ASX-listed Lucapa Diamond Company recorded a year of operational growth and consolidation in 2021, with record operational and financial performances, MD Stephen Wetherall said in a quarterly activities report for the period ended December 31.
“The commissioning of the standalone kimberlite bulk sample plant at Lulo [in Angola] towards the end of [the first quarter of this year], will see kimberlite bulk samples being processed without hindrance going forward as there will be no reliance on the alluvial operations to allocate processing capacity.
“Our high-quality mines are operating well, our primary source exploration programmes are well poised, the Merlin feasibility study is already under way and, with the diamond market expected to continue its positive trend, we approach 2022 with confidence and determination to continue to execute our strategy and grow Lucapa into a midtier diamond company spanning the entire diamond value chain,” he comments.
During the fourth quarter of 2021, the company completed the acquisition of the 4.4-million-carat Merlin diamond project, in Australia.
A scoping study was also published, demonstrating strong economics to be a long-life diamond producer. Historic back-in and milestone payments rights were terminated and geotechnical drilling was completed.
At Lulo, 13 diamonds were recovered from the L028 kimberlite bulk sample, with eight of the diamonds being rare Type IIa diamonds.
Standalone kimberlite bulk sampling plant at Lulo is due for commissioning at the end of the first quarter of this year.
Three new high-interest targets have also been identified at Brooking, in Australia.
For the full year, Lucapa earned record revenues of A$135-million.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) for the year are estimated to be between A$21-million to A$23-million.
Additional alluvial and kimberlite exploration at Lulo late in the quarter and crusher foundation repair and improvements at Mothae in Lesotho resulted in estimated Ebitda finishing slightly behind guidance.
Mothae plant improvements were completed, and the plant has been operating at full capacity since December.
Lucapa says 2021 was a significantly positive year for the diamond industry and that the outlook for this year is strong.