Tanzania Chamber of Mineral and Energy

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Shares in Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL) climbed almost 8% on Monday after the miner reported a significant revenue increase in its third-quarter driven by record production in the first three months of 2018.

The South African diamond producer, owner of the iconic Cullinan mine, which produced the diamonds for the British crown jewels, said revenue for the quarter ended March 31 climbed 44% to $172 million, from $119 million a year earlier.

Petra Diamonds saw third-quarter revenue grow by 44% after it produced and sold more gems.The company, known for some major recent findings, attributed part of the revenue growth to the fact it sold 1,373,771 carats of diamonds compared to 1,069,886 sold in the same period a year earlier.

While production jumped 20% to a record quarterly volume of 1,194,947 carats, Petra said illegal mining at its Kimberley Ekapa Mining JV (KEM) dented output during the quarter by restricted access to high grade dumps at the surface retreatment operation.

It also said its full year 2018 revenue continued to be impacted by the inability to sell a blocked diamond parcel from it Williamson mine of about 71,000 carats. The shipment was seized by the Tanzanian government in September last year, as part of the country’s ongoing probe into alleged wrongdoing in the diamond and tanzanite sectors.

Chief executive Johan Dippenaar said the company’s focus would move away from volume targets to value optimization.

‘While we are very encouraged by the operational delivery against our long-term expansion plans, risks to performance continue to relate to increased volatility in the ZAR/US$ exchange rate, grade and pricing variability at Cullinan,” Dippenaar said in the statement, adding that the outlook for its Williamson mine as well as the blocked diamond parcel were also weighing on the company’s future.

Petra’s shares were trading 7.63% higher to 69.8p in London at 3:31 p.m. local time.