Lucara Diamond Corp. forecasts revenue at $170 million to $200 million, excluding the sale of significant high quality exceptional stones, in newly released operating guidance for 2018.
"Diamonds recovered and sold are forecast between 270,000 to 290,000 carats," the miner said. "The recovery of these high value diamonds can positively impact the company's revenue. To date, the Karowe mine has produced and sold the world's two highest value rough diamonds, the Lesedi La Rona and the Constellation, for a combined value of $116.1 million as well as selling seven rough diamonds in excess of $10 million each."
Karowe operating cash costs are expected to be between $38-$42 per tonne processed as the company continues to advance the major push back to fully access south lobe ore. Operating cash costs, excluding waste mining is expected to be $21-$24 per tonne processed.
Based on the positive results from a Preliminary Economic Analysis (PEA) for a potential underground mine at Karowe, the company is continuing with a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) which it expects to release in Q2, 2018.
Lucara anticipates an annual dividend in 2018 of Canadian $0.10 per share to be paid in four equal payments in the last month of each financial quarter.
William Lamb, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: "The company is forecasting to mine robust volumes from the high value south lobe and continuing waste mining to complete the push back at the Karowe mine to fully access south lobe ore. In 2018, we continue to advance our internal growth projects including the pre-feasibility study for an underground mine at Karowe as well as our exploration portfolio.
"Following the successful completion of the MDR and sub-middles projects as well as the expected completion of the cut 2 waste push back in early 2019, operating and capital costs are forecast to be significantly reduced going forward contributing to free cash flow in future periods".
Cash costs per tonne of ore processed is forecast to be between $38.0 - $42.0 per tonne. To fully access cut 2 south lobe ore requires at large volume of waste to be mined which significantly impacts operating cash costs in 2018 as it did in 2017. Operating cash costs, excluding waste mining is expected to be between $21 - $24 per tonne processed. The strip ratio is forecast at approximately 5.0 - 6.0 in 2018 before decreasing significantly in 2019 and then forecast at under 2.0 going forward from 2020. The decrease in waste mining is expected to add to free cash flow once the cut 2 push back is complete in 2019.