JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – TSX- and JSE-listed Rockwell Diamonds on Tuesday reported a 77% year-on-year increase in diamond production for the fourth quarter ended February 2012.
The company raised its overall carat output to 4 022 ct in the three months, with production volumes rising from 472 890 m3 in the comparative period in 2011 to 661 627 m3 for the quarter.
Record production volumes, reaching 409 349 m3, were achieved at the group’s Saxendrift mine, in the Northern Cape, during February 2012. Rockwell attributed this to continuous operations and significantly improved performance of an infield screen commissioned in November 2011. The mine’s carat production increased by 50% to 1 437 ct.
The Klipdam mine, also in the Northern Cape, experienced a 14% fall in production volumes, from 183 350 m3 in the comparable period the year before, to 157 636 m3 for the fourth quarter in 2012, but carat output increased by 57% to 2 050 ct.
The Tirisano mine, in the North West province, produced 535 ct in the quarter with production volumes of 94 643 m3. The mine will ramp up to full production by the end of July.
“Our priority for the quarter was the continued implementation of fit-for-purpose processing technology and active management of the mine plans at our three operational mines to achieve our production improvements with a continued focus on managing our costs," said CEO James Campbell.
He said Rockwell would now aim to commission and test a bulk X-ray plant at its Saxendrift mine. The plant would enable lower operating costs and increased recovery and security.
Further, the reoptimisation of the feasibility study for the Wouterspan mine, using later and more applicable technology, was expected to start following the results from Saxendrift’s bulk X-ray project.
Meanwhile, the group appointed Stephen Dietrich as an independent nonexecutive director. Dietrich, a chartered accountant, retired from De Beers in 2009, where he held the position of finance director.
Rockwell would release its fourth-quarter and year-end financial results on May 24.