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Moving the posts

Baitshepi Sekgweng
BATTLING THE MARKET: Lucara's Karowe Diamond Mine

Lucara revise production targets amid weak market

With De Beers resolutely sticking to their 2023 production targets, another diamond giant, Lucara, have taken the opposite route, revising its goal for the year.

Initially, the company was anticipating revenue of around $200-230 million from its Letlhkane-based Karowe mine.

However, demand for the stone has dropped steadily over the course of the year as has its price; the goalposts have moved, and Lucara are now targeting $160-190 million.

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As of the end of September, revenue stood at $136.8 million.

The Canadian outfit have also lowered their sales target, cutting it to 365 – 385, 000 carats having originally planned to sell between 385 – 415, 000 when the year started.

Similarly, Lucara anticipated the recovery of 395 – 425, 000 carats from 1.9 – 2.3 million tonnes of ore. This has now been scaled down to 395 – 405, 000 carats, although the amount of ore this will be sourced from was increased to 2.4 – 2.6 million tonnes.

In terms of waste tonnes to be mined, the numbers rose to 2.8 – 3.1 million from 2.2 – 2.8 million tonnes. This is to fast-track underground operations, which will happen in the same pit.

“Tonnes mined have been adjusted to reflect the acceleration of mining in the open pit which has been implemented to access high value ore from the south lobe earlier in the mine plan as well as to optimize costs. Following the expected completion of processing of the ex-pit material, in Q1 2026, the plant will transition to processing stockpiled material until the delivery of ore from underground expansion project begins in Q1 2028,” explained the Canadian miner in a recent statement, adding $20.3 million was spent on shaft sinking activities towards the Karowe underground expansion project development during the third quarter of 2023.

One figure that did not change was the amount of ore to be processed, which remained steady at 2.6 – 2.9 million tonnes.

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Despite back-peddling to a more modest yearly target, Lucara actually enjoyed a relatively successful third quarter (July – September), raking in $56.9 million. This was a 14 percent increase from Q3 of 2022.

“The third quarter results are very good when considering the market dynamics and the current state of the diamond sector. During this period of market weakness, the company is focusing on operational efficiency, lessons learnt in previous quarters of underground shaft sinking and development have been successfully converted into knowledge which is delivering weekly sinking rate records ,” reflected Lucara CEO, William Lamb.

The long term outlook for natural diamonds remains positive based on the improving fundamentals around the supply and demand as many of the world’s biggest mines reach their natural end of life over the next decade. A slow recovery of economic growth in China and an import ban on rough diamonds into India has muted the recovery of rough diamond prices following a soft market.

Further, signs of financial instability are emerging for producers of lab grown diamonds, giving hope for natural diamonds pointing to a strong price growth over the next years as demand is expected to outstrip future supply.


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Q1 (January – March) : $41.3 million

Q2 (April – June) : $38.6 million

Q3 (July – September) : $56.9 million

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