Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. announced its financial and operating results for the full year ended December 31, 2019.
The company treated 3,580,551 ore tonnes during FY 2019, a 12% increase from comparable period (FY 2018: 3,194,360). It recovered 6,820,631 carats during FY 2019 at an average grade of 1.90 carats per tonne, 2% slightly lower than comparable period (FY 2018: 6,936,894).
During FY 2019, 3,284,520 carats were sold at an average value of $84 per carat (US$63 per carat) for total proceeds of $276.3 million (US$208.2 million) in comparison to 3,252,491 carats sold at an average value of $96 per carat (US$74 per carat) for total proceeds of $311 million (US$240 million) in FY 2018.
Sentiment in the rough diamond market became slightly more optimistic towards the end of 2019 and remained relatively positive in early 2020 during the first selling cycle of the year.
However, the rapid global spread of a novel coronavirus ("COVID-19") has reversed that momentum coincident with the surge in volatility in global capital markets. Though the full extent of the impact of COVID-19 is still unknown at the moment, the company believes, that the COVID-19 will have a material impact on 2020 sales.
Mountain Province President and CEO Stuart Brown commented: "2019 was certainly another challenging year for the diamond market. Despite this, the Gahcho Kué Mine had an exceptional year of production in FY 2019, achieving all its operational metrics, with a notable highlight being the 12% increase in the plant's throughput capacity.
The operational performance and increased plant treatment capacity helped the Gahcho Kué Mine navigate through the challenging diamond market resulting in the company generating positive free cash flow and continuing to voluntarily reduce its debt.
2020 year started off positively with a continuation of good production and a confidence boosting January sale in Antwerp. This positive momentum has now been swept aside by the COVID-19 virus that is having a devastating effect on the world.
Together with De Beers Canada and our stakeholders, we are assessing a range of mitigating actions. Our immediate focus is to maintain a sense of calm while focussing on the health and safety of all our employees, contractors, our immediate communities and their families as we implement procedures to protect all of them. We are also taking all the necessary precautions to protect the mine site."
Image credit: Mountain Province