Lucara Diamond sold approximately $14.6 million worth of rough diamonds in two sales during 2011, its first year of recording diamond revenue. The mining company's net loss in 2011 came to $18.7 million compared with a loss of $15.6 million in 2010. The company improved its cash position as of December 31 to $48.6 million compared with $32.9 million the previous year.
William Lamb, the president of Lucara Diamond, said, "We've had an excellent, solid year of achievements as we prepare for the transition of Lucara from a development company to a new diamond producer. The delivery of the Karowe mine in 2012 is testament to managements ability to deliver a world class diamond mine on budget. We're proud of what we've accomplished and look forward to an exciting new chapter ahead as we enter the exclusive world of diamond producers."
Looking ahead, Lucara expects to complete construction of its Karowe mine production facility in Botswana during the first quarter of 2012. Production is scheduled to commence early in the second quarter and reach full production by the middle of the year. The company expects to conduct the first sale of diamonds from Karowe at its dedicated sales and marketing facilities in Gaborone shortly.
Trial mining will continue at the Mothae mine in Lesotho with efforts focusing on processing 30,000 to 50,000 tonnes of fresh unweathered kimberlite to determine the diamond recovery characteristics of this material. So far, Lucara has produced 14 diamonds greater than 20 carats from Mothae. The company expects ongoing diamond recovery and periodic sales of Mothae's diamonds throughout the year.