Harry Winston (HWD) Reports Improvement in Yield at Diavik Mine

January 15, 2013 6:11 AM EST Send to a Friend
Harry Winston Diamond Corporation (NYSE: HWD) reports that in the fourth calendar quarter of 2012, the Diavik Diamond Mine produced 1.9 million carats from 0.5 million tonnes of ore processed, as compared to 1.6 million carats from 0.6 million tonnes of ore processed in the comparable quarter of the prior year. The 19% increase in carats recovered in the quarter was primarily due to improved grades in each of the kimberlite pipes, partially offset by the 17% decline in ore processed in the quarter, which was due to a reduction in processing plant throughput that resulted from changes in the geological composition of the ore. Open pit mining of the A-418 kimberlite pipe concluded in September, although processing of open pit ore from the A-418 kimberlite pipe will continue into calendar 2013.

For the 2012 calendar year, the Diavik Diamond Mine produced 7.2 million carats from 2.1 million tonnes of ore processed compared to production of 6.7 million carats from 2.2 million tonnes of ore processed in the prior year. Production for the 2012 calendar year consisted of 4.3 million carats produced from 1.2 million tonnes of ore from the A-418 kimberlite pipe, 1.9 million carats produced from 0.4 million tonnes of ore from the A-154 South kimberlite pipe, and 0.9 million carats produced from 0.5 million tonnes of ore from the A-154 North kimberlite pipe. Also included in production for the 2012 calendar year was an estimated 0.1 million carats from reprocessed plant rejects ("RPR").

The decrease in carats from the original 2012 calendar plan of 8.2 million carats was primarily due to deferring the processing and recovery of lower value carats from the RPR in favour of processing underground ore containing higher valued carats. Production was also impacted by a reduction in processing plant throughput due to changes in the geological composition of the ore.

A new mine plan and budget for calendar 2013 is under final review by Rio Tinto plc and the Company. The plan for calendar 2013 foresees Diavik Diamond Mine production of approximately 6 million carats from the mining and processing of approximately 1.6 million tonnes of ore with a further 0.2 million tonnes processed from stockpile ore. Mining activities will be exclusively underground with approximately 0.7 million tonnes expected to be sourced from A-154 North, approximately 0.5 million tonnes from A-154 South and approximately 0.4 million tonnes from A-418 kimberlite pipes. Included in the estimated production for calendar 2013 is approximately 0.6 million carats from RPR and 0.1 million carats from the improved recovery process for small diamonds. These RPR and small diamond recoveries are not included in the Company's reserves and resource statement and are therefore incremental to production.


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