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Rockwell Aims to Increase Middle Orange River Production

Aug 30, 2013 5:49 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Rockwell Diamonds Inc. expects to increase production  at its Middle Orange River region diamond assets in an effort to improve quarterly earnings by improving its recovery of large, high-value rough diamonds.

The construction of two new mines, namely the Saxendrift Hill complex that is in production and Niewejaarskraal that is in early stages of production, is a key part of the mining company's new plan. Total capital investment of $3.6 million for the development of these two mines was financed internally.  As part of the aggressive strategy, Rockwell has also successfully commissioned and operated the more efficient bulk X-ray technology in both a concentration and recovery mode, thus obviating the need for lesser efficient and more costly pans, or DMS technology.

James Campbell, the CEO of Rockwell, explained that the miner had delivered on several notable milestones by developing these internally funded mines, which also  demonstrated its capability to bring production capacity on-line quickly. These efforts will bring Rockwell's average monthly production volume on the Middle Orange to 360,000 cubic meters, putting it on track toward a medium-term target and also leading to improved quarterly earnings, he said.

"Saxendrift Hill complex is an expansion of the operations at our flagship Saxendrift mine, where we continue to deliver a strong performance. At this new mine, which is now in production, we pioneered the implementation of the bulk X-ray technology in the full-production environment, where we are using it in both a concentration and recovery mode. We are delighted with these results, which showed a 40 percent increase in grade when we processed Saxendrift extension gravels in parallel through the bulk X-ray and the pan plant system at Saxendrift during the month of July, 2013.

"We have commissioned the DMS plant at Niewejaarskraal and are ramping up production, which we started within 10 weeks of receiving board approval for this project. While bulk X-ray technology will be considered for future upgrades at Niewejaarskraal, we based the first phase on DMS technology. This was due to the long lead time associated with implementing bulk X-ray technology there, which could not be considered for the current phase. As such, we have developed proven blueprints for processing plants that can be deployed as we grow our production profile across our existing inventory of properties in the Middle Orange River region or through acquisition,'' Campbell said.

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Tags: diamonds, Jeff Miller, middle orange, Production, Rockwell
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