Vancouver, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 January 2009 – TSX and JSE-listed diamond junior Rockwell Diamonds Incorporated has elected to extend its Christmas shutdown period to the end of January 2009 as a consequence of continued weakness in the diamond market.
A news release issued here explained that this decision had followed a detailed review by management and the directors of the company of the prevailing static conditions in the diamond market, cash flow projections, operational parameters and costs, and technical factors such as grade characteristics of each mining operation. It added that, further to this review, the company was also planning to restructure its Middle Orange River operations to reduce costs and increase production and efficiencies.
The release revealed that a new low-cost, high-volume plant had been successfully commissioned at Saxendrift in the latter part of 2008. Current plans were to rationalise production at the Wouterspan and Saxendrift operations, focusing on ramping up production at the new Saxendrift plant in February, and suspending operations at the lower grade Wouterspan operation until such time as a new high-volume, low-cost, twin modular 18-foot pan plant had been constructed and commissioned.
“The proposed suspension of operations at Wouterspan is, unfortunately, likely to result in the reduction of staff at this operation and to this end negotiations have been initiated with the company’s employees and the National Union of Mine Workers,” said the release. “The longer term plan is to upgrade the Wouterspan plant as described above and to then re-initiate mining and processing,” it added.
President and CEO John Bristow commented: “Over the past 12 months the company has successfully demonstrated flexibility and ability to rapidly adapt to challenges which have included power outages, spiraling fuel and steel costs, industrial action, and an unsolicited offer for the company. In spite of these challenges, we have achieved profitability, thereby setting ourselves apart from a number of our peers.”