Rockwell Diamonds mothballs Tirisano mine

On Wednesday, Canadian Rockwell Diamonds (TSX:RDI, JSE:RDI) has decided to place its operations, at its Tirisano mine in South Africa, “on care and maintenance”, following persistent industrial relations issues and ongoing losses incurred by the mine.

The Tirisano, located in the Northwest Province, approximately 150 km west of the capital Johannesburg, has been hit by two sets of strikes in four months.

The mine has also been subjected to industrial relations issues relating to pay increases, even with the mine operating at a loss and the dividing topics being dealt with in full compliance to the Labour Relations Act of South Africa, the company said in a statement.

Tirisano had accounted for the bulk of Rockwell’s August-quarter loss of $2.4 million, with commissioning costs of $500,000 and $1.3 million in lost production. The burden of the losses, said the miner, has been carried entirely by Rockwell whose black economic empowerment (BEE) partner at the mine, Mogopa Minerals, has been unable to contribute any funding since the mine's inception.

The suspension of the 700 carat per month (cpm) mine, follows the implementation of a turnaround strategy intended to reduce the operating cost structure of the mine and resulted in 111 miners laid-off.