Namdeb, De Beers' mining joint venture with the government of Namibia, says it has so far missed production targets this year due to problems associated with the slow commissioning of its rehabilitated Elizabeth Bay mine, reports the Namibia Economist.
Year to date, Namdeb has produced 198,000 carats, 30 percent less than the budgeted 283,000 carats, according to General Manager Riaan Burger, who spoke to journalists during a media visit at the mine last week. According to Burger, despite the slow start to the year, the company is still on track to meet its year-end profitability, as Elizabeth Bay is now producing well. In addition, cites the news source, revenue per carat has jumped 34 percent to US$611 from the budgeted U$456.
Namdeb reportedly injected around US$8.4 million (N$70 million) for the rehabilitation of the Elizabeth Bay mine, located south of Luderitz, after shutting it down in 2009 due to profitability problems. With the re-commissioned mine, Namdeb now expects to produce around 300,000 carats there alone out of just under 600,000 carats expected from all land-based operations, according to the Namibia Economist.
Namdeb is also battling to contain high operating costs, which Burger said remains a challenge to profitability and meeting long-term objectives. So far, costs have averaged US$15.2 (N$126) per tonne against a budgeted US$12.9 (N$107).
Meanwhile, Namdeb says it is looking at innovative ways to continue mining its low-grade resource at Daberas to extend the life of mine beyond 2014. Daberas has been operating since 2001.
The diamond producer is reportedly looking at new technology being developed that will allow mining operations to continue at Daberas, probably extending the life of mine until 2020 when the current mining license expires. The new technology is said to entail lower costs, innovative techniques and enable higher throughput rates, according to the news report.
Namdeb treats 2.8 million tonnes of ore per year at Daberas mine, recovering between 35,000 and 50,000 carats. For every 100 tonnes treated, anything between 0.5 and 1 carat is recovered, reports the news source, which adds that although the resource is considered low grade, diamonds produced at the mine located near the Orange River mouth, are of high value.