At its Annual General Meeting presentation, Lucapa, the Australian company operating two of the world's highest $ per carat diamond mines, Lulo in Angola (alluvial) and Mothae in Lesotho (kimberlite), sized up the effects of the COVID pandemic on the company's operations and performance.
Firestone Diamonds is extending the temporary closure of the Liqhobong mine in Lesotho, until April 2021 or until the market improves. Firestone slashed salaries and has let go most of the workers operating at the mine, which is Firestone's main asset. The company's BK11 operation in Orapa region Botswana, has been under care and maintenance for several years.
Gem Diamonds has been granted permission by the government of Lesotho to reopen its Letšeng Mine following the three week lockdown, with effect from Monday 27 April. The country will remain on lockdown for more than another week, until May 5. The miner said it is taking all of the necessary precautions to protect its people. The mine is located in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho at an elevation of 3,100 m (10,000 ft). It is the world's highest diamond mine.
Firestone Diamonds has announced it would shutter its Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho likely for "at least" 12 months until the diamond market recovers. The suspension of operations at the mine necessitated by the South African Governmen's directive requiring a 21-day national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic only added to Firestone's troubles, but the pandemic is starting to take its toll right across southern Africa’s diamond mining sector.
Gem Diamonds is seeking alternative methods to keep revenue flowing during the days of the coronavirus lockdown. Today they announced that the first round of the flexible tender sales process concluded on 26 March 2020 and raised US$12.1 million for a selection of Letšeng’s large, high quality diamonds.
Gem Diamonds yesterday announced that its profit for 2019 took a plunge as weaker diamond prices and fewer large diamond recoveries put pressure on a miner whose product was expected to shelter it somewhat from a challenging market. Gem's profit for the year from continuing operations fell 71% to $15.0 million from $52.4 million in 2018, while its attributable profit lost 77%, falling to $7.1 million from $31.7 million a year ago. The stock market was not kind to Gem's share price, which this week sunk to an all-time low.
Gem Diamonds dug up a 114-carat high quality D color diamond on 2 March 2020 at the Letšeng mine in Lesotho. It is the second stone larger than 100 carats they have unearthed this year. The previous one was an exceptional 183-carat white Type IIa diamond receovered a month ago (3 February 2020). That very same day, the company said, they also recovered another two high-quality diamonds, one of 89 carats and the other of 70 carats.
Firestone Diamonds has reported that production during the second fiscal quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2019) fell significantly on account of the disruption in power supply to the mine in October. The power supply to the mine was disrupted on 1 October, causing the processing plant to be shut down until 26 October when an alternative electricity supply was provided by diesel generators. During this time, no ore could be treated. The mine ran on generator power until until 1 December when the grid power was restored and operations returned to normal.
Firestone Diamonds this morning (Feb. 25) announced its plans to cancel its AIM listing as its anticipated value of its diamonds never materialized, leaving the miner unable to service its debt. The deterioration of the rough diamond market in 2019, putting additional price pressure on the smaller stones that form the bulk of the diamonds recovered from the Liqhobong mine is Lesotho, effectively sealed the deal. Firestone says that the costs associated with maintaining the AIM listing provide minimal benefit and the funds can be better utilised to extend the company's operating window.
Gem Diamonds, the London-based miner that operates the famous Letšeng mine high in the mountains of Lesotho, reported a major uptick in its fortunes in the fourth quarter of 2019 as revenue for the period (Oct. 1 - Dec. 31) increased 41% over the previous quarter on a near-equal rise in the volume of carats sold and the average price per carat. The improved performance was sorely needed, as even with the Q4 increases the miner's 2019 fell by a third in a difficult market.
Lucapa Diamond Co. and its partners today announced its first run of mine diamond sales from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola and the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho generated combined gross proceeds of US$5.5 million (A$8.2 million).
Gem Diamonds officially rang in the new year with the recovery of an exceptional 183-carat white Type IIa diamond on 3 February 2020. On the same day, the company said, they also recovered another two high-quality diamonds, one of 89 carats and the other of 70 carats, from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho.
Lucapa Diamond Company today announced that in 2019 the miner smashed its previous annual high in group production, recovering 49,120 carats compared to 19,196 carats last year.
