Firestone Diamonds narrowed its annual loss by 91% amid higher sales, and due to the absence of an impairment charge it incurred a year ago.
The miner recorded a net loss of $14.2 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, it said last week. That’s compared with a loss of $151.7 million last year after a permanent reduction in the value of its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho forced it to write off $122.6 million.
Rough-diamond output at Liqhobong more than doubled to 835,832 carats from 365,891 carats a year earlier as the miner reached commercial production at the asset in June 2017, just before the start of the fiscal year. As a result, revenue grew to $62.2 million from $27.8 million, while sales volume increased to 831,637 carats, versus 310,376 carats a year before. However, the average price slipped 17% to $75 per carat.
While Firestone saw lower-grade production in the first half of the year, that figure increased in the second half after a move to the higher-grade southern part of the pit.
“The 2018 financial year was an eventful one, marking the first full year as a diamond producer at Liqhobong,” Firestone CEO Paul Bosma said. “Having concluded a $25 million fundraising at the end of December 2017 and restructuring our ABSA debt facility, we entered the second half of the financial year on a much stronger financial footing. We had an exceptional final quarter from an operational perspective.”
Firestone owns 75% of Liqhobong, with the remaining 25% held by the Lesotho government.
Image: Liqhobong mine. (Firestone Diamonds)