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DiamondCorp Delays Sales Due to Slow Mining Progress

Oct 15, 2015 12:43 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... DiamondCorp won’t sell diamonds until more have been accumulated in its inventory following poorer performance than expected at its Lace mine in Free State Province, South Africa, the company said in a statement posted on its website October 13.

The company said 4,250 carats of diamonds have been recovered so far at the site as difficult ground conditions have resulted in slower than scheduled development in the upper K4 block.

Larger parcels of diamonds tend to attract stronger prices than smaller ones of less than 10,000 carats, implying that its decision to wait for more stones to accumulate would help it achieve better prices, the company said.

An independent valuation by Antwerp-based agent Natural Diamond Corporation indicated diamond sales should average between $140 and $160 per carat at a 1.00mm bottom screen size cut off and between $160 and $200 per carat at a 1.25mm bottom screen size in the current market, according to a DiamondCorp statement. It said these valuation ranges exclude the occurrence of larger high-value stones, the frequency of which has not yet been established.

The news follows initial plans for DiamondCorp’s first diamond sale from the Lace mine in October. The miner had expected tunnel and initial slot drive tonnage to have yielded a sufficiently representative parcel of kimberlite diamonds by then.

Meanwhile, DiamondCorp said it has installed a 400 tonne-per-hour underground conveyor belt system at the Lace mine from first production level to surface to reduce the cost of moving material. The belt, which is already in use, is a “significant milestone” for the mine, chief executive officer Paul Loudon said in a statement on its website the same day.

By the end of October, all kimberlite and development waste mined at Lace will be transported to surface via the new conveyor rather than using dump trucks, resulting in a “significant reduction” in the cost per tonne to load and haul rock, the company said.

Dump trucks will still be used on the company’s UK4 production level to take material to the conveyor belt at a planned rate of 30,000 tonnes per month, but the belt will be extended over time to the first block cave level as mining of UK4 progresses, according to the statement.
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