BlueRock Reports Record Production Volumes at Kareevlei Mine in Q3 2018
BlueRock Diamonds PLC, owner and operator of the Kareevlei Diamond Mine in the Kimberley region of South Africa, reported a record quarterly production volume of 63,621 tonnes for Q3 2018. This, the Company said, was achieved “despite issues with the crushing circuit in the early part of the quarter”.
This has brought production year to date to 133,050 tonnes; up 28% the on previous year (nine months to 30 Sept 2017: 103,506 tonnes)
The Company also noted that “Production in September 2018 ran at a much-improved average of 68 tonnes per operating hour (H1 2018: 54 tonnes per operating hour) following the introduction of the second cone crusher.”
BlueRock is now planning to “significantly increase” production capacity in 2019 through investment in the processing plant and personnel, subject to further funding. The Company said mining veteran Michael Houston (ex-Anglo American and Shanta Gold) is currently advising the Board “ahead of anticipated appointment in due course”.
The Company has also commenced production at the second kimberlite pipe – KV1 – which has an inferred grade of 6.3 cpht. To date, 20,000 tonnes have been mined from the pipe. BlueRock also reported that it had recovered the second largest stone of 10.58 carats in September 2018, with an estimated value in excess of US$ 50,000.
Value per carat for Q3 averaged US$ 341 as compared to US$ 362 for the same period in 2017.
The Company said that the average grade for the quarter remained steady at 3.1 cpht (H1 2018: 3.1 cpht). BlueRock, however, brought down average grade guidance for the full year to 3.0 cpht from 3.5-4.5 cpht declared earlier “reflecting the lower grade forecast whilst mining the near surface material”.
A revised production guidance for FY 2018 of 200,000 tonnes was declared lower than original guidance of 220,000 tonnes “due to continuing issues with the reliability of the plant”, the Company said.
BlueRock CEO, Adam Waugh, commented: “Our increased production in the quarter and in 2018 is encouraging however we are not yet where we would like to be. Operations are moving into an exciting phase and the knowledge built up at Kareevlei will be important in making the correct decisions for the future. Mike Houston and his team who come with experience of mining operations on a much larger scale than Kareevlei have been able to bring in some fresh thinking and in their initial assessment, are encouraged by the potential of the business.”
Waugh also announced that the Company was in the process of formulating expansion plans. Subject to funding, these would include investing in upscaling of the mining operation, plant and the necessary personnel in order to significantly increase the capacity and efficiency of its operations. The investment is expected to materially increase the profitability of Kareevlei.