Lucara Diamond Corp. reports that it sold 26,196 carats of diamonds from its wholly owned Karowe mine in Botswana through its new online auction system.
A total of 35 individual lots containing 29,339 carats of diamond were put up for sale this week through the on-line auction. Of the 35 lots, 30 were sold for total revenue of US$5.64 million at an average diamond value of US$215 per carat. Of the diamonds sold, the parcel included a 25.9-carat stone, which sold for US$5,022 per carat.
"With the first sale of Karowe production, Lucara has achieved the final milestone in its transition to an operating company. It is a direct reflection of the current status of global markets that not all diamonds were sold during this first auction, however, we are extremely bullish about the market outlook overall and look forward to our future sales," says William Lamb, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our new Karowe mine produces high quality diamonds and we can expect to always see steady demand regardless of the cycle the market is in."
According to the miner, ramp-up to full production is making "good progress" with the primary focus being on early development of the mine dewatering systems. The weathered nature of the ore currently being processed requires more water than anticipated during project evaluation. Plans are currently being executed to advance the installation of additional pumps to ensure sustainable water provision to support the ramp-up activities. It is envisaged that ramp-up to full production will continue into the third quarter of 2012.
As of the end of May, 2012, more than 33,500 carats of diamonds were recovered from 85,000 tonnes of ore processed at Karowe. The recovered grade of 39 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht) supports the resource grade estimate for the area of the pit being mined. The mine production plan for the remainder of 2012 includes ore from the North and Centre Lobes and will deliver an average ore grade of approximately 20cpht, notes Lucara.