its production to more than 2,5-million carats by the 2014 financial year and to three-million carats by the 2019 financial year.
EXPANSION PLANS ON TRACK
Petra is implementing an expansion programme at its Cullinan mine to take the yearly production from just over 920 000 ct in the 2010 financial year, to 2,4-million carats a year by 2019.
The company stated that the Cullinan mine showed steady growth from underground production with a major tailings programme on track and a ramp-up under way.
Koffiefontein would be expanded to 117 000 ct/y by 2017, comprising 104 000 ct from underground operations and 13 000 ct from the tailings.
The Koffiefontein mine saw the deepening of the mine to a 580-m level. Higher tonnages were expected to positively impact on production and unit costs in the 2011 financial year.
The company’s effective interest in Koffiefontein increased from 70% to 74% in December.
Production at the Kimberley Underground mines started in May 2010, with a stockpile of 500 000 t.
The mine is expected to produce 100 000 ct in the 2011 financial year, rising to 180 000 ct/y after the commissioning of a second production plant by June 2011.
A three-year expansion plan was also in progress at the Williamson mine. Pit-shaping operations were under way, with a stockpile of 750 000 t. The refurbishment of the existing plant was expected to deliver revenues early in the 2012 financial year.
Williamson would produce 600 000 ct/y.