JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Alluvial gem miner Rockwell Diamonds generated $6-million from the sale of 5 795 ct in the fourth quarter, the company reported on Wednesday.
The company achieved an average price of $1 041/ct, which compares with $1 430/ct in the final quarter of 2011, when it sold 6 453 ct, generating $9.2-million.
President and CEO James Campbell pointed out that on a “like-for-like” basis, sales from Rockwell’s three operating mines showed year-on-year growth of 153%.
“The 10% decline in total carat production is the result of placing Holpan on care and maintenance and discontinuing the bulk-sampling programme at the Klipdam Extension property, decisions which were commercially based and had a positive impact on the company’s overall viability,” Campbell said.
Rockwell further said in a statement that its decision to concentrate on mining the Rooikoppie unit of its Klipdam operation, in the Northern Cape, instead of the paleo-channel resources, led to the 26% increase in carats produced from the mine.
The lower revenue a carat reflected the generally smaller stone sizes that characterised the Rooikoppie unit where the cost of mining was also significantly lower.
The combined impact of a 32% increase in carats sold from the company’s Saxendrift mine, near the Middle Orange River, to 1 847 ct, as well a 7% improvement in the average price a carat, underpinned by an increase in recovery of yellow diamonds, enabled the mine to produce revenue growth of 42% in the fourth quarter.
At the Tirisano mine, near the Vaal river, where production was currently being ramped up, 975 ct were sold at an average price of $607/ct. This was consistent with the values projected in the 2011 report for Tirisano.
Commenting on the diamond market, Campbell said: “We benefited from selling the inventories that we had accumulated towards the end of 2011 into a stronger market, as diamond prices continued to recover throughout the quarter. Of particular benefit to Rockwell is the sustained growth in demand for investment diamonds, which comprise a large proportion of our production profile and for which we are known.
“Our operations are now better placed to meet our carat production targets, enabling us to deliver more consistent volumes of high quality diamonds to our beneficiation joint venture partner, Steinmetz Diamond Group, and our other customers.”
Rockwell recovered 41 stones exceeding 10 ct during the quarter.
Klipdam produced 17 stones exceeding 10 carats, including seven stones exceeding 20 ct. At Saxendrift, 22 stones were larger than 10 ct, half of which weighed more than 20 ct, while two plus-10 ct stones were retrieved at Tirisano.
The company stated that the stones were channelled into its beneficiation joint venture with Steinmetz Diamond Group, which delivered value-added revenues for Rockwell’s stones that are larger than 2.8 ct.