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Strong Market for Small Stones Buoys Mountain Province

April 17, 2023  |  Leah Meirovich
a truck hauling ore at the Gahcho Kue mine

Mountain Province saw a record first-quarter revenue amid strong demand for small diamonds and a resurgence in the Chinese market.

Sales of rough diamonds from the company’s Gahcho Kué mine in Canada surged 90% year on year to 961,024 carats for the three months ending March 31, Mountain Province said last week. Total proceeds from the period’s three tenders soared 42% to $95 million.

“We saw an excellent result in a resilient market amid strong demand from major jewelry brands and continued recovery in the Chinese market,” said Mountain Province CEO Mark Wall.

Production of rough diamonds rose 11% to 1.3 million carats in the first quarter, as the company mined from a higher-grade portion of the deposit. However, output was lower than Mountain Province had expected and dropped relative to the fourth quarter because of a decrease in the availability of the process plant and the loading unit. The company will shut the plant next month for annual maintenance, which it believes will address those issues, it explained. Mountain Province’s 49% share of production was 646,605 carats. De Beers owns the remaining 51% stake in the site.

“While the first quarter has historically proven to be a seasonally low production period, the first quarter of 2023 has not met my expectations from an operational performance perspective,” Wall noted. “We are working with our operator and joint-venture partner to ensure that the required resources and improvements are delivered to return the performance that we saw in quarter four of last year. While I remain optimistic about the growth and life extension opportunities at the Gahcho Kué mine, the day-to-day operational results from our operator need to improve.”

Wall believes Gahcho Kué will still meet the full-year production guidance of between 5.6 million and 6.1 million carats the company announced in January, he added.

Image: A truck hauling ore at the Gahcho Kué mine. (Mountain Province)

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