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Gem Diamonds’ Letšeng Sales +7%, Average Price -1%

Nov 11, 2015 11:11 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Gem Diamonds' rough diamond sales advanced 7 percent to $65.6 million year on year in the third quarter that ended September 30, the company said. It sold 25,460 carats at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, an increase of 8 percent, and average prices fell 1 percent to $2,578 per carat. Gem Diamonds has a 70 percent holding in the Letšeng mine, with the Lesotho government owning the remaining 30 percent, according to the November 11 announcement.

Recovery from the Letšeng mine increased 4 percent to 29,460 carats at a grade of 1.68 carats per hundred tonnes. The mining group sold 13 rough diamonds for more than $1 million each, including an exceptional quality 357-carat white diamond for $19.3 million on tender. In total, it sold three diamonds of more than 100 carats during the quarter.

Separately, the company revised its recovery guidance for the full year higher to 105,000 to 108,000 carats, compared with 102,000 to 107,000 in earlier guidance in March. Expected sales were also adjusted to between 103,000 and 105,000, as opposed to 102,000 to 107,000 in the March statement.

“It is pleasing to see that the prices achieved for Letšeng’s diamonds during the third quarter have remained robust despite the challenging market conditions experienced throughout this period,” chief executive officer Clifford Elphick said in the statement. “The large high-quality diamonds, for which Letšeng is renowned, have contributed to a strong third-quarter average price.

“Letšeng has also delivered a strong operational performance, with ore treated, grade and carat recoveries ahead of those of the previous quarter and expected to exceed original full year guidance.

Meanwhile, Gem Diamonds recovered 31,922 carats at 29.1 carats per hundred tonnes from Ghaghoo, a Botswanan mine that opened in September 2014 and is wholly owned by Gem Diamonds. Five tunnels are being mined, with an additional four being developed. It recovered 115 diamonds of more than 4.8 carats from the mine during the quarter, including 13 of more than 10.8 each. The company sold a parcel of 29,891 carats for $4.9 million, or an average price of $165 per carat, in July, bringing the total average to $176 per carat for the year to date.

Elphick said levels of ore treatment and carat recovery at Ghaghoo had increased by more than 30 percent on the previous quarter but said production there “faces a very challenging market at present.”
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Tags: Botswana, Gem Diamonds, Ghaghoo, Lesotho, Letšeng, Rapaport News
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