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BlueRock Diamonds boosts overall production at Kareevlei, with new plant set to deliver further gain

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BlueRock Diamonds PLC (LON:BRD) said it boosted production at its Kareevlei mine in South Africa during the 2020 full year to 15,371 carats, up from the 14,033 produced in 2019.

Processed tonnes increased by 25% compared with the previous year, despite the mine being closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) for a period of 50 days starting on March 24, 2020. Assuming a constant run rate during the period of closure, the increase over the year would have been approximately 45%. 

Abnormally high and early rains in late 2020 hampered production towards the end of the year.  Once new plant is fully commissioned, the company’s production profile is expected to be significantly less impacted by the rainy season. 

The value per carat of US$295 per carat was around the bottom end of the company’s guidance for 2020 and 26% down on 2019, due largely to the impact of the coronavirus on the marketing chain and the reduced incidence of higher value diamonds in 2020 compared with 2019.

“Given the problems of operating in the COVID-19 world, I am very encouraged by our outturn for the fourth quarter of 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,” said BlueRock executive chairman Mike Houston in a statement. 

“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.”

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