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Rockwell's 4Q Production +77%

Apr 17, 2012 9:12 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Rockwell Diamonds will report its fiscal 2012 financial results in May, but today the junior miner updated investors on its production results for the fourth-quarter. Rockwell Diamonds' total production rose 77 percent to 4,022 carats for the three months that ended on February 29. Saxendrift's diamond production rose 50 percent year on year to 1,437 carats. Tirisano is expected to reach full production in late July 2012, but the company managed to record 535 carats from this property during the period. Klipdam's production rose 57 percent to 2,050 carats.

James Campbell, Rockwell's chief executive, defined the quarter as reasonable. ''Our priority for the quarter was the continued implementation of fit-for-purpose processing technology and active management of the mine plans at our three operational mines to achieve our production improvements with a continued focus on managing our costs. The next set of objectives that we have set ourselves is the commissioning and testing of the bulk x-ray plant at Saxendrift and the ramp up of Tirisano, both of which should impact positively on our business.''

The junior miner will continue to fine-tune operations and focus on medium- to long-term growth. ''Of particular significance is the acquisition of the Jasper mine, which is adjacent to Saxendrift and has the potential to extend the life of this mine,'' Campbell explained. ''Work on re-optimizing the feasibility study for the Wouterspan mine using later and more applicable technology will start once the results from the Saxendrift bulk x-ray project are forthcoming.''

In other company news, the board of directors approved Stephen Dietrich as an independent non-executive director who will also join Rockwell's audit committee. Dietrich retired from De Beers in 2009 at which time he held the position of finance director.

"We are delighted to welcome Stephen, who is a stalwart of the diamond industry, to the board. His finance and diamond experience will undoubtedly complement the experience and expertise of our board and we look forward to his contribution to the company," said Mark Bristow, Rockwell's chairman. "This appointment fulfills our stated objective of enlisting a strong board of directors that is capable of supporting the already improved beefed-up management team in its strategy to build and grow a value focused diamond business capable of delivering value for its stakeholders."

Recently, Rockwell Diamonds reached an agreement with Africa Vanguard Resources to refinance a purchase deal from 2008. The new arrangement gives Africa Vanguard Resources an 8 percent holding in Rockwell for the Jasper diamond mine and paves the way for the mining firm to bring in additional black economic empowerment (BEE) business partners at the different operating levels. The mining company is in discussions with several BEE entities that are in a position to fund their shareholding as well as their share of future and planned investments, supporting Rockwell's funding requirements to expand its production profile, according to the statement.

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