Firestone Diamonds has sold a total of 195 330 carats of diamonds for the quarter ended 30 September 2017, including a 45 carat white stone worth just below US$1 million at its Liqhobong Mine. This is the second diamond of its kind unearthed at the mine.

According to the diamond miner, the fourth quarter sales achieved an average value of US$69 per carat, creating a total income generation of US$13.5 million.

Since commencement of production in the last quarter of 2016, Firestone has sold all 505 706 carats recovered, for US$41.3 million, at an average value of US$82 per carat.

The miner said, it had treated 944 582 tonnes of ore, at an average of 507 tonnes per hour, with the last quarter seeing a total recovery of 199 007 carats, which included the largest diamond recovered to date, a 134 carat light yellow stone.

“Production for the quarter has been very stable, we ended the quarter slightly above all our anticipated production targets,” said Stuart Brown, CEO, Firestone.

“While the previously announced average value per carat was somewhat disappointing this is reflective of the combination of the lower than expected occurrence of better quality diamonds recovered during the quarter, the widely reported current market conditions where sales are weaker in the finer sizes and weaker demand due to the time of the year,” said Brown.

The CEO noted that Liqhobong has started moving to other areas in the pit and they have some improvement in average value per carat recovered. He did however, highlight that mining will progress into all areas of the pit in time and that it would be some while before more representative volumes of all the ore types are mined where the miner  can better establish its revised average value per carat for planning purposes.