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Lucara Sees More Lucrative Mining in 2017

Dec 1, 2016 10:45 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Lucara Diamond Corp. is shifting operations to a higher-value part of the Karowe mine in Botswana which it believes will enable an increase in dividend payments next year.

The miner anticipates increasing the payout to $0.07 (CAD 0.10) per share from this year’s $0.04 (CAD 0.06) as a “push back” in the mine pit will give it greater access to the lucrative south lobe. Lucara paid a special dividend of $0.34 (CAD 0.45) per share in September, in addition to the annual dividend that was distributed in four equal quarterly installments this year.

“2016 has been a successful year for Lucara with strong cash flows driven by revenues from the south lobe supported by our continued focus on cost control,” said William Lamb, Lucara's president and chief executive officer (pictured). “2017 sees our focus on advancing the push back in the pit at the Karowe mine, which is forecast to be complete by the end of 2018, giving us full access to the high-value south lobe ore and a significant reduction in waste mining.”

Lucara’s revenue will be in the range of $200 million to $220 million next year excluding the potential sale of the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond, the second largest rough stone in history, the company forecast. That’s the same figure it expected in 2016 when it gave guidance a year ago, which also excluded possible receipts from exceptional diamonds.

Total sales grew 45 percent to $229.4 million in the first nine months of this year, boosted by the record $63.1 million sale of the 813-carat ‘Constellation’ rough diamond in May. The company expects to sell 290,000 to 310,000 carats next year, versus last year’s prediction of 290,000 to 310,000 carats.

Images of Lesedi La Rona: Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sotheby's
Tags: diamonds, Karowe, Lesedi La Rona, lucara, Rapaport News, William Lamb
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