Production at Gahcho Kué dropped 10% year on year to 1.7 million carats in the second quarter, as mining took place in a lower-grade portion of the deposit.
“The grade variance year over year is mainly a function of mining lower-grade-ore tonnes in [the second quarter of 2019] from Hearne and SWC kimberlites, in comparison to higher grades from the 5034 kimberlite in [the second quarter of 2018],” Mountain Province, which owns 49% of the project, said last week.
The plant treated 882,374 tonnes of ore during the three months ending June 30, a 2% decrease over the same period last year. The grade decreased 9% to 1.96 carats per tonne.
However, the average price remained largely on par with the previous year, as enhancements to the plant led to an increase in the number of larger, more valuable diamonds recovered. Sales fell 7% year on year to CAD 95.8 million ($71.7 million). Sales volume dropped 3% to 1.1 million carats, with the average selling price flat at CAD 89 ($67) per carat.
“Considering that lower-quality ore was being mined…and in addition to a softer diamond market year over year, achieving similar average values per carat…is very encouraging,” the company added.
Mountain Province’s share of production was 847,772 carats from its 49% stake in Gahcho Kué. De Beers holds the remaining 51%.
The company is on track to achieve its full-year production estimate of 3.3 million to 3.45 million carats.
Image: A yellow diamond from Gahcho Kué. (Mountain Province)