VANCOUVER, Sept. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Rockwell Diamonds Inc. ("Rockwell" or
the "Company") (TSX: RDI) (JSE: RDI) (OTCBB: RDIAF) posts improved
year-on-year diamond production for the second quarter (+14%) on the
back of better volumes of gravel processed (+23%). These increases were
achieved despite a temporary suspension of activities at Tirisano while
management works on delivering against the new plan detailed in the
release of July 12, 2012.
Second quarter operational update:
Volume and carat production for the Company's operational mines for the
quarter ended August 31, 2012 was as follows:
Volumes of gravel processed (m3)
Saxendrift + Jasper
Saxendrift Bulk X-ray
* Comprising 256,977 m3 from Saxendrift and 219,848 m3 from Jasper that were processed at Saxendrift
** Comprising 705 carats from Saxendrift and 1,171 carats from Jasper
using Saxendrift's processing infrastructure
Saxendrift and the newly acquired Jasper Project achieved a 26% combined
year-on-year increase in volumes processed to 476,825 m3 for the second quarter which, along with production from the Bulk X-ray
project, delivered a 6% increase in diamond production (1,996 carats);
operationally, the mine achieved its budgeted throughputs for the
Saxendrift has over the past two quarters moved to processing lower
grade sandy gravels which make up most of the remaining resources. This
requires better mining efficiencies and in-pit screening to maintain a
profitable production profile for this part of the greater Saxendrift,
Saxendrift Hill and Jasper deposits.
A preliminary bulk-sample was mined during August 2012 on the "next
door" Jasper part of the deposit with the intention of developing a
better understanding of Jasper's diamond grade and value
characteristics and its potential to extend the life of the Saxendrift
Complex using the existing mining and processing infrastructure.
The focus at the Bulk X-ray plant was the reprocessing of recovery
tailings as well as the implementation of Continuous Operations
("Contops") and optimizing the materials preparation area to convert
the pilot sampling plant to meet the needs of a continuously operated
production plant. A grade of 2.5 carats / 100 m3 was achieved from processing 4,808 m3 of tailings material.
Initiatives to increase and extend the mine life of Rockwell's package
of Middle Orange River properties and the associated operational
footprint are ramping up and include the introduction of the Jasper
Project, Wouterspan Project and Saxendrift Hill Project into the operation:
Further work on Jasper will include a detailed drilling campaign and
additional bulk sampling to define mineral resources.
Work has commenced on constructing a processing facility utilizing the
Bulk X-ray technology that was successfully piloted at Saxendrift, with
a monthly processing capability of 100,000 m3 on the nearby Saxendrift Hill. Production is planned to start in the
first quarter of calendar 2013.
The pre-feasibility study for Wouterspan is underway; work is on
schedule and completion is expected by year end.
With the Tirisano right sizing strategy approved early in July 2012,
mining operations were put on hold and work concentrated in
reconfiguring the processing circuit. The rationalization project is on
track and mining operations are scheduled to resume at a monthly mining
rate of 50,000 m3 by the end of September 2012.
The new wet front end that was commissioned early in the second quarter
has been integrated into the new processing plant. Positive results
have been received from the testing phase conducted during the quarter
indicating that the plant will have an improved ability to process the
clay-rich Tirisano gravels.
Volumes processed at Tirisano during the first six weeks amounted to
57,803 m3, with the recovery of 558 carats, a year-on-year decline of 11% and 8%,
respectively, from the second quarter of fiscal 2012.
Klipdam achieved a 27% year-on-year increase in volumes processed to
209,081 m3 for the second quarter; however, it fell short of the quarterly
throughput target due to continued plant and mining limitations. These
are being addressed with the installation of a second barrel screen in
the processing plant and a continued focus on improving availabilities
of the mining fleet.
Notwithstanding the above, the mine's diamond production increased by
31% year-on-year to 2,274 carats as a result of an improved overall
size distribution and quality from mining more of the paleaochannel
gravels and primary Rooikoppie material.
Commenting on Rockwell's operational performance for the second quarter,
James Campbell, CEO stated that: "As a direct result of the initiatives
comprising our diamond value management focus, Rockwell's overall
performance continues to show encouraging improvements. Saxendrift has
met its production targets for the first two quarters of fiscal 2013.
We continue to learn valuable lessons that we can selectively implement
at our other properties in the Middle Orange River region to extend
their economic lives and increase production. Through the concerted
efforts of Rockwell's executive and mine management teams, we quickly
right-sized the Tirisano mine to adjust to the current diamond market,
positioning it to provide positive returns. At Klipdam, we were able to
mine a better resource-area and the mine delivered a good operational
performance. We still have some way to go in order to achieve our
production targets which is a high priority for Klipdam in coming
About Rockwell Diamonds:
Rockwell is engaged in the business of operating and developing alluvial
diamond deposits, with a goal to become a mid-tier diamond production
company. The Company has three existing operations, which it is
progressively optimizing, two development projects and a pipeline of
earlier stage properties with future development potential.
Rockwell also evaluates merger and acquisition opportunities which have
the potential to expand its mineral resources and production profile
and would provide accretive value to the Company.
No regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information
contained in this news release.
Forward Looking Statements
Except for statements of historical fact, this news release contains
certain "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable
securities law. Forward-looking information is frequently characterized
by words such as "plan", "expect", "project", "intend", "believe",
"anticipate", "estimate" and other similar words, or statements that
certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Although the
Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking
statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not
guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may
differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those
in forward-looking statements include uncertainties and costs related
to exploration and development activities, such as those related to
determining whether mineral resources exist on a property;
uncertainties related to expected production rates, timing of
production and cash and total costs of production and milling;
uncertainties related to the ability to obtain necessary licenses,
permits, electricity, surface rights and title for development
projects; operating and technical difficulties in connection with
mining development activities; uncertainties related to the accuracy of
our mineral resource estimates and our estimates of future production
and future cash and total costs of production and diminishing
quantities or grades if mineral resources; uncertainties related to
unexpected judicial or regulatory procedures or changes in, and the
effects of, the laws, regulations and government policies affecting our
mining operations; changes in general economic conditions, the
financial markets and the demand and market price for mineral
commodities such and diesel fuel, steel, concrete, electricity, and
other forms of energy, mining equipment, and fluctuations in exchange
rates, particularly with respect to the value of the US dollar,
Canadian dollar and South African Rand; changes in accounting policies
and methods that we use to report our financial condition, including
uncertainties associated with critical accounting assumptions and
estimates; environmental issues and liabilities associated with mining
and processing; geopolitical uncertainty and political and economic
instability in countries in which we operate; and labour strikes, work
stoppages, or other interruptions to, or difficulties in, the
employment of labour in markets in which we operate our mines, or
environmental hazards, industrial accidents or other events or
occurrences, including third party interference that interrupt
operation of our mines or development projects.
For further information on Rockwell, Investors should review Rockwell's
home jurisdiction filings that are available at www.sedar.com.
SOURCE: Rockwell Diamonds Inc.
For further information:
For further information on Rockwell and its operations in South Africa, please contact
+27 (0)83 457 3724
+27 (0)83 307 7587