Aim-listed BlueRock Diamonds produced 4 643 ct of diamonds at its Kareevlei mine, in South Africa, in the first quarter of this year, despite experiencing persistent wet weather conditions.
This was a 32% improvement on the 3 507 ct produced in the first quarter of 2021.
The average price per carat also improved by 54% year-on-year from $446/ct to $686/ct.
BlueRock has been focused on mine development to ensure consistent ore supply, which has required a significant increase in waste mining in the short term and will continue into the medium term.
“Although mined tonnes achieved are significantly higher than the comparable period in 2021, the rain has delayed progress in this area, impacting on quality ore supply in April.
“Management has, therefore, taken steps to make further improvements to the processing operation, which will unquestionably help in ramping up production as we move into the drier weather conditions,” says executive chairperson Mike Houston.
Meanwhile, he notes that the market for diamonds produced from the company’s Kareevlei mine, remained positive throughout the reporting quarter, with carats sold up 47% year-on-year to 5 887 ct.
Houston points out that the supply side of quality rough diamonds remains bright, which was the case even before the conflict in Ukraine arose. BlueRock continues to recover “excellent stones” with nine high-value diamonds recovered and sold in the first quarter.
He concludes that BlueRock is well-positioned to achieve a step-change in its production and financial profile as it sits with a stronger balance sheet, after having completed a £2.1-million placing, and a fair wind with regard to the diamond market.
The company’s production guidance remains unchanged at between 36 000 ct and 43 000 ct this year and about 43 000 ct in 2023.