JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – JSE- and TSX-listed Rockwell Diamonds achieved an average price of $1 434/ct in the diamond sale concluded in mid-November, representing an increase of about 20% over the average price achieved in the latter part of July.
Sales and revenues since the start of 2009 were derived from a combination of tenders, direct selling of select goods to specialised manufacturers, sales to the South African State Diamond Trader, and income from special stones beneficiated under terms of Rockwell’s agreement with the Steinmetz Diamond Group (SDG).
“These results from the latest diamond sales are most encouraging. We had some excellent coloured stones ,which helped to increase the overall average price but also saw a general firming on prices for our full run-of-mine production,” said Rockwell president and CEO John Bristow.
“Importantly, our overall average diamond sales value for fiscal 2010 year to date is $977/ct, which is tracking our breakeven point of about $1 000/ct.”
Rockwell was currently operating the Holpan and Klipdam mines located north of Kimberley and the Saxendrift mine on the Middle Orange River (MOR) southwest of Kimberley. Wouterspan, located adjacent to Saxendrift but on the opposite side of the MOR, remained on care-and-maintenance.
All of these operations were located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
Rockwell said that the most recent sale included production recovered from the Saxendrift, Holpan and Klipdam mines.
The mid-November diamond sales were from production during the period of August to November, and included 39 stones in the 10ct to 20ct range, 13 stones in the 20ct to 30ct range , and three stones above 100ct.
Rockwell has sold 63 of these high value large stones, which also includes three coloured stones to SDG for beneficiation and marketing. A portion of the stones would be beneficiated and a portion sold as rough stones.
“The company expects to achieve additional margin from the expert manufacturing and marketing skills of SDG, thereby providing benefit to Rockwell and the local beneficiation industry,” it said in a statement.
Rockwell has recovered three additional stones larger than 50ct in size since the beginning of November. These include a 60,8-ct rounded off-white stone from Saxendrift and a 52,4-ct light yellow octahedral stone of excellent clarity from Holpan.
The diamond miner noted a general improvement in average prices of all goods. Demand for rough stones in the 1ct to 10ct range remains strong, with the strongest buying focused on the 2ct to 5ct market segment. Prices for 3ct rough stones have been “extremely strong” since March. Goods larger than 10 ct have also shown a slight firming in price, with top quality white and coloured stones showing excellent prices.
Goods of less than 1 ct, including lower quality Indian goods characterised by a high proportion of inclusions and imperfections, also showed some firming in price.
“Management remains cautiously optimistic about the diamond market. In light of the price improvements and market resilience, we are reactivating our plans for the modernisation and recommissioning of the Wouterspan operation in the new year,” concluded Bristow.