RETRIEVING alluvial diamonds from ancient riverbeds buried under layers of rock and sand is difficult enough. Picking the remaining eyes out of mines previously operated by another company makes the task monumentally tougher. That’s one of the reasons Rockwell Diamonds’ Campbell has been restructuring the company’s asset base. In essence, he has disposed or closed the firm’s old workings in favour of investing in the newer Remhoogte Holsloot Complex prospect. However, the difficulty is that the new operations are not yet cash flow positive, while the $20m in debt incurred restructuring the company’s asset base – which is currently four times Rockwell’s market value – is a daunting and dangerous risk. Shareholders don’t like over-extended balance sheets, especially in the current market. The Remhoogte Holsloot Complex has to be capitalised, whilst there’s also an interest in seizing upon new opportunities as a means of spreading its operating risk. The Holy Grail is 500,000 cubic metres of gravel a month to give Rockwell the steady profits it craves for survival. We reckon Campbell has it all to do this year. He has begun by closing the Johannesburg office, and issuing restructuring notices to all employees. The saving grace might be an improvement in rough diamond prices that De Beers said was likely later this year.
LIFE OF JAMES
Campbell spent 30 years at De Beers and then four more as MD of African Diamonds. He was appointed CEO of Rockwell Diamonds in 2011. He has a BSc (honours) in mining and exploration geology from the Royal School of Mining and an MBA from the University of Durham.
- Web Address: www.rockwelldiamonds.com