Production at the Gahcho Kué mine failed to meet Mountain Province’s expectations in the third quarter, as bad weather led to the mining of lower-grade ore.
Ore from the asset yielded 1.7 carats of rough diamonds per tonne in the three months ending September 30 — 28% lower than the same period a year ago. Total output fell to 1.5 million carats versus 1.8 million in 2018, even as the amount of material treated increased 17% to 890,325 tonnes.
“The severe weather conditions encountered during the earlier part of the year caused delays in the mine-plan schedule, and access to the planned higher-grade blocks of the orebody was limited,” Mountain Province, which owns 49% of the asset, said last week. De Beers holds the remaining 51%.
Additionally, output suffered as a result of ongoing plant modifications to increase the amount of ore processed daily, the company explained.
“Higher plant throughput capability as a result of the ongoing plant modifications, and subsequent need for more ore sources, required the processing of all available ore sources, which mostly consisted of lower-grade-ore tonnes, all of which are reflected in the lower grades and carats recovered.”
Revenue for the July-to-September period fell 27% to $41.6 million from the sale of 791,252 carats, while the average price dropped 28% to $53 per carat.
Mountain Province expects total full-year production at Gahcho Kué to meet its original forecast of 6.6 million to 6.9 million carats, as it moves to the higher-grade portion of the mine in the fourth quarter, it added.
Image: Gahcho Kué mine. (Mountain Province)