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Dominion Diamond Q1 profit jumps to $14.7 million on operational improvements

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Dominion Diamond Corp. (TSX:DDC) says it had nearly $14.7 million of net income, or 17 cents per share, in the first quarter of its 2014-15 financial year.

That's up from $506,160 or four cents per share a year earlier, most of it from its Harry Winston luxury retail business, which was sold last year for US$750 million so that Dominion Diamond could focus on its mining operations.

The Toronto-based company now has an 80 per cent interest in the Ekati diamond mine, purchased from BHP Billiton for US$554 million in cash, including final adjustments. That deal closed in April 2013, the final month of last year's first quarter.

Dominion Diamond also owns a 40 per cent stake in the Diavik mine in a joint venture with Rio Tinto.

Its revenue in the three months ended April 30 was $175.5 million, up from $108.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

The company said Wednesday after markets closed that Ekati had stronger production results in the first quarter than were originally expected due to higher than expected ore grades and better diamond recovery rates from processing improvements implemented over the past eight months.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Dominion Diamond shares closed down nine cents, or 0.66 per cent, at $13.51 on Wednesday.