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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Firestone Diamonds recovered of a 72 carat yellow, makeable diamond from its Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho, during the past weekend. The 72 carat diamond was recovered together with a 22 carat makeable white stone, followed by an 11 carat fancy light-pink stone. These diamonds will go on sale via First Element tender house at the next tender in Antwerp, which is scheduled to take place from May 8-14 2019 (see the entire Antwerp tender schedule here).
The state of the diamond mining industry as 2019 enters full swing is concerning to many throughout the trade. The fall in prices of small, lower-quality diamonds, a staple of many miners, had participants at the Africa Mining Indaba last week concerned about the sustainability of their operations if the market does not correct this year, with some even concerned about their survival.
Firestone Diamonds has announced the recovery of a 70 carat white, makeable diamond from its Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho.
Firestone Diamonds, a diamond producer with operations focused in Lesotho (Liqhobong Diamond Mine), reported "reasonsable" results in the quarter ended 31 December 2018 (Q2), increasing sales despite the "deterioration" in demand and prices for smaller, lower value stones. The miner sold 191,735 carats during the quarter, a slight decline from the 194,206 carats sold last quarter, realising revenue of $13.9 million (Q1: $13.5 million) at an average value of $72 per carat (Q1: $70 per carat).
Firestone Diamond has announced the recovery of a 46-carat white, makeable diamond from its Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho. The stone was recovered undamaged and will go on sale at the next tender which is scheduled to take place in Antwerp at the end of January 2019. The miner's sold a similar stone in Antwerp, a 67.6-carat white makeable for $900,000.
Firestone Diamonds posted solid production amid middling sales results in Q1 2019 (ended 30 September 2018), but its majority-owned Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho got off a strong start to the second quarter after selling its third most valuable stone to date. The start of Q2 was highlighted by the second sale of the 2019 financial year, where the diamond miner sold a total of 102,835 carats for US$8.2 million on October 26, including a 68 carat white diamond, the third most valuable stone sold to date for just under US$10 million, and a 20 carat yellow diamond.
Firestone Diamonds has just completed its first full year of production at the Liqhobong Diamond Mine (75% Firestone, 25% Government of Lesotho), ending an "eventful" year with mixed results. The company describes their first full year of production as "characterised by exceptional operational performance", as Firestone achieved their carat recovery guidance and exceeded their tonnage treated while operating at significantly lower cost than expected, and maintained an unblemished safety record.
Ari Epstein, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), along with several representatives from the Antwerp diamond industry today met King Letsie III of Lesotho in Brussels. Lesotho, a mountainous country fully surrounded by South Africa and numbering only two million inhabitants, is the world’s seventh most important diamond-producing country in terms of value. Lesotho’s entire diamond production, worth $342 million in 2017, is traded on the Antwerp market.
Firestone Diamonds, which mines the Liqhobong mine in Lesotho (75% Firestone, 25% government of Lesotho) reports an increase in production during the third fiscal quarter ended 31 March 2018, as the higher grade led to a 6.6% rise in diamond recoveries despite challenging conditions due to above average rainfall during the wet season.
Firestone Diamonds, which mines the Liqhobong mine in Lesotho (75% Firestone, 25% government of Lesotho) saw production decline somewhat in the second fiscal quarter ended 31 December 2017, as the average price achieved increased. 180,709 carats were recovered (Q1: 199,007 carats), reflecting the treatment of ore from a lower grade block resulting in a lower grade achieved of 18.8 cpht (Q1: 21.1cpht). However, the miner expects to see an increase in grade in the second half of FY2018 as mining moves to higher grade areas of the pit.
Firestone Diamonds commenced production at the Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho in October 2016, developing the new mine on time and under budget and hitting its early operational targets; however, lower than expected diamond prices achieved have forced the young miner to revise their plan. They held their first sale in Antwerp in February 2017, and on 30 June 2017 achieved commercial production. In late September, they reported they have sold all 505,706 carats recovered, for US$41.3 million, at an average value of US$82/ct.
Firestone Diamonds reports 199,007 carats were recovered Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho (owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Gov't of Lesotho) during the quarter ended 30 September 2017, ending the period, "slightly above all our anticipated production targets", said CEO Stuart Brown. Included in the recoveries were the largest diamond recovered to date, a 134 carat light yellow stone, as well as 45 specials (larger than 10.8 carats). This compares to 54 specials in the previous quarter. The 134 carat yellow diamond will be included in its next sale in Antwerp.
