Tanzania's Mwadui diamonds production rises

Diamond production at Williamson mine in Mwadui, Shinyanga Region has shot up in the quarter ending March this year, improving production quarters of the investor, Petra Diamonds mining firm.

In its trading update for the period from 1 January to 31 March 2015, the company said diamond production at Mwadui mine increased 27 per cent to 57 542 carat (ct).

Overall, Diamond mining company Petra increased production, boosted cash holdings and cut debt in the three months to March 31, in spite of a 31 per cent revenue fall, which analysts described as mildly disappointing.

While the Jersey headquartered company found this quarter’s like-forlike prices slightly higher in general, its own average prices fell below its own 2015 pricing guidance on the lower-quality mix of products it was able to offer, mainly because of dependence on mining diluted areas at its mature Cullinan and Finsch underground diamond mines.

The London-listed company, yesterday reiterated its commencement of dividend payments, with a maiden dividend of 2 pence a share to be paid for this financial year ending June 30.

But warned that it would continue to be dogged by grade variability and lower quality product mix from its mature Cullinan and Finsch mines, which was expected to result in below-range full-year results while it transitioned into areas containing undiluted ore.

While run-of-mine (RoM) volatility at Cullinan continued to constrain the company in the three months to March 31, with 10 per cent lower production at 166 846 ct, the Finsch mine and others in the Northern Cape, as well as Williamson, in Tanzania, had improved production quarters.

A decrease in waste development activities, additional measures to access higher grade areas in the old block cave, and first phase commencement of the C-Cut undercut would lead to an improved RoM grade profile at Cullinan, the company said.

Investec Securities mining analysts commented that the mildly disappointing Petra results should be seen against the background of the company transitioning through low-grade areas into fresh ore sources that would in future support rising volumes and falling costs.

Petra’s cash in hand rose to $41.8-million from $29.7-million in the corresponding quarter last year and its net debt fell to $99.3-million from the prior period’s $118-million.

On the marketing front, Petra described its first two diamond tenders as “well attended” and the upcoming two as attracting a high level of advance interest.

However, it disclosed that the market continued to face credit availability headwinds and US dollar impact on dollardenominated diamond prices.

While cautioning that the strong dollar could constrain a near-term recovery in the diamond market, Investec analysts described the market’s current credit constraint and excess polished inventory weaknesses as a temporary phenomenon.

Petra’s quarterly production was up 6 per cent to 791 443 ct, on 743 424 ct in the corresponding 2014 period, and production up 1 per cent to 2 392 511 ct in the nine months to 31 March.

In the absence of the previous corresponding quarter’s $25.6-million “exceptional stone” as well as product-mix changes and lower Cullinan grades, revenue fell to $96.1-million from $138.3-million previously.

Petra and its beneficiation partner are considering the most appropriate route to market for the now cut-andpolished 122 ct blue diamond, in which it retains a 15 per cent interest.

Expansion programmes are on track and capital spend is in line to deliver undiluted ore, but full-year production is expected to decline marginally below the previously guided 3.2-million carats to 3.3-million carats.

In addition to access to undiluted ore moving Petra away from low-grade risk from its mature underground mining areas, the company has also introduced X-ray florescence sorting machines to improve recoveries from the high density luminescent material associated with waste development.

Finsch production was up 12 per cent to 515 744 ct on the treating of 11 per cent more tailings tonnes. The RoM grade for the period was 42.3 ct for every 100 t, in line with revised guidance; the decreasing tailings grade is expected to improve going forward.

Production at the Koffiefontein mine rose 32 per cent to 15 862 ct and production at the Kimberley underground operation rose 11 per cent to 35 201 ct. Williamson’s production in Tanzania increased 27 per cent to 57 542 ct and the Helam mine in South Africa has been placed on care and maintenance.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Share on Google Plus

About Abduel Elinaza

This is a short description in the author block about the author. You edit it by entering text in the "Biographical Info" field in the user admin panel.