Lucara Diamond Corp says it is optimistic that its subsidiary the Karowe diamond mine revenues might exceed the top end of its June 30th revenue guidance of $240 -$250 million.
This follows an outstanding performance in terms of ore and waste and the carats discovered for the nine month period to 30 September 2014.
“This forecast is based on current earnings of $241.4 million but also in consideration of its first entirely Gaborone based tender in November and a softening diamond market,” the company stated.
Lucara expects to sell between 400,000 to 420,000 carats in 2014 from the Karowe mine. The mine recently celebrated milestone achievement of 1million carats.
The Company held its third and final large stone tender for the year in October achieving proceeds of $46.4 million from the sale of 14 diamonds with a combined weight of 1,539 carats. The Company plans on holding a further two diamond tenders during the fourth quarter of the year.
The Non-IRFS measures are expected to remain between $31 $33 per ton ore treated Karowe is still forecast to process between 2.2-2.4 million tones. Forecast for ore mined remains at between 3.0-3.5 million tons and waste mined between 10.0-11.0 million tons.
The Company maintains its forecast total cost for the plant optimization project at $55 million and has revised its stay in business capital expenditures to $5.0million for the year. Additional capital is being spent on the Karowe slimes dam following a revised design plan during the year to increase overall capacity and decrease long-term costs.
The Company has also forecast an exploration capital expenditure of $3.5million, of which $1.4million is forecast to be spent in 2014 for the purchase of a bulk sample plant for work on its two Botswana prospecting licenses.
For now, Lucara Diamond says it is looking beyond Karowe mine as there is a possibility of a prolonged lifespan as the operations goes underground. Chief Operating Officer of the company, Paul Day said that Karowe has every chance of running far in excess of its original design life.
“There is a good chance that one day Karowe will develop an underground operation to take the life of this mine beyond that originally planned into 20135 or beyond,” Day said.
“We are already looking for Karowe2. Recently, the Ministry of Mines and Energy were awarded 2 X exploration packages and we will start an accelerated exploration program in these two areas in the very near future,” he added.
Day said the plant upgrade is the gateway to the future for Karowe. The Company has spent approximately $21.2 million of the forecasted $55 million. Industrial action by the National Union of Metalworkers of South African ended during the third quarter resulting in a 6-week project delay. The plant optimization project is forecast to be complete during the second quarter of 2015.
The Karowe mine which continues to be celebrated because of its outstanding performance performed well during the third quarter with tons of ore mined exceeding the mine plant during the period. Waste mined for the push back to open up access to the south lobe continues as planned. Ore mined for the period was ahead of forecast with higher than expected grades processed compared to the previous quarter.
Mill throughput and carats recovered were in line with forecast. A total of 126 special stones (+10.8carats) were recovered during the quarter at an average size of 30.71 carats.
Lucara Diamond Corp. says quarterly proceeds of $50.9 million at an average sales price of $625 per carat and operating expenses of $110 per carat. The company added that its strong cash flow generation has resulted in the company fully repaying its $50 million debenture during the fourth quarter.
William Lamb, President and Chief Executive Officer said Lucara has continued to see strong demand for its diamonds with revenues boosted by our Exceptional and Large Diamonds, which have now contributed $136 million this year following our large stone tender in October.
“These revenues, as well as our focus on cost control, have resulted in strong operating cash flows. We are re-investing in the business to secure future revenues through our plant optimization and large diamond recovery project and the commencement of exploration programs on two precious stone prospecting licenses in the Orapa region in Botswana,” said Lamb.
The Company has also declared a total dividend of CA$0.08 per share for 2014.
Lucrative and highly anticipated national lottery tender that saw several Batswana businessmen partnering to form a gambling consortium to pit against their South African counterparts, culminates into a big power gamble.
WeekendPost has had a chance to watch lottery showcase even before the anticipated and impending national lottery set-up launches. A lot has been a big gamble from the bidding process which is now set for the courts next year January following a marathon legal brawl involving the interest of the gambling fraternity in Botswana and South Africa.
Households representing more than half of Botswana’s population-mostly residing in rural areas- do not know where their next meal will come from, but neither do they take into consideration the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume.
This is according to the latest Prevalence of Food Insecurity in Botswana report which was done for the 2018/19 period and represents the state of food insecurity data even to this time. The Prevalence of Food Insecurity was released by Statistics Botswana and it released results with findings that the results show that at national level 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity in 2018/19, while 22.2 percent of the population was affected by severe food insecurity only.
According to the report, this translates to 27 percent of the population being food secure that is to say having adequate access to food in both quality and quantity. According to Statistician General, Burton Mguni, when explaining how the food data was compiled, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is custodian of the “Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU)” and “Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)” SDG indicators, for leading FIES data analysis and the resultant capacity building.
“The FIES measures the extent of food insecurity at the household or individual level. The indicator provides internationally comparable estimates of the proportion of the population facing moderate to severe difficulties in accessing food. The FIES consists of eight brief questions regarding access to adequate food, and the questions are answered directly with a yes/no response. It (FIES) complements the existing food and nutrition security indicators such as Prevalence of Undernourishment.
