Lucara Diamond Corp. is expecting sales to rise in 2020 amid an increase in production from the higher-grade portion of its Karowe mine in Botswana.
Sales will reach $180 million to $210 million next year, compared with $170 million to $180 million for 2019, it predicted last week. Lucara believes it will recover a higher proportion of rough diamonds — including special-size stones over 10.8 carats — from the high-quality MP/KS and EM/PK(S) area of Karowe’s south lobe.
However, the company has lowered its output and sales-volume figures for 2020, expecting to produce 370,000 carats to 410,000 carats, versus the 400,000 carats to 425,000 carats forecast for 2019. The miner will sell between 350,000 carats and 390,000 carats during the year, as opposed to the 400,000 carats to 425,000 carats it predicted for 2019, it said.
Additionally, following positive results from a feasibility study the company conducted at Karowe in November, Lucara has approved a budget of up to $53 million to expand the site to underground mining. The move is expected to add around 7.8 million carats, and increase the mine’s lifespan until 2040. The final decision is subject to Lucara receiving all required authorizations, with a final decision expected in the second fiscal half of 2020, the miner added.
“Lucara will continue to focus in 2020 on optimizing base business, growing [its digital sales platform] Clara by adding third-party production to the platform, and preparing for an underground expansion at Karowe,” Lucara CEO Eira Thomas noted. “Anticipated cash flow from operations in 2020 should allow us to pursue early works which are critical to the underground development schedule.”
Image: The Karowe mine. (Lucara Diamond Corp.)