VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 31, 2013) - Lucara Diamond Corp. ("Lucara" or the "Company") (TSX:LUC)(BOTSWANA:LUC)(NASDAQ OMX First North:LUC) is pleased to provide a summary of 2012 production and project progress.
- The mine treated 1.4 million tonnes, 9% above forecast in 2012. Ramp-up to full production capacity, which commenced in April, was achieved by August
- The mine produced 303,060 carats of diamond, 12% above the forecast of 271,000 carats.
- There were 5 sales of Karowe goods in 2012 generating a total of $54 million in revenue.
- Diamond production included an exceptional 9.46 carat blue diamond which sold for $4.5m ($447,272 per carat). Other smaller blue diamonds have subsequently been recovered, including a 4.77 carat diamond which will be sold in 2013.
- The excellent safety record was continued through the year. At Karowe there were no Lost Time Injuries ("LTI's") or reportable environmental incidents. There have been over 2.8 million hours worked without any LTI's since March 2011, including 1.6 million hours since the beginning of 2012.
- In the fourth quarter of 2012 the x-ray recovery tailings audit of diamond recovery tailings was completed. The project is now fully transitioned to a small care and maintenance team.
- Project development options will continue to be evaluated through 2013. Initial indications from the Preliminary Economic Assessment work indicate that the project currently does not achieve required internal hurdle rates. This is due to the prevailing economic conditions which have put downward pressure on diamond prices, and is further impacted by significantly higher capital for infrastructure, particularly power, for this remote site.
William Lamb, President and CEO, commented, "This has been an achievement filled and rewarding year for Lucara, which has successfully transitioned from a mine developer to a mine operator. The technical and managerial strength of the team at Karowe has been demonstrated by the rapid ramp up to full production; the diligent work in overcoming commissioning challenges; the achievement of production and sales forecasts; and most importantly doing all this without harm to our staff or the environment. We look forward to taking the company further in 2013."
Lucara is a well positioned emerging new diamond producer. The Company has an experienced board and management team with extensive diamond development and operations expertise. The Company's two key assets are the Karowe Mine in Botswana and the Mothae Project in Lesotho. The 100% owned Karowe Mine is in the production. The 75% owned Mothae Project has completed its trial mining program.
Mr. Anthony George, P. Eng., a mining engineer and Lucara's V.P. Development, is the Company's Qualified Person pursuant to NI 43-101 and has reviewed the technical contents of this news release.
On Behalf of the Board,
William Lamb, President and CEO
Lucara's Certified Advisor on NASDAQ OMX First North is Pareto Öhman AB.
This Press Release contains "forward-looking information" that is based on Lucara's expectations, estimates and projections as of the dates as of which those statements were made. This forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements with respect to the use of the proceeds of the credit facility. Generally, this forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "outlook", "anticipate", "project", "target", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "should", "scheduled", "will", "plan", "would" and similar expressions. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Lucara's actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information and is developed based on assumptions about such risks, uncertainties and other factors. A discussion of factors that may affect Lucara's actual results, performance, achievements or financial position is contained in the filings by Lucara with the Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities, including Lucara's 2011 annual information form filed on SEDAR on March 22, 2012.
Forward-looking statements are based on assumptions management believes to be reasonable, including but not limited to the continued general market conditions, development of the AK6 project, no material adverse change in the market price of commodities and that the costs of development and operation of the AK6 project will be line with management's expectations. Although Lucara attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Lucara disclaims any intent or obligations to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, estimates or options, future events or results or otherwise, unless required to do so by law.