Firestone Diamonds sold a total of 195,330 carats at their latest tenders in July and September 2017 in Antwerp, netting total sale proceeds of US$13.5 million, including the sale of the company's second >US$1 million stone. Nonetheless, the average value per carat fell to $69 from $107/ct.
In its quarterly update on commissioning activities at its Liqhobong Diamond Mine (owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Government of Lesotho) for the quarter ended June 2017 (Q4), Firestone Diamonds says it completed its commissioning activities and reached full nameplate targets for all three months of the quarter. In Q4, Firestone treated 925,000 tons treated (Q3: 639,000 tons), bringing the total for the financial year to 1,966,000 tons, at the upper end of guidance range of 1,800,000 to 2,000,000 tons.
Junior miner Firestone Diamonds now expects to recover approximately 360,000 carats in the financial year ending 30 June 2017, against April's guidance of 300,000 carats, or roughly 20% more than anticipated. Firestone announced on 26 April 2017 that commissioning activities at the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho (owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho) were largely complete and that final ramp up was progressing on track, having achieved the plant's nameplate throughput capacity on multiple occasions since the commencement of operations.
In October Firestone Diamonds announced the recovery of its first diamond from the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho since the the re-commissioning of the new plant. Liqhobong is owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Government of Lesotho. Firestone has been ramping up production since then, and will hold its third tender in Antwerp as planned.
Firestone Diamonds has announced its quarterly update on commissioning activities at its Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho for the quarter ended March 2017 (Q3 of the Company's financial year): with commissioning activities largely complete and final ramp up progressing on track, during the quarter ended March 2017 the plant treated 639,000 tons (Q2: 402,000 tons), achieving nameplate production rates on numerous occasions. 103,000 carats were recovered in the quarter at a grade of 16.1 carats per hundred tons (cpht), against 58,000 carats in Q2 at a grade of 14.1 cpht.
Firestone Diamonds, the emerging junior mining company operating the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho, announced the recovery of its largest diamond to date: a 110 carat gem-quality light yellow diamond, unearthed during the ramp up phase at its Liqhobong. The Company believes this diamond recovery confirms the significant larger stones potential that exists at Lighobong.
Firestone Diamonds reports its unaudited interim results for H1 2017 - six months ended 31 December 2016 - highlighting the completion and commissioning of its Liqhobong Diamond Mine (Project) leading to its post-period initial two diamond sales in Antwerp. The Project was completed on time and within the US$185.4 million budget, and commissioning commenced in October 2016. Firestone achieved nameplate capacity on multiple occasions and 402,440 tons treated, recovering 57,723 carats at a total cost of $5.6 million.
Firestone's first sale of diamonds recovered from its Liqhobong Diamond Mine saw over 90 companies viewing the goods in Antwerp last week, with more than 38 companies making successful bids. The company sold all of the 75,936 carats offered for sale, realising an average price of US$107 per carat, resulting in total proceeds of US$8.14 million. Firestone says, "The average price per carat achieved was very pleasing, considering that the carats sold were recovered from the predominantly lower quality ore areas and are not necessarily representative of the run of mine ore.
Firestone Diamonds, the newest diamond miner in the Kingdom of Lesotho, is holding its maiden tender of diamonds from their Liqhobong Mine (Firestone 75%, Lesotho 25%) in Antwerp this week. It was the perfect occasion to catch up with Firestone CEO Stuart Brown in the offices of First Element, the tender house hosting the sale.
Firestone Diamonds has issued its fourth quarter (ended December 31) production results, announcing that its Liqhobong project construction is 100% complete and ramping up to nameplate capacity, and that its first diamond recoveries commenced in late October 2016. Firestone recovered over 20 special stones (larger than 10.8 carats), with the largest being a 37 carat white diamond, as well as several fancy yellow diamonds. Processing of lower grade stockpiles and diluted ore in the quarter produced 58,000 carats at a grade of 14.4 carats per hundred tons.
In October Firestone Diamonds announced the recovery of its first diamond from the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho since the the re-commissioning of the new plant. Liqhobong is owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Government of Lesotho. Firestone has been ramping up production since then, and will hold its first tender of approximately 80.000 cts.
Firestone Diamonds, which owns 75% of the Liqhobong Mine with the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho owning the other 25%, has reported profit after tax of US$13.6 million (2015: US$10.4 million loss).