Lucara Diamond Corp. is predicting a rise in rough-diamond production and sales next year due to increased mining in the higher-value section of its Karowe mine.
Revenue should be between $170 million and $200 million in 2018, the miner said last week — compared with the $165 million to $175 million that the company expects to bring in this year. Estimated production and sales volume for next year is 270,000 to 290,000 carats versus a forecast of 260,000 to 270,000 carats this year.
Lucara recently cut its forecast for this year as sales slumped 20% in the first nine months due to delays in getting the operations of its new mining contractor, Aveng Moolman, off the ground. The Canada-based company had initially projected revenue of $200 million to $220 million from the production and sale of 290,000 to 310,000 carats this year, but last month lowered these expectations.
The sales predictions for both years exclude proceeds from exceptional diamonds, such as the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, which Lucara sold to Graff Diamonds for $53 million in September.
Up to 85% of the ore Lucara processes next year will come from the Botswana-located Karowe mine’s south lobe, which tends to yield better-quality and higher-value diamonds than the rest of the asset, the company projected. The producer will also continue to extract waste material to enable it to access that area in full, Lucara CEO William Lamb noted.