Lucara Diamond Corp.’s revenue nearly doubled in the first quarter, as it introduced a new tender process which enables it to sell its higher-value stones faster.
Revenue rose 92% to $48.7 million, as sales volume increased 50% to 95,057 carats. The average selling price climbed 28% to $512 per carat for the three months ending March 31.
During the quarter, the company‘s new combined tender enabled it to sell its exceptional stones at the same time as its regular stones. In the past, the miner held separate tenders for each, with those for exceptional diamonds occurring less frequently. The new strategy allows it to realize revenue for those valuable stones faster, Lucara said last week..
Net profit was $7.4 million, compared with a loss of $7 million during the same period last year.
Lucara recovered 132,336 carats during the quarter, from the processing of a record 760,000 tonnes of ore. Recoveries from its Karowe mine in Botswana included 170 diamonds over 10.8 carats, including seven that weighed more than 100 carats, the company noted.
During the period, the miner unearthed two gem-quality stones weighing 240 carats and 223 carats. It also recovered a 1,758-carat, near-gem-quality stone — the largest ever found in Karowe, and the largest in Botswana’s history.
“Lucara’s focus on operational excellence has delivered another strong quarter, having met or exceeded guidance with respect to ore mined and processed, as well as carats produced,” said Lucara CEO Eira Thomas.
During the quarter, the company completed two sales totaling $1.4 million on its new digital Clara platform, which allows customers to obtain the exact rough diamonds they need. It plans to add third-party production to the platform throughout the year.
Lucara expects revenue to be between $170 million and $200 million for 2019, from diamond sales of 300,000 carats to 320,000 carats, down from the 350,798 carats it sold in 2018. Revenue last year was $176.2 million. Production is forecast at 300,000 carats to 330,000, compared to total recovery of 366,086 carats last year.
Image: The Karowe processing plant. (Lucara Diamond Corp.)