- Recorded $230 million in 2021 revenue, jumps by 84%
- Lucara to date extracted 2.8 million tonnes in Karowe
- Karowe underground mine to be operational in 2026
Blue chip diamond mining company Lucara has posted impressive performance in 2021, attributing growth on its financial and operational performance to Karowe mine in Letlhakane.
Managing Director of Lucara Botswana (MD) Naseem Lahri said while presenting financial results on Friday that the company posted revenue of $230.1 million, representing an increased of 84% over the previous year.
She said the Karowe mine afforded Lucara to mine large stones over the years.
“The Karowe mine has continued to contribute immensely to Lucara. We also sold diamonds in the three digital platforms in 2021; thus enabling us to amass more revenue. With the expansion of the mine’s underground project at an advanced stage, we are more confident of further growth,” she said.
In addition, she said 2021 has been a year of breaking records for Lucara Diamond Corporation at it managed to extract three large stones worth over 1 000 carats from Karowe mine.
Lahri said that as the mine celebrates 10 years, it has extracted 2.8 million tonnes in Karowe since it started its operations in 2012, adding that they anticipate far more tonnes.
“Overall, 2021 has been an incredible year for us and the financiers. We are sure that they are all happy. We paid 10% net to the government from the revenues made. Also, our polishing company HB has been paid and as our contract expires with them at the end of this year, we are hopeful that we will continue working with them. HB has very sophisticated technologies applied for diamond polishing,” said Lahri, emphasizing that HB’s polishing gives them competitive edge.
She said HB is able to extract maximum value of diamond exploring via its technologies. Furthermore, Lucara said its Equity and debt financings totaling $250 million concluded mid-2021 will support a $534 million underground expansion project at the Karowe mine in Botswana.
Operations Manager at Lucara, Leonard Marumo, said the construction works of Karowe mine’s underground project has begun, adding that the mine will be fully operational underground in 2026.
He said the expansion to underground will extend the mine’s life span to 2041 beyond open pit.
According to him, Lucara Botswana has 683 vendors on its database to engage them on works.
“The vendor database comprise 626 Batswana companies, 36 comes from rest of Africa and 21 comes from outside Africa. So far, some of Botswana companies have been awarded tenders on the construction works. The intention is to create beneficiation for the local companies too,” he said.
Marumo said the company is focused on hiring of citizens as well as training them on the areas of mining that are considered to be scarce with high proportion of jobs held by locals.
Lucara said the Karowe underground expansion project was formally approved by the Board of Directors and a total investment of $86.3 million during 2021 focused on the detailed design and engineering, establishing a surface infrastructure and shaft pre-sinking transacted.
Meanwhile, Lahri said the diamond markets at the moment have regained confidence in terms of sales. She said the focus however has been on small stones with the large stones yet to be on high demand.
“We are a large stone selling company but our small stones have been doing well. The diamond market at the moment is flourishing. But, we have to be very careful over how we sell our large diamonds so that we can have maximum value derived from quality stones,” she said.
Lahri said the company’s total sales volume of $28.7 million was transacted on the Clara platform, a 168% increase from the $10.7 million made in 2020.