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Mine Shutdown Impairs Mountain Province Output

Apr 19, 2021 4:13 AM   By Rapaport News
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Production from Mountain Province’s Gahcho Kué mine fell in the first quarter amid an unplanned shutdown of the deposit to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Rough-diamond output at the Canadian mine fell 16% to 1.4 million carats for the three months ending March 31, as the site closed for 22 days after several employees tested positive for the coronavirus, Mountain Province said last week. The company’s 49% portion of production was 682,143 carats. De Beers owns the remaining 51% stake in the mine.

Mountain Province also faced issues restarting operations due to extreme weather during one of the coldest months of the year, it noted.

Sales of rough diamonds fell 9% to 602,773 carats for the quarter. Total proceeds dropped 13% to $42.7 million, with the average price down 5% to $71 per carat. Although the average price decreased year on year, it was up 6% versus the fourth quarter of 2020, nearly returning to the pre-pandemic levels of $75 per carat seen in the first quarter of 2020, the miner explained.

The impact of the virus outbreak at Gahcho Kué was difficult, forcing the miner to limit the number of people in a given place, noted Mountain Province CEO Stuart Brown.

“This highlights the ease with which the virus can spread,” he added. “Pleasingly, the plant has continued to perform well and we are starting to catch up on the carat-production deficit. This, together with the continued price increases seen as well as the relative stability in the markets, is encouraging. With global vaccination rates increasing, we’re beginning to see a path to a return to normalcy, and with it the potential for continued diamond market recovery.”

Image: The Gahcho Kué mine. (Mountain Province)
Tags: Canada, COVID-19, De Beers, diamonds, Gahcho Kué, Gahcho Kué mine, mountain province, Rapaport News, stuart brown
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