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Namakwa's Kao Rough Tender Nets $6M

May 17, 2012 5:09 AM   By Deena Taylor
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RAPAPORT... Namakwa Diamonds sold 16,388 carats for $6.47 million or an average $395 per carat at the first Antwerp sale of diamonds from its Kao mine in Lesotho. The sale, which took place through I. Hennig & Co's tender partner Fusion Alternatives, achieved prices 17 percent higher than initial estimates, resulting in an additional $1 million in sales income, the company said.

The largest diamond sold was a 38 carat stone that realized $253,384 or $6,668 per carat, while an 11 carat diamond sold for $165,220 or $15,020 per carat. Four diamonds with sizes varying between 6 and 14 carats sold for an average $7,100 per carat.

"This has been an important week for Namakwa and Storm Mountain Diamonds to move the sale of the Lesotho’s Kao production from South Africa to Antwerp," said Namakwa's chief executive,  Richard Collocott. "Antwerp remains, in our opinion, the most important trading center for rough diamonds and despite challenging market conditions we are pleased to have achieved solid prices.”
 
Arik Sela, managing director for I. Hennig, added, “We were very pleased with the strong interest shown in viewing the Kao production, and were proud to host representatives from the world’s most prominent diamantaires.”

Sales from the Kao mine will continue through Fusion Alternatives for the next six months with the next tender scheduled to take place on June 15 to 21. Since January 2012, Namakwa has sold 49,771 carats from the Kao mine realizing $13.8 million. As of May 13, production for the year stands at 61,997 carats with costs being in-line with the company's budget. The processing plant is currently producing 635 carats per day.

Additionally, the company noted that full year production at its North West alluvial operations was 15,614 carats, with average sales prices during the second half at $632 per carat. The company is still in discussions with the National Union of Miners (NUM) regarding wage demands. Strikes are not having a material impact on production with the company still expecting to produce 20,000 carats for the year.
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