Diamond miner Lucapa has boosted its coffers by $19 million to fund the development of a new diamond mine in southern Africa.

The Mothae diamond project in the landlocked country of Lesotho is due in operation next year. It will be Lucapa’s second diamond mine.

Perth-based Lucapa (ASX:LOM) was steady at 26c on Monday.

Lucapa secured a 70 per cent stake in Mothae in January after winning an international tender from the Lesotho government.

Singaporean company Equigold supplied the three-year loan.

“Funding ensures the company, together with the Government of Lesotho, will bring Mothae on stream in 2018, adding a second cash producing asset and high-value producing mine to the group that will complement the top-quality diamond production from Lulo,” Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall told investors.

Lesotho is in the heart of the world’s highest-value cluster of kimberlite mines. Lucapa plans to begin production there in 2018.

Today’s news comes after Lucapa announced it would auction a giant 163-carat stone hailed as “the world’s most beautiful” later this year.

The emerald cut diamond is the biggest gem cut from a record 404-carat stone discovered at the company’s eastern Anglola diamond mine, Lulo, in February 2016.

Lucapa has a market cap of about $89 million.