Canadian diamond miner Mountain Province has reported a sharp drop in first-quarter production, following the 22-day shutdown of its Gahcho Kué mine after a Covid outbreak in February.
The mine recovered 1.39-million carats, which is 16% lower than the comparable quarter of 2020. The recovered grade improved by 22% to 2.23 ct for every 100 t.
"The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak at the mine during the quarter was very unfortunate, particularly with all the additional safety protocols and avoidance procedures that were in place. This highlights the ease with which the virus can spread. Pleasingly, the plant has continued to perform well and we are starting to catch up on the carat production deficit,” commented president and CEO Stuart Brown on Tuesday.
During the quarter, 602 773 ct were sold for total proceeds of C$54.2-million, resulting in an average value of C$90/ct. This is a 6% increase relative to the average value per carat in the fourth quarter of $85/ct, and a near-return to pre-pandemic levels seen in the first quarter of 2020.
On a like-for-like price book basis, compared with the first quarter of 2020, Mount Province said its current average diamond value was ahead of the first quarter of 2020.
“The continued price increases seen, as well as the relative stability in the markets, is encouraging. With global vaccination rates increasing, we're beginning to see a path to a return to normalcy, and with it the potential for continued diamond market recovery,” said Brown.