TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – TSX- and JSE-listed Rockwell Diamonds has reported a 33% decline in its first-quarter diamond output, reflecting a company in transition as it focuses on growing a production profile that would deliver better efficiencies and greater economies of scale.
Rockwell on Thursday said diamond output for the quarter ended May 31 totalled 4 824 ct, significantly less than the 7 234 ct produced in the same period of the previous financial year.
The lower output was mainly the result of the operations at Tirisano being placed on care and maintenance in December, and the sale of Klipdam at the end of March.
Rockwell said its operations in the Middle Orange River region were an example of the desired footprint of efficient operations it would operate in future.
"We have a track record of profitably operating mines in this region which traditionally yields high-value gem-quality diamonds. The operations at Saxendrift Hill complex are gaining traction while the Niewejaarskraal operations are being commissioned within three months of presenting the project proposal to the board - a performance milestone for the company,” president and CEO James Campbell said.
He noted that the company was positioned to have three producing mines in the Middle Orange River region by the end of the calendar year, which would have a total monthly processing capacity of 370 000 m3, placing Rockwell well on its way to achieve its mid-term objective of 500 000 m3.
On a consolidated basis, the first-quarter processed gravel volumes increased by 11% to 893 833 m3 year-on-year. The production and carat recovery at Saxendrift was consistent, including the recovery of nine stones of more than 20 ct each.
Rockwell said the three royalty-mining contracts, being undertaken by two contractors operating at the Tirisano property, had gained momentum in the period, producing 1 984 ct.