Rockwell Diamonds to abandon Klipdam mine for contract mining in South Africa

Uncut diamond

Diamond mining and development company Rockwell Diamonds has announced that it is shifting its operations at the Klipdam Mine in South Africa to contract mining in order to reduce operating costs and improve overall performance.

As part of the restructuring plan, Rockwell has signed a three-year contract mining agreement with CML Operations.

Located near Kimberley in South Africa, the Klipdam Property has three years of mine life remaining. The property includes the adjacent Holpan 161 and Klipdam 157 farms, covering an area of 3,836ha.

The company said the decision to restructure operations was taken as the mine witnessed high unit costs and poor earthmoving and plant availabilities over the past two years.

Poor performance has begun to have an impact on the company's overall revenues, driving Rockwell to undertake several changes including new appointments and an altered mine plan to incorporate extraction of more paleaochannel gravels.

The mining contract with CML is expected to result in higher mining efficiencies and lower unit costs. The company has also agreed to divest Klipdam's earthmoving fleet over a two-year period, aiding cost reduction.

Rockwell CEO James Campbell said that the appointment of CML represents a step change in the company's operating model.

"This significant development should enable us to focus on our core competencies, being the identification and proving of quality diamond resources and the concomitant recovery and marketing of high value, gem-quality diamonds," Campbell added.

"Going forward, a similar approach will be adopted at the Saxendrift Hill Mine, which is currently under construction."

Image: Rockwell is streamlining its diamond mining operations. Photo: Rob Lavinsky.