Lucapa Diamond Company earned US$6.4 million (A$9.3 million) at the latest sale of diamonds from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola and the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho. This sales brings Lucapa's total 2019 sales of Lulo and Mothae diamonds to US$55.0 million (A$79.0 million), more than doubling their entire earnings of US$26.4 million a year ago.
Gem Diamonds recovered a 114-carat Type 1 yellow diamond on 9 December 2019, the miner reported this afternoon. It is the 11th diamond weighing more than 100 carats to be recovered at the Letšeng mine in Lesotho in 2019, and the fourth yellow diamond that tops the 100-carat milestone. The miner recovered a 114.2-carat yellow diamond from the mine in August, as well as a 135- and 134-carat yellow earlier this year. Letšeng is renowned for known for yielding large, high-quality stones.
Gem Diamonds unearthed a 93.5 carat top-quality white Type IIa diamond from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho on 30 November 2019, which followed the recovery of two diamonds weighing more than 100 carats earlier in the month: a 120-carat, high-quality, white, type IIa diamond and a 125-carat, low-quality stone. In a recent meeting of shareholders, however, a significant number - nearly 25 percent - voted against reelecting CEO Clifford Elphick to the company’s board in an effort to force approval of share buybacks and dividends.
After a nearly month-long cessation of production activities due to power outages, Firestone Diamonds resumed production at its 75% owned Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho on October 26. The company successfully commissioned rented diesel generators and the processing plant is currently operating at between 80% and 90% of full capacity as the new power generation system is being optimised.
Leading producer of high-value stones Gem Diamonds recorded modest declines in Q3 compared to Q2, reporting fewer carats sold, lower revenue and average prices achieved for its goods from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho. A year-over-year comparision, however, paints a picture of a more substantial decline and reflects the realities miners are facing in this slumping market.
Gem Diamonds recovered a 161-carat high quality white Type IIa diamond at the Letšeng mine on 28 October 2019. The lastest find is the fifth exceptionally-sized (+100 carat) white diamond unearthed this year. Together with three yellows stones larger than 100 carats the miner recovered this year, their total number of exceptional finds now sits at eight.
Firestone Diamonds last week reported a decline in revenue during for the quarter ended 30 September 2019 (Q1 of their 2020 FY) due mainly to lower sales prices for diamonds from its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho. The miner has had to deal with a power supply cut to the mine since 1 October, which forced Firesetone to temporarily shut down the mine's treatment plant until power is restored.
As first reported nearly two weeks ago, the power is still out at Firestone Diamonds' Liqhobong mine in Lesotho. The company said that "whilst every effort has been made over the past week to identify and to resolve the power issue, the Liqhobong mine remains without sufficient power to operate the processing plant."
Lucapa Diamond Co. and its respective partners have reported record production for the September 2019 Quarter (July - Sept.) as its their high-value Lulo alluvial mine in Angola and the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho achieved combined production of 14,610 carats. The company says its results are "in line with Lucapa’s strategy of expanding high-value diamond production to maximise revenue generation."
Firestone Diamonds has announced a production disruption at its 75% owned Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho due to intermittent power supply. The Liqhobong Mine is supplied electricity from the Muela Hydropower Station (MHS) which is owned by the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) and which forms part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase 1 Katse Dam.
Gem Diamonds on September 11 recovered a D-color, type II diamond weighing 127 carats from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho. The lastest find is the fourth exceptionally-sized (+100 carat) white diamond unearthed this year. Together with the three yellows stones larger than 100 carats recovered this year, their total of exceptional finds now sits at seven: the miner this year has recovered gem-quality white diamonds weighing 123.5, 127, 140 and 161 carats to go with gem-quality yellows weighing 114.2, 134 and 135 carats.
Gem Diamonds first half 2019 results took a downturn as the miner recoverd fewer large stones at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, while the average prices achieved per carat - while still the highest in the business - fell well below their averages over the past three financial halves. While year-over-year comparisons are somewhat skewed by the very high bar set in in H1 2018, revenue from the sale of rough stones was down 44% to $94.5 million compared with $168 million in H1 2018, though it was not too far off revenue from the previous half (H2 2018), which totaled $99 million.
Lucapa Diamond Company, which operates high-value mines in Lesotho (Mothae) and Angola (Lulo), saw its first half 2019 net profit after tax jump to US$1.1 million compared with a US$4.3m loss during the same period last year as an increase in production led to higher sales, complemented by a massive jump in the average price per carat sold. Their combined rough sales rose by 85% to US$29.4 million from US$15.9 million a year ago.
