Namakwa Diamonds is scheduled to launch production at its Kao mine in Lesotho on March 1, 2012. The company said that the first phase of commercial mining will commence with the potential to unravel some large diamonds and fancy stones.
Namakwa has recovered 11 diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats with a combined weight of 245 carats from Kao so far. This includes a yellow-brown 82-carat dodecahedron with few inclusions as well as a number of small purple and yellow fancy diamonds recovered to date from the mine during its development phase.
In the period from January 1 to February 25, the company recovered 25,546 carats from the mine at an average size of 0.24 carats per stone.
Namakwa has sold 11,245 carats of rough from Kao on tender in Johannesburg at an average price of $237.60 per carat so far this year. A further 7,200 carats are currently on tender and another 8,400 carats will be tendered in early March.
Phase one of production indicates that the average diamond grades remain in line with those achieved during the metallurgical test work carried out in 2010 and 2011, Namakwa explained. In addition, average stone sizes and the prices achieved for them are in line with those forecasted for the 500 ton per hour processing plant, which was commissioned in December.
Since December 2009, the company has spent $69.5 million on the development of Kao. Further capital requirements will be funded from the remainder of Namakwa’s $40 million finance facility with Jarvirne, as well as the operational cash flow of the mine.