Johannesburg, South Africa — 18 April 2012 – Rockwell Diamonds “’ a JSE and TSX-listed mid-tier diamond mining and development company “’ continues to make solid progress on its strategic and turnaround projects, posting year-on-year improvements of 40% in volume and 77% in carat production.
Revealing this in an update for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, CEO James Campbell said that, having made solid progress in fine-tuning the company’s operations, Rockwell could now also start to focus on its medium to longer term growth strategy.
The company’s fourth-quarter update for the period to end February 2012 revealed that its output had increased by 77% when compared to the same period of 2011, totalling 4,022 carats.
Although some 535 carats had been accounted for by the newly commissioned Tirisano mine, both Saxendrift (up 50%) and Klipdam (up 57%) showed significant improvement. In the case of Klipdam, the increase in carats came notwithstanding a 14% decrease in volumes output.
The group’s TSX-listed shares were up 6.25% at C$0.51 following the announcement.
“Of particular significance was the acquisition of the Jasper Mine which was adjacent to Saxendrift and had the potential to extend the life of this mine,” the update added. “Work on re-optimising the feasibility study for the Wouterspan Mine using later and more applicable technology would start once the results from the Saxendrift bulk x-ray project were forthcoming. More importantly, growth in carat production has exceeded increases in volumes output as Rockwell made hay of improved efficiencies at its operations,” Campbell enthused.
He said the group expected improved recoveries going forward.
The bulk x-ray machine promised for Saxendrift was delivered after the end of the fourth quarter; technology which Campbell said would significantly improve recoveries on the back of improved security.
“We’re testing it first on the recovery of tailing, and I can tell you the initial results are really encouraging,” Campbell said, adding that the findings would be quantified in a follow-up announcement within the next month.
The new Tirisano mine had a disappointing quarter though – carat production was down two-thirds quarter-on-quarter at 535 carats – which Rockwell said was due to low grades.
“Disappointing grades for the fourth quarter have been addressed by a number of technical interventions,” Rockwell said. “The mine plan has been adjusted to increase throughput and grades, with early benefits emerging in the first weeks of the new fiscal year.”
Klipdam outperformed, producing 1,990 carats, following an increase in grade.
“Our priority for the quarter was the continued implementation of fit-for-purpose processing technology, as well as active management of the mine plans at our three operational mines, to achieve our production improvements,” Campbell declared.
“The next set of Rockwell’s objectives was the full commissioning and testing of the bulk x-ray
plant at Saxendrift and the continued ramp-up of Tirisano.
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