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Rockwell provides feedback on successful implementation of strategic projects at Saxendrift

May 21, 2012

VANCOUVER, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Rockwell Diamonds Inc. (“Rockwell” or
the “Company”) (TSX: RDI; JSE: RDI; OTCBB: RDIAF) is pleased to
announce the successful completion of two strategic projects, namely
the new in-field screen and the bulk x-ray and single particle sorter
plant at its Saxendrift mine which is known for its high value gem
quality diamonds. These were the first capital projects approved by the
Board for implementation by the new management team in support of the
diamond value management principles that underpin Rockwell’s strategic
growth path.

In-Field Screen

The first of a series of strategic projects, the in-field screen at
Saxendrift which was commissioned in order to address the high sand
content in the gravel that was impacting the mine’s ability to achieve
its productions targets. In July 2011, following an evaluation of the
available technologies to process the sand rich gravels, which were
often damp, the Board approved the replacement of Saxendrift’s in-field
screen with new fit for purpose technology.

The new 3.0m x 8.0m Dabmar Bivitec screen is designed to treat gravels
with a high sand and moisture content at the required processing rates.
The project, which included a magnetic scalping plant, came in under
budget and has been delivering the anticipated benefits for the past
four months. The screen is running in excess of 95% efficiency
notwithstanding the fact that it is operating at 17% above its design
throughput. Since the new plant came on stream in November 2011, the
mine has been able to increase its processing capacity by 30% although
increasing the bottom cut-off and the implementation of continuous
operations (“contops”) also had a significant impact.

“Another meaningful positive impact of the new in-field screen is
enhanced pan plant efficiency. This is due to the higher quality
gravels, cleared of excess sand and small particles being fed into the
plant,” explained James Campbell, CEO of Rockwell. “We are now also in
a position to consider mining certain blocks that have a higher sand
content, that could previously not be processed and have the potential
to increase the life of mine at Saxendrift.”

Commenting further on the strategic importance of this project, James
Campbell, CEO of Rockwell added that: “The new in-field screen, along
with contops and a change in the bottom cut-off has enabled us to
increase our monthly volume throughput by over 30% whilst maintaining
our operating costs at the same level as a year ago. This is despite
the significant rise in fuel prices, a wage increase and an ageing
mining fleet requiring greater maintenance. Based on the results of
this project, the technology will be incorporated into the mines which
we are planning to build at our Middle Orange River projects to grow
our production profile.”

Bulk x-ray system

The commissioning of the bulk x-ray technology that was approved by the
Board in September 2011 was completed to scope and on budget in mid
April 2012 with very encouraging results so far. This strategic
initiative is based on a high throughput Bourevestnik (BV) sorter and
one BV single particle sorter and is aimed at improving concentrate
efficiency and final sorting of diamond bearing ore with a total
capital cost of $1.5 million. Having started processing old recovery
tailings at Saxendrift on 16 April 2012, a total of 316 stones
totalling 1,109 carats have been recovered in the first four weeks of
production. This includes 14 stones exceeding 10 carats with the
largest weighing 52.67 carats.

This project has been scoped as a ‘Proof of Concept’ testplan, which if
successful could be applied to Rockwell’s other, as yet undeveloped,
Middle Orange properties.

The project programme includes sampling of recovery and pan plant
tailings. Once complete, the 100 tph plant will be used to bulk sample
the gravels from the Jasper Mine, subject to the acquisition proceeding
as planned.

“The preliminary results from testing the bulk x-ray machine are
extremely encouraging: diamond recoveries have exceeded expectations
and we are increasingly optimistic that this technology will provide a
more efficient alternative to the traditional pan plants used by
Rockwell until now,” commented Campbell. “Once the proof of concept has
been fully tested, it is our intention to deploy the technology into
our new projects located along the Middle Orange River to ensure
efficient recovery of the large gem quality diamonds for which the
region is known. The immediate priority will be to use this new
capability to bulk sample the Jasper property and thus for the first
time be able to declare a resource based on more efficient recovery
technology.”

Campbell concluded that: “The combination of the fit for purpose
in-field screen and the bulk x-ray technology embodies our diamond
value management principles. It will provide Rockwell with a blue print
for the development of our pipeline of high potential projects in the
Middle Orange River region. Our updated pre-feasibility at Wouterspan,
scheduled for completion this year, will be based on a combination of
these diamond winning technologies.”

“The completion of these two important projects is another strategic
milestone for the new Rockwell management team. They were the first to
be approved by the Board in 2011 with the implementation being integral
to the Company’s turnaround,” said Mark Bristow, Chairman, Rockwell.
“The successful implementation demonstrates the team’s ability to
deliver and reinforces our belief that Rockwell is on track to
unlocking the full potential of its Middle Orange River projects and
sustainably increasing its production profile.”

About Rockwell Diamonds:

Rockwell is engaged in the business of operating and developing alluvial
diamond deposits, with a goal to become a mid-tier diamond production
company.  The Company has three existing operations, which it is
progressively optimizing, two development projects and a pipeline of
earlier stage properties with future development potential.

Rockwell also evaluates merger and acquisition opportunities which have
the potential to expand its mineral resources and production profile
and would provide accretive value to the Company.

No regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information
contained in this news release.

Forward Looking Statements

Except for statements of historical fact, this news release contains
certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable
securities law. Forward-looking information is frequently characterized
by words such as “plan”, “expect”, “project”, “intend”, “believe”,
“anticipate”, “estimate” and other similar words, or statements that
certain events or conditions “may” or “will” occur. Although the
Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking
statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not
guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may
differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those
in forward-looking statements include uncertainties and costs related
to exploration and development activities, such as those related to
determining whether mineral resources exist on a property;
uncertainties related to expected production rates, timing of
production and cash and total costs of production and milling;
uncertainties related to the ability to obtain necessary licenses,
permits, electricity, surface rights and title for development
projects; operating and technical difficulties in connection with
mining development activities; uncertainties related to the accuracy of
our mineral resource estimates and our estimates of future production
and future cash and total costs of production and diminishing
quantities or grades if mineral resources; uncertainties related to
unexpected judicial or regulatory procedures or changes in, and the
effects of, the laws, regulations and government policies affecting our
mining operations; changes in general economic conditions, the
financial markets and the demand and market price for mineral
commodities such and diesel fuel, steel, concrete, electricity, and
other forms of energy, mining equipment, and fluctuations in exchange
rates, particularly with respect to the value of the US dollar,
Canadian dollar and South African Rand; changes in accounting policies
and methods that we use to report our financial condition, including
uncertainties associated with critical accounting assumptions and
estimates; environmental issues and liabilities associated with mining
and processing; geopolitical uncertainty and political and economic
instability in countries in which we operate; and labour strikes, work
stoppages, or other interruptions to, or difficulties in, the
employment of labour in markets in which we operate our mines, or
environmental hazards, industrial accidents or other events or
occurrences, including third party interference that interrupt
operation of our mines or development projects.

For further information on Rockwell, Investors should review Rockwell’s
annual Form 20-F filing with the United States Securities and Exchange
Commission www.sec.com and the Company’s home jurisdiction filings that are available at www.sedar.com.

SOURCE Rockwell Diamonds Inc.


Source: PR Newswire