|Diamond mining company Firestone Diamonds plc (Firestone) has announced the results of its latest diamond sales, held in July and September 2017 in Antwerp, Belgium, reporting a total of 195,330 carats sold, including one stone sold for over US$1 million. Total proceeds from the sales reached US$13.5 million, with the average value of US$69 per carat.
Firestone notes that, since commencement of production at the Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho in Q4 of 2016, the company has sold all 505,706 carats recovered, for US$41.3 million, at an average value of US$82 per carat.
"This average realised value per carat represents the continued lower than expected occurrence of larger, better quality diamonds and a subdued market, as was experienced in the previous quarter," says the announcement.
While Firestone's board notes that the lower frequency of higher value diamonds recovered to date is potentially a function of the mining that has taken place since commissioning in the lower grade areas within the open pit, mining in those areas is reportedly now nearing completion. The company expects the average value per carat to improve as mining progresses into all areas of the open pit, and anticipates an improvement in the occurrence of higher quality diamonds as the higher grade kimberlite areas are mined and treated.Firestone reports that the company is in the process of finalizing a new mine plan based on a revision of the expected average Life of Mine (LOM) dollar per carat value, which it anticipates will be higher than the average value realized at its two most recent sales of US$69 per carat, albeit it expects the average value to be lower than the original figure of US$107 per carat used in the Bankable Feasibility Study, which is due to the aforementioned current market conditions.