Lucara expects higher revenues for 2024; announces new large diamond recoveries

The Karowe openpit mine

The Karowe openpit mine

21st February 2024

By: Chanel de Bruyn

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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Canada-headquartered Lucara Diamond Corp, which owns and operates the Karowe mine, in Botswana, expects its revenues to rebound to between $220-million and $250-million this year, after a "challenging" market in 2023 resulted in revenues of only $177.4-million, compared with the $212.9-million in revenue generated in 2022.

The lower revenue contributed to a decrease in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to $54.4-million, compared with $86.7-million in 2022.

Lucara also posted a net loss of $20.2-million for 2023, compared with net income of $40.4-million in 2022, as a result of the lower revenue, an impairment of intangible assets and a significant noncash deferred tax expense.

"Changes in global economic conditions, consumer demand, geopolitical events and industry-specific dynamics resulted in a challenging market in 2023, with reduced demand and downward pressure on both polished and rough diamond pricing, especially in the smaller size classes," the company states.

It notes, however, that restricted supply by the world's largest diamond producers towards the end of the year, together with the Group of Seven discussions surrounding sanctions on rough diamonds from Russia, had resulted in low levels of price recovery at the end of the year.

"The long-term outlook for natural diamond prices remains positive, anchored on improving fundamentals around supply and demand as many of the world's largest mines reach their end of life," it says.

During 2023, Lucara recovered 395 134 ct of diamonds, compared with the 335 769 ct recovered in the prior year.

Notably, it recovered 602 "special" diamonds – those weighing more than 10.8 ct each – with 22 of the "special" diamonds having weighed more than 100 ct each and five more than 300 ct each. These included a 692 ct Type IIA diamond and a 1 080 ct Type IIA gem-quality diamond, in August.

Carats sold also increased to 379 287 ct, compared with the 327 028 ct sold in 2022.

Lucara expects to recover and sell between 345 000 ct and 375 000 ct of diamonds this year

The Karowe Underground Project (UGP) remains a priority for Lucara, with president and CEO William Lamb saying it represents an exciting and valuable future for the company.

Lucara invested $101.3-million in the UGP during 2023. By the end of the year, the production and ventilation shafts were both at 348 m below collar or 666 m above sea level and the process of establishing the first shaft stations and lateral connection between the two shafts (670 level) had commenced.

The miner will invest up to a further $100-million in the UGP this year.

Activities for the first quarter of this year include, besides others, the completion of mining and construction activities on the 670 level station, including connection of the two shafts and establishment of electrical substation, sump and de-watering pumps and ventilation doors; the procurement of underground equipment, including dewatering pumps, underground crush and convey systems and the permanent stage winder; the commissioning of the permanent bulk air cooler system; the preparation of tender documents for the underground lateral development work; and a continuation of detailed design and engineering of the underground mine infrastructure and layout.

Lucara says it has also, this week, recovered a 320 ct and a 111 ct diamond, as well as two diamonds weighing more than 50 ct each from the Karowe mine.

"The 320 ct diamond is a stunning, gem-quality, top light brown diamond, while the 111 ct diamond is described as a magnificent Type IIa white stone of high quality. The two +50 ct stones add to these recent recoveries and are also Type IIa white diamonds. These recoveries add to the collection of significant diamonds recovered at Karowe and further solidifies Lucara's reputation as a leader in the recovery of large, high-quality diamonds," the miner says.

"These diamond recoveries from the EM/PK(S) domain of the South Lobe further validate the quality and potential of the Karowe mine. We are thrilled with the consistent success we continue to achieve in uncovering large, high-value diamonds, reaffirming Lucara's position as a leading producer of large high-quality gem diamonds.

"Our team's dedication to innovation and operational excellence continues to drive our success, and we look forward to delivering further value to our stakeholders through these extraordinary discoveries," Lamb comments.




Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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