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Gem Diamonds' Letšeng Sales Leap

May 17, 2016 9:56 AM   By Rapaport News
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Gem Diamonds reported revenue from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho rose in the first three tenders of the year.

Sales jumped 13 percent to $87.8 million compared with the first three tenders last year. Volume sold surged 26 percent to 45,311 carats, outweighing a 10 percent drop in the average price to $1,938 per carat versus $2,157 a year ago.

Clifford Elphick, Gem Diamonds’ chief executive officer, said prices of rough gems from Letšeng – which is known for its large and high-quality diamonds – have “remained steady.” The company nevertheless highlighted the market’s cautious approach to buying both rough and polished, driven by a retail slowdown in China, a strong U.S. dollar and reports of continued high levels of polished inventory.

Production from Letšeng soared 28 percent to 28,698 carats in the first quarter.

Output from the company’s Ghaghoo mine in Botswana fell 5 percent to 11,029 carats after the miner said in February it considered it “prudent” to scale back the operation as average selling prices fell. Elphick said the downsizing of the operation is “advanced.”

Gem Diamonds nonetheless sold a parcel of 14,114 carats from Ghaghoo for $2.3 million in the quarter, or $160 per carat, 7 percent above the previous price achieved in December 2015.
Tags: Gem Diamonds, Ghaghoo, Ghaghoo Mine, Lesotho, Letšeng, Letšeng mine, mining, Rapaport News, Rough Production, rough sales, rough tenders
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