Lucara’s bright forecast

Baitshepi Sekgweng
EXPANDING: Karowe Mine

Diamond giant predicts big things for 2023

Lucara Diamond Corp expects 2023 to be another dazzling year, with the mining giant’s predicting they will rake in between P2.6 – 3 billion in diamond revenue from Karowe Mine.

According to the company’s outlook for the upcoming year, they expect to recover anywhere between 395, 000 – 425, 000 carats from 4.1 – 5.1 million tonnes of ore which to be mined over the 12-month period.

This represents a slight increase from the revised 2022 sales guidance, which forecasts revenue of P2.5 – 2.9 billion for the current year raised from 300, 000 – 340, 000 carats.

The report states that 52 percent of the recovered carats will come from the higher value units within the South Lobe while the remaining 48 percent of the carats will come from the Centre Lobe.

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Centre Lobe material, though it is of higher grade, has lower weight percentage of stones greater than 10.8 carats in size when compared to South Lobe material.

“The company will continue to use three different sales channels to maximize revenue and generate consistent cash flow to support the company’s operations and its investment in the underground expansion project. High value stones greater than 10.8 carats in size will continue to go into manufacturing pipeline at HB therefore giving the company exposure to polished prices and regular cars flow from the highest value portion of the Karowe production. For stones less than 10.8 carats, quarterly tenders and regular sales through Clara will continue as before,” reads the report.

However, the mine’s current expansion to underground mining is expected to gobble P1.4 billion next year, with much focus on shaft sinking activities, construction of the bulk air cooler, tendering the underground development contract and underground mining equipment purchases.

“Material from the open pit is planned to be processed between 2023 to 2026 when the mine transitions to underground. Ore from the underground operations is expected to supplement lower grade stockpile material during the transition to underground at the end of the open pit mine life,” continues the report.

Lucara hopes to draw ore from the Karowe underground expansion by 2026.

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The underground project was sanctioned last year at a budget of P6.8 billion and will extend the mine’s lifespan to 2040, contributing approximately P46 billion in revenue.

Since 2015, Karowe Mine has made headlines worldwide for the recovery of precious stones such as Lesedi La Rona, Sewelo and Sethunya.

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