Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Gem Diamonds Expansion project at the Company’s Letšeng mine in Lesotho Approved Read more: Gem Diamonds Expansion project at the Company’s Letšeng m
Gem Diamonds Limited announce that the expansion project (known as Project Kholo) at the Company’s Letšeng mine in Lesotho has been approved by the Company’s Board and by the Board of Letšeng Diamonds Pty Limited (“Letšeng”).
Project Kholo will commence in January 2012, and will ramp up to full production by July 2014. The project will increase the annual treatment capacity of the Letšeng mine to 10 million tonnes per annum (currently 5.6 million tonnes per annum) with carat output increasing to circa 200,000 carats per annum (currently 100,000 carats per annum). The total project capital expenditure for Project Kholo is estimated at US$ 280 million. The project IRR is expected to be 40% and payback is expected in 2016. Project Kholo will be funded out of existing and future cash flows (based on current diamond prices and exchange rate assumptions). The NPV of the Letšeng mine (100%), including Project Kholo, is US$ 2.5 billion.
Gem Diamonds currently has US$ 151 million cash on its balance sheet and Letšeng has recently secured a revolving credit facility of Maloti 250 million (US$ 31 million) for general corporate purposes.
The Company is currently considering all of its options regarding its Ellendale mine asset in Australia and has appointed advisors to assist in this regard.
Gem Diamonds CEO, Clifford Elphick commented:
“Gem Diamonds is very pleased to announce that as a result of the approval given by the Company’s Board to the expansion project at the Letseng mine, the number of carats of the remarkable diamonds which it produces will effectively be doubled. Given the industry consensus around the extremely positive supply/demand dynamics for high end diamonds, it is an investment which signals Gem Diamonds’ confidence in its future growth. “