Gem Diamonds has unearthed a 114.2-carat yellow stone from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, making it the fourth major recovery of a colored diamond from the mine this year and the sixth gem-quality stone larger than 100 carats since the year began.
Replicating the first-half results of 2018 was always going to be a challenge for Gem Diamonds, and against that high bar the miner came up short in H1 2019.
Gem Diamonds recovered a 123.5-carat high-quality Type II white diamond at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho on Saturday, 20 July, the company announced this week. This find brings to three the number of white diamonds weighing more than 100 carats the miner has unearthed this year, and it is its second in the month of July. Gem recovered a similar 'high-quality white diamond' weighing 140 carats July 6,
Firestone Diamonds achieved solid fourth quarter production to hit the lower end of its FY 2019 guidance, but the miner's year was made 'tough' by a market that eschewed the smaller, lower value goods that make up the bulk of the output at the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho. Firestone produced 208,572 carats during Q4 ended 30 June 2019, representing an 34% increase compared to 155,206 carats in the previous quarter.
Gem Diamonds has unearthed a 'high-quality white diamond' weighing 140 carats from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, making it the second white diamond larger than 100 carats recovered this year as well as the fourth of this magnitude in 2019.
Lucapa Diamond Company is expecting to start turning an operational profit this year after achieving exceptional prices for its rough diamonds at its H1 tenders in Antwerp. The miner says it has also delivered on key operational goals at its Lulo (Angola) and Mothae (Lesotho) diamond mines in the June 2019 Quarter as well as in the first half of 2019. In H1 2019, the company recovered 20,504 carats and banked $US29.4m (AUS$41.9m) from sales.
Firestone Diamonds has recovered a 54-carat intense fancy yellow, sawable diamond from its Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho, the company announced this morning. This recovery follows that of a 72-carat yellow makeable stone last April. The miner also has a a 134 carat gem-quality light yellow diamond on its resumé. The most reecent diamond will go on sale in Antwerp at the next tender, which is scheduled to take place during the first week of September 2019.
Gem Diamonds has unearthed a 135-carat yellow from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, making it the third major recovery of a colored diamond discovery from the mine this year. Gem recovered an exceptional, 134-carat Type I yellow diamond back in April - the first yellow stone of that magnitude since they dug up a 151.52-carat yellow diamond nearly two years ago.
Gem Diamonds has sold its Ghaghoo mine in Botswana to Pro Civil, a local company, for $5.4m (R77m), bringing to an end Gem's struggles with the underground mine that never lived up to its expectations. Pro Civil, a company registered in Botswana, will acquire Gem Diamonds Botswana Proprietary and the Ghaghoo mine, which has been on care and maintenance since March of 2017.
ASX-listed Lucapa Diamond Company held the second tender in 2019 of diamonds from the new Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, selling a parcel of 7,008 carats of rough diamonds sold at Bonas tender house in Antwerp for a total of US$3.5 million (A$5 million). The tender included prices of up to US$26,000 per carat paid for individual Mothae gems.
Lucapa Diamond Company has recovered of a gem-quality, 126-carat diamond from the new Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho. The 126-carat stone is the largest diamond recovered since commercial mining operations commenced in January 2019 and the largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered from Mothae.
While the volume of carats Gem Diamonds sold in Q1 2019 (Jan. 1 - March 31) from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho fell by 18% from the previous quarter to 27,335 carats, those sales packed a punch, generating $51.9 million in value, a 24% increase from Q4 2018. Still, the miner could not keep pace with its torrid start to 2018.
A mechanical breakdown and the mining of a lower grade area of the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho led to a signficant production decline for Firestone Diamonds during the quarter ended 31 March 2019 (Q3 of tFY 2019), but revenue rose on a rebound in the average price per carat and the sale of high value stones.
Lucapa Diamond Co. has reported an "excpetional performance" from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho in its first full quarter of production, while output from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola fell as the miner focused predominantly on lower grade mining areas. The miner held two milestone tenders during Q1 2019: its first ever sale of Lulo diamonds via international tender under the new diamond marketing reforms enacted by the Angolan President, Joao Lourenco, and its first commercial run of mine tender from Mothae via Bonas tender house in Antwerp.