Firestone hails strong start of second quarter despite slight recoveries fall

Shares in Africa-focused Firestone Diamonds (LON:FDI) climbed Monday after the company said that its 75%-owned Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho had a strong start to the second quarter after selling its third most valuable stone to date.

The 68-carats white diamond fetched just under $1 million, it said, adding it also sold and a 20-carats fancy yellow diamond at an undisclosed price. Firestone noted it had also recovered a 326-carats near-gem diamond this month, which is the largest recovered to date at the mine and which suggests Liqhobong has “large stone potential”.

It sold a 68-carats white diamond for just under $1 million, its third most valuable stone to date.

Diamond recoveries from the mine, however, fell slightly in the July-September period, the first 2019 quarter, due to a cold winter in the highlands and a number of days of snow led to minor production delays.

Firestone recovered 240,733 carats of diamonds at a grade of 23.8 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht), slightly below the 263,512 ct recovered at a grade of 25.7 cpht in the fourth quarter of the 2018 financial year, ended June 30.

The company, which had its second sale of the current financial year on Friday, said it fetched $8.2 million for a total of 102,835 carats, equivalent to $79 per carat compared to $70 per carat in the quarter. That was down from the $71 in the previous quarter before and below expectations due to a deterioration in prices for the smaller, lower-value run-of-mine stones.

Shares rose 2.7 percent to 4.5p in early trading and were still unchanged by @:35 pm London time.