The global market for diamond jewellery and rough stones is at its ‘healthiest’ state in recent years due to improvement in the industry’s supply and demand fundamentals.
“The business environment for diamonds and diamond jewellery is the healthiest we’ve seen in several years, spurred on by an improvement in global supply and demand fundamentals, a trend which is expected to continue,” Eira Thomas, president and CEO, Lucara Diamond Corp. said.
The Vancouver-based company announced last week its operating guidance for 2022, raising its Karowe diamond production from 300,000 carats to 340,000 carats and multi-channel diamond sales from $US185 million ($AU259.7 million) to $US215 million ($AU301.8 million) exclusive of estimated revenues from “large, exceptional diamonds that have historically formed a regular part of Karowe’s production profile.”
“The completion of a supplemental debt financing package in 2021 to support our underground expansion project was a significant de-risking milestone for the company and the project, which was $64 Million spent by Q3 2021 and 20% complete,” Thomas said.
He also noted the Karowe underground expansion “provides access to the richest portion of the orebody and will extend minelife to at least 2040. The project remains on schedule and budget, with a forecasted spend of up to $110 Million in 2022.”
The projections were made amidst the increasing demand for diamonds as intermediaries who cut, polish, and trade stones had increased their purchasing – where available – despite the price increases from producers such as De Beers and Alrosa.
The Karowe mine-located in Botswana – is 100 per cent owned by Lucara and said to be one of the world’s foremost producers of Type IIA diamonds in excess of 10 carats.
Commercial operations started in 2012 with open-pit mining expected to end in 2026, while underground mining operations forecasted to continue until 2040.
The Karowe mine is considered the only diamond operation in recorded history that has produced two diamonds exceeding 1,000 carats – the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona in 2015 and the 1,758 carat Sewelô in 2019.
Year to date, the mine has yielded 17 diamonds beyond 100 carats – five of which are in excess of 300 carats.
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