On Tuesday Canada’s Lucara Diamond, the company that hit the jackpot in 2016 after finding the world’s second-largest diamond, said its priority this year will be the completion of a feasibility study into life-of-mine expansion and potential underground production for its Karowe project, in Botswana.
Chief Executive Eira Thomas, in the firm’s operating outlook for 2019, said that achieving stabilization and significant improvement of their mining operations at Karowe in 2018, Lucara is now focused on optimizing the base business and pursuing a suite of high potential, organic growth opportunities.
The Vancouver-based company has set aside $14.8 million to complete geotechnical and hydrogeological drilling programs this year. It aims to recover between 300,000 and 330,000 carats from Karowe this year out of 2.5-million to 2.8-million tonnes of ore processed, at an operating cash cost of between $32/t and $37/t processed.
Commercial production at Karowe began in 2012. Since then, it has produced an average of 320,000 carats a year from the treatment of 2.5 million tonnes a year of ore from three kimberlite lobes.
Lucara also said it had sold $660,865 worth of its own diamonds on its recently-launched Clara online sales platform, which is driven by blockchain technology. It noted that it obtained 8% more for the diamonds traded that way than Lucara’s market price and 15% most than the reserve price placed on the goods. The online shopping site allows buyers to source rough diamonds tailored to specific polished gems demand, resulting in improved margins for both buyers and sellers.
“Though we are delighted with the prices achieved for the rough diamonds sold in this first sale, Clara's longer-term value will be realized through its' scalability, increasing the volume of rough diamonds transacted by adding production from other global diamond producers,” Thomas noted.