According to the FIES, with increasing severity, the quantity of food consumed decreases as portion sizes are reduced and meals are skipped. At its most severe level, people are forced to go without eating for a day or more. The scale further reveals that the household’s experience of food insecurity may be characterized by uncertainty and anxiety regarding food access and compromising the quality of the diet and having a less balanced and more monotonous diet,” says Mguni.
The 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana which was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity are characterized as people experiencing moderate food insecurity and face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food. These people have been forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume according to the report on food insecurity.
Those who experience severe food insecurity, the 22.2 percent of the population, are people who have typically run out of food and, at worst, gone a day (or days) without eating. According to the statistics, rural area population experienced moderate to severe food insecurity at 65 percent while urban villages were at 46.60 percent and cities/town were at 31.70 percent. Those experiencing the most extreme and severe insecurity were at rural areas making 33.10 percent while urban villages and towns were at 11.90 percent and 17.50 respectively.
According to a paper compiled by Sirak Bahta, Francis Wanyoike, Hikuepi Katjiuongua and Davis Marumo and published in December 2017, titled ‘Characterization of food security and consumption patterns among smallholder livestock farmers in Botswana,’ over 70 percent of Botswana’s population reside in rural areas, and majority (70%) relies on traditional/subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.
The study set out to characterize the food security situation and food consumption patterns among livestock keepers in Botswana. “Despite the policy change, challenges still remain in ensuring that all persons and households have access to food at all times. For example, during an analysis of the impacts of rising international food prices for Botswana, BIDPA reported that food prices tended to be highest in the rural areas already disadvantaged by relatively low levels of income and high rates of unemployment,” said the study.
According to the paper, about 9 percent of households were found to be food insecure and this category of households included 6 percent of households that ranked poorly and 3 percent that were on the borderline according to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) definition of food security.
Media reports state that the World Bank has warned that disruption to production and supply chains could ‘spark a food security crisis’ in Africa, forecasting a fall in farm production of up to 7 percent, if there are restrictions to trade, and a 25 percent decline in food imports.
Food security in Botswana or food production was also attacked by the locust pandemic which swept out this country’s vegetation and plants. The locust is said to have contributed to 25 percent loss in production.
Global lockdown have been a thorn in diamonds having shiny sales, but a lot of optimism shows with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the precious stones will be bought with high volumes towards festive season. The diamond market is however warned of the resurgence of Covid-19 in key markets presents ongoing risks amid the presence and optimist about the new Covid-29 vaccines.
The latest findings published as De Beers Group’s latest Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on relationships and engagements, has revealed that in the US that more couples than ever are buying diamond engagement rings. Bridal sales is mostly the primary source of diamond jewellery demand in recent months, De Beers said.
According to De Beers, interviews with independent jewellers around the US revealed that the rate of couples getting engaged has increased compared with the period when Covid-19 first had an impact in the US in the spring.
“In addition, despite challenging economic times, consumers were spending more than ever on diamond engagement rings – often upgrading in colour, cut and clarity, rather than size. Several jewellers speculated that with consumers spending less on elaborate weddings and/or honeymoons in the current environment, they had more to spend on choosing the perfect ring,” said De Beers.
According to De Beers, a national survey of 360 US women in serious relationships, undertaken in late October in collaboration with engagement and wedding website, The Knot. This survey is said to have found that the majority of respondents (54%) were thinking more about their engagement ring than the wedding itself (32%) or the honeymoon (15%), supporting jewellers’ hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of Covid-19 restrictions.
When it came to researching engagement rings, online was by far the predominant channel for gaining ideas/inspiration at 86% of consumers surveyed, with 85% saying they had saved examples of styles they liked, according to De Beers. According to the survey, only a uarter of respondents said they had looked in-store at a physical location for design inspiration.
“For many couples, the pandemic has brought them even closer together, in some instances speeding up the path to engagement after forming a deeper connection while experiencing lockdown and its associated ups and downs as a partnership. Engagement rings are taking on even greater symbolism in this environment, with retailers reporting couples are prepared to invest more than usual, particularly due to budget reductions in other areas,” De Beers CEO Cleaver said.
According to De Beers Group, its Diamond Insight Flash Report series is focused on understanding the US consumer perspective in light of Covid-19 and monitoring how it evolves as the crisis evolves. Also, the company said, it is augmenting its existing research programme with additional consumer, retailer and supply chain touch-basis to understand the pain points and the opportunities for stakeholders across the diamond pipeline.
Demand for diamonds is as hard and resilient as the precious stone itself. De Beers pocketed US$ 450 million in its recently held ninth rough diamond sales cycle, and the company says it is more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the ninth sales cycle of 2020, with the Sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.
“Steady demand for De Beers Group’s rough diamonds continued in the ninth sales cycle of the year, reflecting stable consumer demand for diamond jewellery at the retail level in the US and China, and expectations for reasonable demand to continue throughout the holiday season. However, the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in several consumer markets presents ongoing risks,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver recently.
High expectations are on diamonds being a sentimental gift for holiday season or as the most fetished gift. However the ninth cycle was lower than the eighth which registered US$ 467 million. For the last year period which corresponds with the current one, De Beers managed to raise US$ 400.