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Canadian diamond miner Mountain Province continues to hold a positive demand outlook for smaller goods, despite the softening of the broader rough diamond market in the second quarter of the year.

Commenting on its June quarterly performance, CEO Mark Wall said that the company’s sales performance stayed resilient despite the broader market turbulence.

The majority of the production from Gahcho Kué – a joint venture (JV) with De Beers – is made up of smaller diamonds, which are attracting sustained market demand.

Mountain Province sold 360 308 ct in the second quarter for C$59.9-million, resulting in an average price of C$166/ct. This compares with 586 567 ct sold for total proceeds of C$97-million at an average price of C$165/ct in the second quarter of last year.

The reduction in volumes sold was owing to the acceleration of sales in the first quarter of 2023, where three sales were held versus the historical norm of two. Relative to the second quarter of last year, the average price per carat in the second quarter benefited from a coarser than average mix of goods sold, offsetting a softening market.

Mountain Province expects a finer mix of goods sold in the third quarter.

During the second quarter, 750 241 t of ore was treated and 1.24-million carats were recovered.

“The second quarter of 2023 saw quarter-on-quarter operational improvements across most operating metrics at site. While I am pleased to see this incremental improvement, there remains much work to be done to ensure that we are able to achieve planned mining and processing rates in a more sustainable way. We are working together with our JV partner to allow for more predictable outcomes,” said Wall.

The ore mined reduced by 43% year-on-year to 595 990 t.

The company said that a transition to greater-than-planned waste stripping activities in the Tuzo pit, driven by the need to reduce the effects of interactive mining, had resulted in less mining activity in the 5034 pit than planned, with the ore release from this pit deferred to future periods. Given the sizeable ore stockpile (1.27-million tonnes grading 1.26 ct/t, containing 1.59-million carats) and resource overperformance relative to the model, there was no production interruption expected from this deferral.

Given this ore release deferral, Mountain Province updated its 2023 mine ore guidance to between 3.0-million and 3.6-million tonnes mined, from between 4.1-million and 4.5-million previously anticipated.