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Lucara to go underground at Karowe Mine

Kabelo Adamson

Lucara Diamond Corp, operators of Karowe Mine, has announced the positive results of a feasibility study to expand their operation underground.

This comes after the company embarked on a technical program to support a Feasibility Level Study for potential underground mining.

The program involved the completion of an updated mineral resource in which a total of US$21 million was spent.

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The underground expansion is expected to double Karowe Mine’s lifespan to 2040, generating revenue of US$5.25 billion and US$1.22 billion cash flow.

Since 2012, the mine, which has produced 15 diamonds in excess of 300 carats, has produced a total of 2.5 million carats, generating US$1.5 billion in revenue.

According to the company, updated resource has confirmed increasing value, with the combined open pit and underground operation indicating that the resource now stands at 54.27 million carats per hundred tonnes.

Meanwhile, Lucara has announced its 2019 third quarter results, which show that the company achieved revenue of US$45.3 million from the sale of 116, 200 carats. This marks a minimal decrease compared to the same quarter last year, when a total of US$45.7 million revenue was realised from the sale of 106, 600 carats.

Better recoveries in smaller, lower value diamonds are attributed to the 14 percent increase in the number of carats sold.

Although still profitable, the smaller diamonds are believed to impact the average price per carat sold.

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During the quarter, Lucara recorded a net loss of US$4 million, resulting in US$0.01 loss per share.

The increase in operating expenses and a non-cash expense is reported to have had the biggest impact on the current quarter’s results.

For the nine months up to the end of September this year, Lucara recorded revenue amounting to US$136.5 million compared to US$135.6 million registered during the same period in 2018.

It is reported that the first nine months of 2019 were characterised by a continued, strong, stable operating environment at Karowe Mine.

Following record production achieved in the first two quarters of the year, good production carried on into the third quarter, with 0.8 million and 1.5 million tonnes of ore and waste mined respectively.

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