VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Quebec diamond miner Stornoway Diamond Corp has reported strong operating results for the third quarter ended September, with diamond output and the Renard mine's grade performing above plan.
Stornoway sold a total of 405 643 ct during the quarter in two tender sales, with gross proceeds of C$48.1-million at an average price of C$119/ct. These amounts exclude 32 989 ct included in the final tender of the quarter, though this revenue will be recognised in the fourth quarter as proceeds from the sale were not received before quarter end.
In US-dollar terms, the average diamond pricing achieved at sale of $95/ct was an improvement compared with $87/ct in the second quarter and $81/ct in the first quarter.
Revenue during the third quarter totalled C$50-million. This was the third quarter after declaring commercial production at Renard, and there were no sales in the comparable period.
The company reported a net loss of C$3.1-million, or nil per share.
During the second quarter, the company mined 1.07-million tonnes from the Renard 2-3 and Renard 65 openpits, 1% above plan, with 523 257 t of ore extracted. The Renard plant processed 506 381 t of ore (6.6% below plan), with diamond recovery of 442 154 ct (5% above plan) at an attributable grade of 87 ct/100 t, which was 13% above plan.
During the quarter, the Stornoway board approved a programme of plant modification measures centred on a new ore-waste sorting circuit, with an extraordinary capital cost of C$22-million to be funded from existing financial resources. Construction on the new circuit commenced in September, and is expected to address an ongoing diamond breakage issue that results in smaller and lower-valued market prices since startup.
The new circuit will improve Renard's diamond size and quality profile through diamond breakage mitigation, and the circuit is expected to have an ancillary benefit of reducing the load on the rest of the process plant, allowing for future potential plant expansion.
At quarter end, cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments stood at C$52.6-million. Available liquidity, comprising cash and cash equivalents and available credit facilities, stood at C$157.8-million.