Firestone Diamonds plc posted a small decline on the year in its net loss to $7.8 million in the first half of its 2018 year ended 31 December 2017 from $8.8 million in the year-earlier period. Commercial production commenced at Liqhobong on 1 July 2017.
The miner reported that the average price per carat in the period was $74. Revenue was $26 million.
It recovered 379,716 carats from the Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho, including a 134-carat gem-quality light yellow diamond.
In February, subsequent to the period end, the miner held its first sale of 2018 when all 114,887 carats on offer were sold at an average value of $82 per carat with total sales of $9.4 million.
Stuart Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Firestone, commented: "In our first six months of full scale production at Liqhobong, processing rates were above expectations, while costs continued to remain below our targeted levels. To address the lower than expected diamond values, we announced a revised mine plan at the end of the period, which is designed to maximize cash flow in the shorter term while we address diamond value recoveries.
"The company entered the second half of the financial year on a strong financial footing, having raised $25 million at the end of the period, while also proposing revised terms on its credit facility, as it embarks on its revised mining plan. With the strong retail season and the conservative sales volumes from all the major producers towards the end of 2017, we have seen a very encouraging start to 2018 for the rough market.