Safety: Karowe's Lost Time Injuries Frequency Rate ("LTIFR") for the quarter was zero as there were no Lost Time Injury ("LTI's") and no reportable environmental incidents during the period. LTIFR is defined as the total number of work hours lost per 200,000 work hours.
Cash flows and cash operating margins: The Company achieved proceeds of $33.5 million ($312 per carat) from sales of 107,470 carats of diamond during the first quarter of 2014. Proceeds of $750,000 were received after the quarter and will be accounted for in Q2 revenues. The average price of $312 per carat compares to $225 per carat for the first quarter in the prior year. Revenues during the period, which exclude the proceeds received after period end, were $32.8 million for the period.
At an average operating expense of $118 per carat, the cash operating margin during the quarter was $187 per carat.
Net cash position: The Company's quarter-end cash balance was $56.8 million compared to a net debt position of $26.2 million in the previous year and $49.4 million at the end of 2013. In addition to production costs of $118 per carat the Company spent $1.9 million on Karowe's plant optimization project and paid the December 2013 tender royalty and 2013 employee bonus payments during the quarter.
Karowe operating performance: Karowe performed better than budget in terms ore mined and carats recovered during the period. Waste mining was marginally below budget during the period and plans are in place to meet full year budget volumes. The Company recovered 111,037 carats including 188 special stones (+10.8 carats) during the period.
William Lamb, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, "Lucara has had a strong start to the year with continued production performance from the mine team and two successful tenders during the first quarter generating revenue in excess of $30 million. We have brought forward our second Exceptional Stone Tender to early in the third quarter due to the sustainable recovery of large stones with more than 330 special stones (+10.8 carats) recovered to date. This follows very strong results from our first Exceptional Stone Tender in 2014, which was held in early April for proceeds of $50 million."