London listed Gem Diamonds Limited said steady progress is being made at its Botswana operation with focus remaining on reducing costs and increasing production. The company noted on its Q3 2016 Trading Update that operating costs at Ghaghoo are trending downwards following an exercise to downsize the mine.
“At Ghaghoo ramping up production levels and reducing costs has seen positive progress being made,” Gem Diamonds’ CEO, Clifford Elphick said. “There have been encouraging signs of larger diamonds being recovered as mining has progressed into the undiluted portions of the kimberlite ore.”
A total of 54 337 tonnes of ore were treated during the period, which was up 21% from Q2 2016 while the company made encouraging recoveries of larger diamonds as mining moves into the undiluted portions of kimberlite ore. “This demonstrates the fundamental potential of the mine, however given current market conditions for these types of diamonds, the on-going development of the mine in the near term, is under review,” Gem Diamonds said.
However, unlike at Letšeng mine in Lesotho, there were no sales of Ghaghoo goods during the sales period. The actions required to reduce tonnage have been completed and at the same time the costs are on a downward trend. Development of Level 2 is continuing, Gem noted.
The extension of the water bearing fissure has been encountered on Level 2, as expected. The water has been contained by adopting practices implemented on Level 1 and there has been no impact on production during the Period. Sand ingress into the operational areas is monitored and controlled through strict draw control practices.
Ghaghoo ore treated increased by 21% QoQ to 54 337 tonnes in the period. Planned changes to the mill configuration have been finalised and will be implemented in late November, during a planned three day shut down. The expected improvements will have a positive impact upon throughput, liberation and mill retention time.