Fri, 31/07/2015 - 12:40
Current Issue 69
Rockwell Diamonds is consolidating its position in the mining industry through the retirement of older mines and the acquisition of new ones, forming part of a strategy to become a mid-tier diamond producer with a long-term future in South Africa
Uncovering the Facets of our Potential
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Arron Rampling
Widely known for its involvement in the exploration and mining of alluvial diamond deposits through beneficiation joint venture and merger & acquisition opportunities in South Africa, Rockwell Diamonds has focused its energies this year on the Bondeo 140 CC acquisition of the Remhoogte/Holsloot (RH/HS) project, investing in the long-term future of both the Company and its staff and subsequently, securing return on investment.
After a challenging few years for the diamond mining industry impacted by lower grades and a drop in carat sales, Rockwell proudly achieved higher overall revenue for the last financial year despite these challenges, helping to offset its significant asset investments it has made in South Africa.
Equipped with the objective to create a growth-oriented mid-tier diamond mining and development company, Rockwell will focus on diamond value management by optimising recovery and driving down unit costs, in turn providing shareholders with the potential for growth and added value.
“Having sold our interest in Tirisano, suspended operations at Niewejaarskraal and closed the Saxendrift Hill Complex, the completion of the Bondeo 140 CC acquisition delivers a suite of longer life options including the flagship RH/HS operations.
“With these assets and our own Wouterspan and Lanyonvale feasibility and exploration projects we are now able to look to the future and deliver on our medium term objectives of building a sustainably profitable and integrated diamond business,” stated Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President, James Campbell.
Moreover, Rockwell continues to strengthen its roots in South Africa by developing its ever-increasing local supplier list, of which it currently contributes 30 percent BEE through its partner of choice, Siyancuma Capital (Pty) Ltd.
Having completed the RH/HS acquisition, Rockwell is turning its attention to rebuilding its production profile and delivering further growth opportunities from its project pipeline, as well as new business opportunities.
Located in the Hay district of the Northern Cape Province, the 2,634 hectare RH/HS project has been a welcome addition to Rockwell’s portfolio since 28 May, 2015. Approximately 195 kilometres (km) southwest of Kimberley, the two sites are contiguous to the Company’s other properties in the Middle Orange River area.
“Both colluvial and fluvial-alluvial gravel units are known to exist on the RH/HS properties, and the first three days of production made a nominal Q1 contribution, with grades and volumes in line with expectations. We have adopted a conservative approach to the rollout of our integration plan and expect to steadily ramp up the throughput and further rationalise the various business sections into one operational structure,” commented the CEO on the website.
To ensure the seamless integration and roll-out of Rockwell’s MOR operating model, RH/HS operations commenced at a monthly throughput of 90,000m3, with a plan to increase this after the integration is completed. The first two processing plants have been in successful operation since takeover, with the third aiding production since the middle of June this year.
There are three processing plants at the RH/HS Project with a maximum total monthly processing capacity of approximately 200,000m3.
At Remhoogte, the site’s processing plant was commissioned in June 2014 and is furnished with all-new equipment, consisting of a Bourevestnik Bulk X-ray system for the processing of coarse gravels, and a four rotary pan plant to treat the fine gravels. A second rotary pan plant at Remhoogte consisting of four pans was also commissioned on the property in November 2014.
Similarly, at Holsloot, its processing plant recently received an equipment upgrade and consists of a de-sanding system, a further Bourevestnik Bulk X-ray system for the processing of coarse gravels and a dense media separation system for fine gravels. During the integration of the RH/HS Project into Rockwell’s MOR operating model, the Company is operating the plants at a throughput rate of 120,000m3 a month.
In contrast to this new beginning, Rockwell is bringing its production at Saxendrift to a close as it reaches the end of its economic life. “Our Lanyonvale and Wouterspan development projects will serve as adequate replacements for further increasing our production profile,” said the Company.
“Having successfully assumed control of these new operations, we have significantly de-risked the financing aspect of the RH/HS transaction. We believe that these new projects, together with our exciting development projects, present potential investors with an attractive entry point,” said Campell.
Backed by its experience handling multiple projects in an increasingly volatile market, Rockwell expects to see good returns as it steadily ramps up RH/HS throughput and further rationalises the various new processing plants into one operational structure; which it hopes to achieve by August 2015.
“Production from the RH/HS Project provides us with headroom to rationalise our existing operations, redeploying assets to newly acquired operations and expediting work on development projects. In the medium-term, we are now working to retire mines that are reaching the end of their economic lives, including Saxendrift, moving existing plant and EMV assets in order to build new operations at fresh resources from the Company’s project pipeline.
“Right now, our exploration priorities lie in the completion of geological mapping at Lanyonvale and bulk sampling and at Wouterspan, with the goal is to commence bulk sampling after completing the feasibility studies. Both are considered to have significant potential to add to the Company’s resources as we continue to enhance our portfolio and evaluate new projects alongside accretive consolidation opportunities to meet our strategic vision to become a mid-tier diamond producer,” concluded the CEO.