London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 July 2009 – International diamond mining group Petra Diamonds Limited has achieved its stated objective of increasing annual production to more than 1 million carats.
Announcing this in its sales and production trading update for the year ended 30 June 2009, the company revealed that production for the period under review had reached 1 108 815 carats “’ a fivefold increase on the 200 287 carats recorded in the previous financial year. Group revenue for the period had been US$69.1 million (R553 million).
This unaudited update precedes the formal publication of Petra’s results for the 2009 financial year during September of this year.
The update stated that the net increase in production and sales was due largely to the Cullinan mine coming on stream in July 2008, as well as Williamson in November 2008. This was offset by the falls in rough diamond prices across all operations in line with market conditions; reduced production at Koffiefontein, (now rectified); and the decision to reduce production at Star and Helam, rather than putting the mines onto care and maintenance.
It added that all operating costs had been efficiently managed in line with Petra’s proven track record as a low cost underground diamond producer.
Petra expects further production growth for the next financial year, as the acquisition of a 75% interest in the Williamson mine in Tanzania only took effect from November 2008 and acquisition of a further important asset, the Kimberley Underground mines in South Africa, is due to be completed in January 2010.
Petra CEO Johan Dippenaar commented: “This has been a year in which Petra has established itself as a significant diamond producer. We have grown our production substantially, continued to find world class stones, effectively managed our cost base, and expanded our geographic footprint. Trading conditions remain challenging and our cash flow remains tight, with the recent strengthening of the rand absorbing much of the benefit of the increase in rough prices. Our management will remain vigilant to guide the company through these difficult times.”