BlueRock has announced that in 2020 the number of carats produced increased by 10% to 15,371 carats from 14,033 carats in 2019, despite the Kareevlei Diamond (KVD) mine being closed due to Covid-19 for a period of 50 days.
The company’s processed tonnes increased by 25% to 402,000 tonnes from 323,000 tonnes the previous year, as well as the amount of carats sold which rose by 29% to 16,290 carats from 12,675 carats during the same period the previous year.
However, the group’s value per carat dropped 26% to $295 (£216) for 2020, which the company claimed was largely due to the impact of Covid-19 on the marketing chain and the reduced incidence of higher value diamonds in 2020 compared with 2019.
Mike Houston, executive chairman for BlueRock, said that given the problems of operating in the Covid-19 world, he was encouraged by the outturn for Q4 2020 and the full year as the management team has delivered in the areas that it can control with production tonnes and sales carats “significantly up” on the 2019 figures.
He said: “The fall in the value per carat is unfortunate as it has reduced the impact of the improved production output, but we are now seeing signs of recovery in general pricing and early signs of an increasing incidence of the high value stones.
“A major focus for much of 2020 has been the preparation and development of our exciting expansion project, which was initially delayed by the COVID-19 lockdown and then the ongoing impact it had on the global supply chain. “The plan to transition to the new operation by running both plants during Q1 will minimise the disruption on production in early 2021.”
He added: “Despite having to deal with the ongoing exceptionally poor weather conditions and, weather permitting, the project is still expected to be fully commissioned by the end of Q1 but may push into early Q2. Our guidance for 2021 remains at 850,000 to 1,000,000 tonnes and 34,000 to 46,000 carats.
“On 22 December, we announced a provisional upgrade to Kareevlei’s Resource with tonnage and carats up 43% and 52% respectively. A Resource Statement remains on track to be released by the end of January 2021. “I look forward to updating the market on our progress.”