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Rockwell Recovers Cost From Pilot Bulk X-Ray Technology

Dec 3, 2012 3:15 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Rockwell Diamonds' pilot bulk x-ray project at its Saxendrift mine has recovered the cost of set up, according to the company. The bulk X-ray project was initiated one year ago and commissioned ahead of schedule, with a capital outlay about 7 percent lower than the initial budget of $1.5 million. During the past six months to date, Rockwell recovered  1,596 carats from reprocessed ore, which even included 52-, 72- and 145-carat stones, made an additional capital investment of $1.4 million and covered operating costs of $390,000. Revenue from the sale of rough diamonds recovered totaled  $4.2 million through October 31, the junior miner reported. 

The recovery tailings achieved a grade of 2.97 carats per 100 cubic meters, and the diamond recovery results suggested that the same technology deployment in run-of-mine applications across Rockwell's Middle Orange River projects should now  yield recovery rates and diamond values higher than initial plan. Rockwell stated, too, there is the added benefit that the new high-throughput bulk x-ray technology can lead to a meaningful reduction in operating costs.

"We are delighted that our initial capital outlay was paid back and believe this technology will become an integral component in our total diamond value management strategy," said James Campbell, Rockwell's chief executive. "The work represents the opportunity for a step change in Rockwell's approach to diamond recovery, enabling a quicker payback than any other type of recovery plant. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that we achieved this only from material that had been processed previously. We have yet to deploy the technology in a run-of-mine application.

"Our projects team has also demonstrated its capability to replicate the system on other operations. The next phase is to roll out the technology at the new Saxendrift Hill complex mine where the processing plant will be based on two bulk x-ray systems at a monthly processing rate of 100,000 cubic meters. Production is on track to commence early in the next fiscal year with an expected total capital outlay of about $2 million to be funded from working capital," Campbell said.

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