Rockwell Diamonds Inc. generated US$5.9 million in total proceeds from the sale of 6,234 carats at an average price per carat of US$944 for the first quarter of fiscal 2013. This includes the sale of 1,005 carats from the proof of concept bulk x-ray machine that were sold for an average price per carat of US$853.
The miner's Klipdam mine, located 45 kilometers from Kimberley, South Africa, achieved a 20 percent increase in carats sold, as a result of mining the Rooikoppie unit. The average revenue per carat of US$550 was in line with the previous quarter, resulting from the finer diamond distribution in the previously mined Rooikoppie unit, which also has a lower cost of mining, notes Rockwell.
Although carats sold from the Saxendrift mine in South Africa's Northern Cape Province increased 12 percent year over year, (up 10 percent quarter on quarter), a lower average price per carat of US$1,727 was recorded. The year-over-year decline in average price per carat was due to the sale of several high-valued stones in the comparative quarter of fiscal 2012, only a handful of which are recovered annually, that significantly raised the average value per carat for that period, reports the mid-tier miner.
Diamonds recovered from Saxendrift tailings, using the proof of concept bulk x-ray project that was commissioned in April 2012, totaled 1,005 carats. These were sold at an average value per carat of US$853.
A total of 1,007 carats recovered from Tirisano mine in South Africa's Northwest Province were sold during the first quarter at an average price of US$311 per carat. The decrease in average carat value is due to mining a less clay-rich unit and the processing of tailings overlying the above unit during the rainy season, which has a smaller average diamond size, according to Rockwell. "This was necessitated by the mine's reliance, in the interim, on dry front-end processing capability. However, this will be chiefly mitigated with the installation of a wet front-end processing system which is currently being commissioned," states Rockwell.
The company continued to produce large stones at all its South African operations during the fourth quarter with the recovery of 69 stones exceeding 10 carats. For instance, Klipdam produced 18 stones exceeding 10 carats, including four stones exceeding 20 carats; Saxendrift produced 32 stones that were larger than 10 carats, with four +50 carat stones, including a 92 carat rough diamond; Tirisano produced three plus 10-carat stones; and the pilot bulk x-ray system produced 16 stones exceeding 10 carats from Saxendrift tailings, with the largest weighing 53 carats and 74 carats respectively.
These stones were channeled into the company's beneficiation joint venture with Steinmetz Diamond Group, which delivers value added revenues for Rockwell's stones that are larger than 2.8 carats.