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Firestone Appoints Tim Wilkes CEO

Production on target to reach 1 million carats a year by 2014
Mar 30, 2011 4:04 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Firestone Diamonds announced changes to its board of directors appointing Tim Wilkes as its new chief executive officer (CEO). Wilkes, who has served as the company’s chief operating officer since 2005, replaces Phillip Kenny, who assumes the role of executive chairman.

“Tim Wilkes has been a key member of Firestone’s senior management team for some years and has been instrumental in developing Firestone’s mining operations in Lesotho and Botswana,” Kenny said.

Firestone operates the Liqhobong mine in Lesotho, where production launched in February, and the BK11 mine in Botswana. In an operations update, the company said it is on track to reach its production target of 1 million carats per year by 2014.

“We are pleased with the continued progress that we have made at Liqhobong, which we believe has the potential to be a highly profitable mining operation,” Wilkes said. 

Firestone noted that initial production at Liqhobong has been in line with expectations while output BK11 has been below target. “We expect this to be resolved shortly and remain confident of meeting our 2011 production targets,” Wilkes said.

The company added that it has secured a 3-year, $6 million credit facility with Standard Charter Bank of Botswana, at a fixed rate of 6.5 percent, which will be available to draw from in April. “This facility will give the company greater flexibility in planning and financing its mining activities,” Firestone explained.
Firestone will hold a tender of 5,000 carats from Liqhobong and 2,200 carats from BK11 at its offices in Botswana’s Diamond Technology Park from April 4 to April 14.

Tags: Avi Krawitz, Firestone Diamonds, Rough tender
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