Rockwell Diamonds carat production up 74% in Q1

Canadian Rockwell Diamonds (TSX:RDIAF) announced Monday that its carat production for the first quarter of this year improved by 74% to 6116 carats from the same period last year.

The improved carat production from the company’s three operations could be put down to the strong performance from its Tirisano mine, in North West, and its Saxendrift X-ray plant in the Northern Cape.

"Overall volumes processed continued to track closer to the company’s internal targets while budgeted carat recoveries were exceeded as the bulk X-ray proof-of-concept plant introduced earlier in the year contributed 1118 carats in the last six weeks of the quarter," Rockwell said.

The X-ray plant improves the recovery of diamonds by using X-ray technology to identify diamonds in the ore.

The Vancouver-based company said the bulk X-ray plant was commissioned in April. "A total of 1118 carats were extracted from recovery tailings during the first six weeks of operation of this proof-of-concept project, with the largest stone recovered weighing 74 carats."

Read Rockwell's full news release:

Rockwell provides production update for first quarter of fiscal 2012 ending May 31, 2012

June 25, 2012 Vancouver, BC — Rockwell Diamonds Inc. ("Rockwell" or the "Company") (TSX: RDI; JSE: RDI; OTCBB: RDIAF) announces that volumes of gravel processed in the first quarter increased 56% year on year, with a 74% improvement in carat production from the three operational mines over the same period to 6,116 carats. Overall volumes processed continued to track closer to the Company's internal targets while budgeted carat recoveries were exceeded as the bulk x-ray proof of concept plant introduced earlier in the year contributed 1,118 carats in the last six weeks of the quarter.

First quarter operational update:

The volume and carat production for the Company's operational mines for the quarter ended May 31, 2012:

Volumes of gravel processed (m3) Carats Produced
Q1 2012 Q1 2013 % change Q1 2012 Q1 2013 % change
Saxendrift 325,076 453,204 39% 1693 2,126 26%
Saxendrift Bulk X-ray 1,118 100%
Tirisano 123,048 100% 1,222 100%
Klipdam 194,192 232,216 20% 1,832 2,768 51%
Total 519,268 808,468 56% 3,525 6,116 105%

Saxendrift Complex:

 

    • Saxendrift achieved a 39% year-on-year increase in volumes processed to 453,204 m3 for the first quarter, in line with its targets, while carats produced increased 26% to 2,126 carats.

 

    • The bulk x-ray plant was commissioned in April 2012 below budget and on schedule. A total of 1,118 carats were extracted from recovery tailings during the first six weeks of operation of this proof of concept project with the largest stone recovered weighing 74 carats. The next phase of testing is progressing with the processing of additional recovery tailings.

 

    • The in field screen, commissioned in November 2011, increased plant throughput during the first quarter. In addition, it went some way to mitigate the impact of increased sand content of the ore bodies being mined.

 

    • Improving production from Rockwell's properties that are located adjacent to the Saxendrift Mine is now the Company's focus. This includes the additional resources acquired as part of the Jasper Projectpurchase, which became unconditional at the end of May 2012. Plans are also in progress to evaluate the potential of extending mining operations to other parts of the Saxendrift Mine property with the objective of extending the life of this operational footprint.
    • The pre feasibility study for Wouterspan, scheduled for completion by the end of 2012 has commenced and is scheduled for completion by year end.

Tirisano:

 

    • Ramp up in production continues, with plant throughput volumes increasing by 30% to 123,048 m3 in the first quarter, from 94,643 m3 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.
    • Carat production more than doubled in the three months to May 31, 2012, yielding 1,222 carats compared to 557 carats in the previous three-month period. This was as a result of grade increases to 0.99 carats/100 m3, from 0.59 carats/100 m3 in the quarter ended February 29, 2012.
    • Construction of the wet front end facility which has the capability to process gravels with high clay content was completed on schedule at the end of May 2012 and is expected to provide additional flexibility in the mine plan that was previously lacking.
    • Maintenance and rationalization of the earthmoving fleet has been a key focus this past quarter.

Klipdam:

    • A year on year increase of 20% in plant throughput to 232,216 m3 was due to the conversion to continuous operations, installing a new barrel screen and the removal of five conveyor belts in the front end of the production plant.
    • Carat production increased 51% with improved grades as a result of the focus on processing the Rooikoppie gravels. The value per carat was in line with the previous quarter due to current world markets.
    • The appointment of a Mine Manager and Mining Manager has significantly improved the overall operation of the mine.

 

Commenting on Rockwell's progress in relation to its focus on Diamond Value Management, James Campbell, CEO stated that: "In 2011, our executive management and board put in place two simultaneous strategies for enhancing shareholder value, namely to execute on our plans to optimize production at each of our operational mines and to rebuild the mine life profile of the Company's assets. The results to date are showing the first positive impacts of these strategies."

 

Rockwell Diamonds President and CEO James Campbell, image from YouTube.