DiamondCorp gets first cash from stones unearthed at its Lace mine

African exploration and development firm DiamondCorp PLC (LON:DCP) has sold the first batch of diamonds recovered from tailings dumps at its Lace mine, which is under development near Kroonstad in the Free State province of South Africa.

The company said the sale included the first diamonds sold to Tiffany & Co. subsidiary Laurelton Diamonds, Inc. under the company's offtake agreement. It added it made about $279,000 from 6,442 carats.

The diamond firm said the recovered grade improved to $63 a carat following modifications to the cut size of the plant. It said it considered this price to be a “fair benchmark for the economics of the tailings retreatment operation in 2014”.

DiamondCorp expects to increase throughput to around 150,000 tonnes of ore a month yielding around 7,500 carats, while costs are expected to fall substantially.

Management forecast that tailing retreatment operating costs could be reduced from $3 per tonne to $2.1 per tonne once three shifts are operating. As a result, the company is proceeding with a ramp up to a three-shift operation as soon as January next year.

The Lace diamond mine operated from 1896 to 1931, producing approximately 700,000 carats of diamonds from 4.5 million tonnes of kimberlite at a recovered grade of 16 carats per hundred tonnes.

Once fully revamped, Lace will have a life of 26 years and is expected to produce 380,000 carats in the earlier years, but will average 260,000 over the entire period.

Image courtesy of DiamondCorp.