Diamond miner Lucapa has pocketed a tidy $U16.7m ($23m) for seven of its Lulo diamonds, which it is now allowed to sell by international tender.

Under Angola’s new diamond marketing policy, Lucapa (ASX:LOM) was able to offer the seven diamonds weighing 498 carats for sale via electronic tender.

The total price fetched equates to a hefty average of $US33,530 per carat.

Shares jumped nearly 17 per cent to an intra-day peak of 21c on the back of the news.

Angola’s previously restrictive legislation over diamond operations meant foreign investors couldn’t own a majority stake in projects and required all diamonds be sold through a central state-owned government agency.

However, following the election of a new government in August 2017 the country has been seeking more foreign investment in its natural resources, including diamonds.

Angolan President Joao Lourenco implemented a new diamond marketing policy in August last year and Lucapa got the greenlight in September to sell its big sparklers via international tender.

Another of the large Lulo "specials" sold in the historic tender. Pic: Sodiam
Another of the large Lulo “specials” sold in the historic tender. Pic: Sodiam

And it looks like Lucapa’s decision to hold off selling its Lulo “specials” has paid off.

A spokesman for CEO Stephen Wetherall said the average sale price achieved in the international tender was a “significant premium” to what would have been achieved under the old Angolan diamond marketing channel, where there was little competitive-tension.

“This shows the new Angolan marketing policy is working and achieving its desired outcomes, including improved transparency and higher prices for producers like Lulo,” he told Stockhead.

“Secondly, while lower-value rough diamonds are coming under some pricing pressure — as evidenced by the most recent De Beers sales cycle — the exceptional prices achieved for the seven Lulo diamonds in this international tender clearly demonstrate the continued strong demand for high-quality diamond production.”

More than 30 of the world’s leading diamantaires from eight countries participated in the inaugural tender.

The tender was organised by state-owned trading company Sodiam in Luanda.

Lucapa has so far made $US141m from the sale of Lulo diamonds at an average price per carat of $US2105.