BlueRock Diamonds PLC (LON:BRD), the South Africa-based diamond miner, expects to commission its new processing plant by the end of 2020 and ramp up production subsequently to one million tonnes a year.
The AIM-listed company had to shut the Kareevlei mine for 50 days from March due to COVID-19 restrictions, which had a material impact on the half-year to June, it said.
Revenues for the period were GBP1.3mln (GBP1.37mln), while losses rose to GBP2.72mln (GBP381,000), though since the end of June BlueRock said it had sold two parcels of diamonds worth US$0.7mln and US$1.26mln respectively.
Kareevlei has also started to produce higher-value stones, BlueRock said, including one sold recently for US$104,000 and one estimated to be worth US$75,000.
A new sales channel has been set up to enable the company to achieve higher prices per carat, while a GBP1.25mln fundraise in July has bolstered the company’s financial position.
BlueRock added it expects to be operating cashflow positive and profitable in the second half of 2020 and has reintroduced forecasts for the second half of 2020 and for 2021.
Total carats produced for the current year are expected to be between 13,800 and 18,000 after first-half production of 5,013, while production for 2021 is estimated to jump to between 34,000 to 46,000 carats.
Value per carat is estimated at US$300-350 in 2020 and US$330 in 2021.