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Covid-19: Lucara cuts initial capital budget for Karowe underground project

26 may 2020
Karowe Mine                                                                                                                            Image credit: Lucara Diamond

Lucara Diamond is revising its initial capital budget for the Karowe underground project in Botswana until the uncertainty in global markets caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is gone.
Pre-production capital cost of the underground project was set at $514 million and the company intended to spend $53 million this year mostly around long-lead time procurement and some physical works.
“Given the uncertainty in global markets resulting from COVID-19, the originally planned capital budget will be reduced until more certainty exists around our cash flow projections,” Lucara Botswana managing director Naseem Lahri was quoted as saying by BusinessWeek.
Lucara had anticipated that cash flow from operations in 2020 would help the company pursue early works which are critical to the underground development schedule.
It had projected to accrue revenues of between $180 million and $210 million this year, as the proportion of carats recovered from the higher grade MP/KS and EM/PK(S) units increase. Lucara concluded a feasibility study for the underground expansion at Karowe, which was expected to double the mine life, and generate significant revenue and cashflow out to 2040.  
Karowe has produced 2.5 million carats since 2012 and generated $1.5 billion in revenue.
Lahri said Lucara was continuing to explore debt financing options for the underground expansion for amounts, which are expected to exceed the company’s cash flow from operations during the construction period.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished