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Edited Transcript of MPV.TO earnings conference call or presentation 6-Nov-19 4:00pm GMT

Q3 2019 Mountain Province Diamonds Inc Earnings Call TORONTO Nov 16, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Mountain Province Diamonds Inc earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 4:00:00pm GMT TEXT version of Transcript ================================================================================ Corporate Participants ================================================================================ * Perry Y. Ing Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Finance, CFO & Corporate Secretary * Reid Mackie Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Diamond Marketing * Stuart Michael Brown Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director ================================================================================ Conference Call Participants ================================================================================ * Geordie Mark Haywood Securities Inc., Research Division - Co-Head Mining Research * Paul Zimnisky;Paul Zimnisky Diamond Analytics;Analyst * Scott Macdonald Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Associate Analyst ================================================================================ Presentation -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, to President and CEO Stuart Brown. Sir, you may begin. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you very much, and good day to everyone on the call. Thank you very much for taking the time to dial in. Before I start and say anything further, I'd just remind you to have a look at our forward-looking statement information, which regards all the concerns around cautionary statement regarding all that and also note to investors regarding some of the nonfinancial statements that we may refer to during this call. I'll be giving a brief introduction, Perry will as usual take us through the financial things, Reid will talk about the market and then I'll do some concluding remarks and we'll have the Q&A. I'm sure by now that you've all seen our results. I think we've given you quite a lot of detail in the announcement. And today, we'd like to touch on the key points. There's no doubt it's been a difficult quarter. We have signaled this to the market previously. But we are coming through this period now. But unfortunately, this has, together with the market for rough diamonds, lowered our sales. That's the net variance on the quarter-to-quarter variance analysis in Q3. If we look at the actual production highlights on Slide 4, we are making good progress. Our capacities in mine is improving all the time. Our ore mines against our targets compared to what we expected is on track. Our year-to-date figures are ahead of 2018 in both ore and waste mined, ore mined as well, tonnes treated. The one area is the grade. And I think our explanation there is we have been curtailed in our ability to mine across an average higher grade over the last 6 months. This has meant that the plant has worked exceptionally well. And we've had to use very sort of low-grade sources and lower-quality sources of ore to put through the plant. So while it's a good thing that the plant is capable of treating excess ore and we've now got a much higher level of plant throughput that's in a steady state, we haven't had the ability due to some mining constraints to put the better ore through. Thankfully, this has now changed. And I'll touch more on that when I get to the guidance later in the presentation. So without further ado, if I could hand over to Perry to just talk about the financial information. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Perry Y. Ing, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Finance, CFO & Corporate Secretary [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks, Stuart. Good morning, everyone. I will take you briefly through the financial results. All figures that I'm going to refer to are in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise stated. So moving ahead to Slide 5, showing our income statement highlights. Our pipeline revenue for the quarter was $55 million from the sale of just under 800,000 carats at an average price of USD 53 per carat. This is down significantly from revenue of $75 million in the same period in 2018 from the sale of a similar number of carats at USD 73 per carat, or roughly a 27% decline on a per carat basis, due in combination to market-related declines, a finer size distribution and different assortments compared to the corresponding period. I'll let Reid Mackie provide some of the additional insights there in terms of both market conditions and year-over-year variance. Looking at our EBITDA. Despite the decrease to the top line, we still reported positive EBITDA of $11 million for the third quarter compared to $38 million in the same period in 2018. Our EBITDA margin was 19% compared to 51% correspondingly. On a reported GAAP basis, we reported a net loss of $26 million or $0.12 a share compared to net income of $18 million or $0.08 per share in the third quarter of 2018. Turning ahead to our next slide. We're starting to see some significant improvement from the cost side from a per tonne standpoint as we came in at $90 per tonne processed for the quarter, bringing our year-to-date cost down to $103 per tonne. If you recall, we were sitting at $109 per tonne treated through the first half of 2019. From a throughput standpoint, we are benefiting from the higher processing rates, as we ran at just under a fraction of 10,000 tonnes per day for the third quarter compared to 8,400 tonnes per day in the same period in 2018, which represents a 17% increase in throughput. This has not yet translated into improved per carat metrics for the reasons Stuart described earlier as we processed a grade of 1.71 carats per tonne in the quarter versus 2.40 carats per tonne in the same period in 2018 or compared to 2.17 carats per tonne for the full year 2018. What it has allowed us to do is [turn] through a lot of our low-grade stockpile and lower areas of the mine without losing too much in terms of a carat -- in terms of carats recovered. And our cost per carat recovery came in at USD 53 -- CAD 53 per carat for the quarter, bringing our year-to-date cost down to CAD 56 per carat. So despite the challenges on the revenue front, we were still able to go into the markets and repurchase $10 million -- USD 10 million of our debt during the quarter, which brings our total bond outstanding down to USD 300 million. And we ended the quarter with roughly the same amount of cash that we began the quarter with. So in terms of our balance sheet and liquidity, we're well positioned to service our interest payment due on our bonds in December as well as starting to prepare for next season's winter road supply campaign. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter as well. As Stuart had mentioned, October was an exceptionally good month, and we believe the strong mine performance will continue. And as we see better diamond recovery, we expect our cash operating costs to remain stable. So overall, this will give us an opportunity to lower our guidance range on our per tonne processed from $110 to $120 per tonne down to now $95 to $105 per tonne. We also expect to come in well within our cost guidance for the year of $50 to $54 per carat recovered. On the exploration front, we are through our major spend for the year, and we only expect a nominal amount of spend in the fourth quarter, given we have wrapped up the bulk of the work on the Wilson discovery as well as on our own 100%-owned exploration properties. So with that, I'll turn the presentation now over to Reid Mackie, our VP, Diamond Marketing. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reid Mackie, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Diamond Marketing [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks, Perry. I'll provide some insights into our sales results during the quarter and provide some context with regards to the industry supply-demand fundamentals over the next 2 slides. During Q3, rough and polished diamond prices remained under pressure as the industry midstream struggled to balance supply with demand. Persistently slow-moving polished stocks, low profitability and tighter financing made rough buyers increasingly cautious during this quarter. Accordingly, primary-sourced rough diamond prices have reported year-to-date declines ranging between 5% and 10%, which is consistent with our experience, having seen our market prices for rough diamond categories decline on average 8% since the beginning of the year. Though a large portion of our price decreases occurred during the quarter, we did note stability returned to our last sale 8 with prices firming in the more difficult smalls and brands. And this sale closed at an average price per carat of $67. Towards the end of the quarter and into October, there were reports of polished prices also stabilizing and signs of low single-digit year-on-year growth to retail watch jewelry sales in the U.S. Though retail outlook for the U.S. holiday season is still mixed, the National Retail Federation recently said it expects U.S. holiday retail sales during November and December to increase between 3.8% and 4.2%. On the supply side, major producers have sold significantly lower volumes year-to-date in 2019, which is 26% down year-on-year to roughly $5.5 billion, which is assisting in drawing down midstream inventories. Moving on to Slide 8. I'll get into the reintroduction of unsold rough stocks, which will occur in 2020, will have to be carefully managed and monitored. However, supply contraction from planned production declines and the closure of Rio Tinto Argyle mine in 2020, which represents 9% of global production carats and 45% of the global brand supply, is anticipated to further restore the industry supply-demand balance. Medium- to long-term demand fundamentals remain solid with positive year-on-year growth in diamond jewelry demand being recorded across 85% of the global market. And De Beers has recently announced its largest consumer marketing budget in more than a decade. And finally, on the back of good results, such as LVMH's 4% year-on-year organic growth in Q3, high-end jewelry brands are playing a more important role in the retail diamond jewelry space. And this is epitomized by LVMH's recently announced takeover bid for Tiffany and demonstrates the world's largest luxury product group's confidence in natural diamonds. And with that, I'll hand it back to Stuart for closing remarks. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks, Reid. Just before I do the closing remarks I'm on Slide 9, I'd like to just update you on where we are with the new life of mine plan. At present, we've received the final or the version from De Beers. And we can confirm that it does include the Northeast extension in Tuzo and takes our life of mine into the 2030s. What we're doing now is just running a couple of different scenarios with De Beers. And we're taking a bit more time to work through a couple of options that we might think could change some of our cost structure and our processing. What we've done with the plant improvement has created capacity for more tonnes. But we haven't yet solved that problem of being able to get them. So we're looking in the long term where could we get these tonnes from. And the easy first answer is clearly we know where we have tonnage of Kelvin and Faraday. And we're just running a few scenarios with them around that and the long-term thinking. And we will then take that to our Board later in December and probably be a little bit delayed with releasing the final long-term mine plan because we want to make sure that we've got our best foot forward when we do so. But it's looking very positive. In conclusion, I think you've heard a lot from Perry and Reid on the market. And it's very easy in this day and age looking at our fellow producers, if you look at the results around that, to get a very distorted view and a very distressed view of the diamond market. And you add on top of that the recent De Beers announcement that they've cut price by 5%. So I'd like to put all of that into a bit of context, if I may. There's no doubt that Q2 and Q3 for us has been difficult as Mountain Province. We have stressed to the market we have been mining the lower-grade material. We haven't had access to the high-grade material. We always expected 2019 to be a difficult year. We were going into Hearne for the first time and we've got quite a variance of quality in Hearne. And only now we're getting back to the higher grades and higher value areas. So we do know that the plant -- over the last year we've made all the adjustments to that. We now, as Perry said, we can treat between 9,000 and 10,000 tonnes a day on average, which is significantly higher than our previous averages. We are now starting to put much better quality through. And as Perry alluded to, October was a record production month for us. We got just under 800,000 carats. And November is trending on the plan. So we then looked at our guidance and the tonnes processed. If I was to lean to one side of that, I would say we're going to be very close to the 3.4 million and maybe just a little bit above that if things go well towards the end of the quarter. But we're not looking to drive much more out of that. We've got to keep our mine now in balance. And we're coming into the winter months and we have allowed for that by lowering our sort of monthly totals to account for the weather, so we don't get caught with that variance like we did last year. Our carats recovered, I'd like to think that's going to be also towards the upper end of our guidance. But it's the quality carats that we're starting to see come through. So I'm quite pleased with when I look at sale 9 and I look towards the future, it's going to get better. And we've worked through this area. Obviously, with the increased throughput and keeping our costs steady, we've seen no cost growth this year. We've been very clear that we want to manage costs exceptionally well, and to give credit to De Beers, they've done this. We've had lots of pluses and minuses on the maintenance front and we've had savings elsewhere to offset these. And we're using all our materials and doing all the maintenance in the required way. So the mine is still operating exceptionally well now. It's treating and mining at the rates that we require, and we're doing it at the end of the cost curve that we'd like to be. We know this is a difficult environment to work in. And we've got to make sure that we continue to work safely and maintain our safety record. Pleasingly, we've now gone 12 months without a lost time injury and great credit to De Beers for running the mine in such an excellent fashion. So it's good for us that we are getting through the difficult areas. We have reflected this. We're not trying to sugarcoat the message. We would have preferred to have had a much better sales period in Q3 in particular. Q4, we'll have the rest of sale 8 and all of sale 9 and 10 in it. So hopefully, we see some stability, the market absorbs De Beers' news. We've always been market price [tested] and have been setting a very solid base. And we're seeing some confidence return to that. I think the volume reduction has gone -- is going to help and has helped. And we'll see how we go with the retailer, as Reid mentioned in that. I personally think the LVMH, whether that deal ever concludes with Tiffany, is a good solid shock to the market to say one of the world's best brand managers thinks that Tiffany's is worth acquiring because they see huge value and they see the future in luxury retail. And that is after all where we operate in. We've got a solid mine plan coming that takes us into the next 10, 11 years. That's without looking at Kelvin and Faraday. We've got capacity now to generate this through the plant if we can get together with De Beers and do some work on that, which they have indicated to us that they're willing to do. But I think we're moving in all the right directions in that. And I look forward to a very good quarter 4 that will round off our year and perhaps finish it in slightly more positive fashion than we've had to deal with quarter 3 year right now. Thank you very much. If there's any questions, we'd be more than happy to take them. ================================================================================ Questions and Answers -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from the line of Mr. Geordie Mark. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Geordie Mark, Haywood Securities Inc., Research Division - Co-Head Mining Research [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just nice running into October numbers there. So in terms of the sale prices for Q3, can you kind of give an idea of the relative quantum of the Q-on-Q change in pricing the artifact of the market versus changes in the SFD of the material that was processed in that period? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sure. Geordie, thanks. I'll let Reid take that one. I think we have done quite a lot of work on this. Reid, if you want to give the Q3-to-Q3 analysis. Thank you. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reid Mackie, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Diamond Marketing [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sure. Geordie, was that last quarter to -- was that Q2-to-Q3 analysis for this year? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Geordie Mark, Haywood Securities Inc., Research Division - Co-Head Mining Research [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, just the relative here. Obviously, the change in pricing was there. And I just wanted to know whether that's something that we're looking to keep going forward or whether it's an artifact of what was processed largely in the period and is kind of coming back, I guess? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reid Mackie, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Diamond Marketing [6] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sure. I can say that it's equal parts of product mix and actual market price received for the sold assortment. So it's a combination of the 2 equally there. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [7] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Geordie, we are -- yes, we worked less quality areas, and we're expecting to see an improvement now we've got to the higher grades. And some of that high grade is better values. So we know that sale 8, we already returned, as Reid mentioned, to $67 a carat from the $53 that you mentioned in Q3. So we're trending back up in the better quality. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reid Mackie, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Diamond Marketing [8] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. And as Stuart pointed out, Geordie, earlier on, it was kind of expected as we moved into Hearne that we would see that product mix factor and then it was compounded obviously by the market price received in the quarter. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Geordie Mark, Haywood Securities Inc., Research Division - Co-Head Mining Research [9] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Right. Okay. And that was an artifact of the particular material. It wasn't the lower grade stockpiled material coming through as well? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [10] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, that was also part of the thing where we literally ran out of ore to feed the plants from the higher-grade areas. So we did take everything we could get from all over. And we used most of -- well, nearly all the low-grade stockpiled materials put through as well, Geordie. We're now sitting with an average grade on the stockpile of 2 carats per tonne. So we've got through all of the low-grade material. So that's why it really impacted us Q2 and Q3 because that's what we could sell. But we have seen a better sale 8 and we look forward to a better sale 9. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Geordie Mark, Haywood Securities Inc., Research Division - Co-Head Mining Research [11] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. And with that, I mean so if your compounding factors, I guess, grade and also I guess, so your product mix should increase on a per carat basis. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [12] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That's a very... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Geordie Mark, Haywood Securities Inc., Research Division - Co-Head Mining Research [13] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Relative to the lows. Okay. And in terms of this shutdown. Because there was a shutdown in Q3 as well. What was the sort of duration of that? And do you expect any operational synergies going forward to, I guess, winnow that period and therefore give you greater utilization? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [14] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We had a 4-day shutdown in September, which was as per plan. So we -- and we didn't exceed that shutdown, it worked fine according to plan. So we expected to not treat the ore. That's why we haven't been making a big fuss of it, because we planned to shut the plant down and we planned not to treat ore during that time. We discontinued mining in that time. So for us, it was all -- it went much better than the 2018 shutdown, where we struggled to reopen the plant and get it up and running again. So I think we've done a lot more planning there. And I think we expect this to continue. I think for us now, it's about -- we know the plant can work and we need to get the mining rates up and then the slope angle sorted out, and then get as much ore extracted that we can treat as possible and look for new sources of ore. That's really what we're looking at right now. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [15] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from the line of Mr. Paul [Vonheim]. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Unidentified Analyst, [16] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. To touch back on the Q3 carat value of $52.50, when you look at the carat value of the eighth sale, the 159,000 carats for $13 million, that comes up to $82 per carat -- approximately $82 per carat. So that would lead me to believe that the value that you put down, that you have accounted for in the third quarter would be a lot less. So that would -- that would have skewed the actual sale of the third quarter if they were not included in the total. Am I correct in coming to that conclusion? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [17] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, Paul. I mean that is a factor of how we have to do our cutoff. So that is correct. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Unidentified Analyst, [18] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So if we wouldn't have had the eighth sale partially in there, the carat value for the third sale would have actually been a little bit higher because you have more diamond. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [19] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [Yes, marginally higher.] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Unidentified Analyst, [20] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, it would have been marginally higher. Okay, okay. The other question I have is in regards to the projected diamonds. Your guidance is projecting an average grade of 1.97 to 2.06. And I've done some calculation. I don't know if I'm wrong in my calculations. But in order to obtain that kind of grade at the end of the year, would we not have to get close to 2.4 carats per tonne for October, November and December production to bring us up to that level, because our average right now is 1.83? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [21] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. That's why I said that -- Paul, if you noted, I did say we are now into the high-grade areas. And our October production was, I think, around 800,000 carats. And November is trending where we expected to. So we made a substantial fact out of the I think it was about 1.9 million carats we need to get to -- or there and thereabouts, these aren't exact figures -- to get there. So we're confident that we're mining in those areas and that grade is what we're seeing right now on our dailies. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [22] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from the line of Mr. Scott Macdonald. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scott Macdonald, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Associate Analyst [23] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just a few questions for me. Firstly, for Stuart, you mentioned and the guidance implies a bit lower throughput in Q4. Could you just clarify whether that's a winter seasonal decision or more related to the shortfall of good ore available that you were seeing in Q3? Or is that something we'll see like every year in Q4? Or is that more like -- or is it something we might even see carry into Q1 of 2020? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [24] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So previously, we divided the budget by 12, Scott. And in fact it was 1,200 tonnes, and we're going to do 100 tonnes a month. And then when we got to the winter months, we would tell you that we were behind because we had an exceptionally bad winter. So if you factored into the 2019 and 2020 budgets is to lower production targets in those months, hopefully it was better and [still in line] according to our maximum capacity. So I think what we're looking at is, we could thresh through the plants -- if we got continuous 10,000 tonnes a day, we might get up to 3.6 million tonnes for the year. But that will then leave us short of ore in 2020 because we will be mining ahead of plan. So we tempered that off to make sure that we can get a steady average. So I think [if I'm setting] 3.4 million to 3.5 million tonnes would be on the high side of where we would be comfortable, we are seeing carats where we think we can sell the carats and do that. So we've tried to get a more realistic profile as we mine to take the weather into account. Now weather never comes as planned. We always seem to get the cold weather when we don't expect it and the hot weather when we do, doesn't necessarily always help us. So it was more of an effort to try and get more smooth reporting so that we don't have to come and explain those things. And if the weather is bad, we can accept it and we will have achieved our target. So it's a bit trying to get to the end of the year to make sure we hit guidance and take some pressure off ourselves and start the year really solidly for 2020 is our plan. And that's what De Beers are working on. So we want to expose all the ore ready to go through the plant. But if the bad weather does come, the ore is then easily accessed and already exposed, which is not what we had last year. We were always behind the curve for most of 2019. I think that's good planning on our behalf. We've recognized all the risks and now we've mitigated them and we're trying to get smooth reporting out. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scott Macdonald, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Associate Analyst [25] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. My next question was just on cash costs. This quarter, I think your cash costs were under $40 million versus more like -- well, north of $45 million per quarter the last few quarters. I'm just curious what's driving that. And it looks like that you're kind of expecting that lower costs in Q4 as well or possibly even coming down from Q3. I'm just trying to understand what's driving that and whether that's -- those factors are expected to continue going into next year. And I appreciate your tonnages that are higher when we're looking at cost per tonne, but I'm just talking about in dollar terms here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Perry Y. Ing, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Finance, CFO & Corporate Secretary [26] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Thanks, Scott, it's Perry. I mean Q3, I think the plant was running well, mining. We're getting ahead of some of the maintenance issues that plagued us kind of earlier in the year. And of course, weather-wise, you're talking about the best months of the year to operate in, in terms of just heating and diesel consumption. So overall, I think it's just a measure of good planning and execution at the mine. I think everything is in line with budget, no large variances up or down, as Stuart mentioned earlier, things -- but we did have overspend that was mitigated in other areas. So I think we're trending on plan. I think Q4, we're back into the winter months, so you'll see a bit of escalation, but nothing overly material. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scott Macdonald, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Associate Analyst [27] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Great. And one -- just one last one for me. We talked in the past about working this -- in the new life of mine plan to steepen up the pit walls. Could you give us an update? I know it may not be final-final yet or maybe that part of it is complete. What kind of progress you've made there and what we should expect to see in impact on the stripping? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [28] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, Scott, it's Stuart. We've got -- the plan we received has got a 3-degree improvement in the -- in the 5034 site, which is quite important in the NEX. And what we're doing right now, one of the things we're revising with De Beers is to look at how much of that we can translate into Tuzo. We think there's more to get there. So that's one of the sort of the trade-off studies, which is delaying us a little bit. So we've definitely baked in 3%. And we're hoping to deliver a little bit more of that at the back end of the mine life. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scott Macdonald, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Associate Analyst [29] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. So that's still -- you're still working on improving that still? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [30] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Still on track, yes, on track and we're trying to improve it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [31] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from the line of [Robert Ning]. Your next question comes from the line of Mr. Paul Zimnisky. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Paul Zimnisky;Paul Zimnisky Diamond Analytics;Analyst, [32] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just one for me. I guess with the price softness seen in the 10.8-plus carat sizes over the last few months or so regarding the competitiveness of bidding between yourself and De Beers for the fancies and specials, have you seen any change there in the recent sales? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [33] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'll start with that and maybe Reid can comment. So first of all, on the bidding process with De Beers, Paul, we're very close. It's very competitive. So I think we're both very attuned to the market. I think we're about 50-50 so far this year on winning and losing. And we don't always regard it as winning or losing. So I think both from De Beers and our perspective, we think we're quite competitive. And we've definitely seen some drop-off in the, sort of the upper-end values. I think that's been consistent in the market. My view on that is if you find a large stone, keep it to yourself, don't tell everyone. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reid Mackie, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Diamond Marketing [34] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. And I'll follow on with that, Stuart. We have recognized, Paul, that there has been some softness in those exceptionals, those exceptional stones up there. And -- but because we're in that -- we're in a bidding process with our partner, our bids have been revised accordingly. So we come with our latest prices to that process to ensure that we have... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Paul Zimnisky;Paul Zimnisky Diamond Analytics;Analyst, [35] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I guess what I was getting at, with the price volatility, I guess you guys are still pretty close as far as the bids you're coming up with though, even with the volatility... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reid Mackie, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - VP of Diamond Marketing [36] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stuart Michael Brown, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. - President, CEO & Director [37] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. I think we're done. All right. If there's no more questions we've got there, thanks very much for everyone dialing in, and we'll look forward to talking to you and updating you further. We have a couple of announcements coming out shortly on guidance and on Wilson as we finish all the work there. And we'll talk to you when we get to Q4. Thank you. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [38] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference. Thank you for your participation, and have a wonderful day. You may now disconnect.