Gem Diamonds Ltd said Thursday it produced and sold fewer diamonds in the first half of 2019 compared to prior periods, though with increased prices.
For the six months to the end of June, the miner sold 55,714 carats, down from 61,696 carats the same period the year before, and also down 12% from 63,414 carats in the second half of 2019.
However, the average price per carat was USD1,697 per carat, down from USD2,742 the prior year, but up 10% from USD1,537 in the second half of 2018.
Lower sales from Gem Diamonds was due to fewer carats recovered in production at 56,668 carats, compared to 61,596 carats the year before, as well as at a lower grade of 1.70 carats per hundred tonnes compared to 2.06 carats.
During the period, from the Letseng diamond mine in Lesotho, three diamonds greater than 100 carats were found.
Gem Diamonds sold 15 diamonds for more than USD1.0 million each, generating revenue of USD41.6 million.
At the end of June, the company had USD25.8 million of cash on hand, USD22.4 million of which was attributable to Gem Diamonds. The group had a net debt position of USD700,000.
Looking ahead, Gem Diamonds has continued to progress its four-year business transformation programme, and said its targeted USD100 million in incremental revenue, productivity improvements, and cost savings is on track to be delivered by the end of 2021.
"It is pleasing to report that the group has successfully implemented the business transformation programme, already achieving USD42 million net of fees, and is on track to deliver the planned USD100 million in cost savings and efficiencies by 2021," said Chief Executive Officer Clifford Elphick.
"As guided previously, mining during the period occurred in the lower-value part of the orebodies, and notwithstanding this, achieved prices were 10% higher than the previous period. As planned, mining has commenced in the higher-value parts of the orebodies in the second half and we anticipate that production guidance previously provided to the market will be achieved for the year," Elphick added.
Shares in Gem Diamonds were down 0.8% at 73.40 pence on Wednesday.