• Massive Angolan rough diamond yields 15.2-carat heart-shaped gem
  • ‘Pink coloured diamonds are rare and constitute less than 0.1 per cent of global diamond production’
  • Rio Tinto is closing world’s largest pink diamond mine, Argyle in WA’s Kimberley region


ASX diamonds producer Lucapa Diamond Company (ASX:LOM) has sold a massive 46-carat pink rough diamond to the South African Diamond Corporation (Safdico) for an undisclosed amount of money.

The pink rough diamond is the largest discovered to date in Lucapa’s Lulo diamond mine in Angola and was sold in March this year.

“Pink coloured diamonds are rare and constitute less than 0.1 per cent of global diamond production,” managing director and chief executive, Stephen Wetherall, said.

“With the recent closure of the renowned Argyle underground mine in Australia, which produced 90 per cent of the world’s natural pink diamonds, these diamonds are about to become even more scarce,” he said.

Angolan gem is cut into three polished diamonds

Safdico cut the stone into three polished diamonds, the heaviest of which at 15.2 carats is the heart-shaped diamond graded as a Fancy Intense Orangy Pink by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Two other pear-shaped diamonds were cut from the 46-carat gem, and they weighed 3.3 carats and 2.3 carats, respectively.

Similar cut pink diamonds have achieved a sales price of $US1 million to $US2 million per carat, indicating a market value for the largest Lucapa gem of up to $US30.4m ($41m).

Lucapa diamond company
Heart-shaped 15.2-carat Fancy Intense Orangy Pink Heart-shaped diamond cut from original 46-carat rough Lulo diamond. Picture: Lucapa Diamond Company.


Diamond-cutting and polishing deal

Under a cutting and polishing deal between Lucapa and Safdico, the Lulo diamond mine’s partners, including the government of Angola, retained a share in the profit margin generated from the polishing and sale of the three cut gemstones.

“The recent enactment of the Angolan diamond marketing regulations is having the desired effect. New permitted diamond marketing channels, such as the partnership initiative implemented at SML [the operator of the Lulo mine] are starting to show the real and significant additional benefit that can be derived from the diamonds produced at Lulo,” said Wetherall.

Lucapa’s partner in the Lulo diamond mine, Empresa Nacional de Diamantes (Endiama) welcomed the new marketing approach.

“The results obtained from this diamond are a reflection of the new government policies for the Angolan diamond sector,” Dr Ganga Junior, chairman of Endiama, said.

“They also constitute physical and visible evidence of the great potential of the Lulo mine, which due to the quality and characteristics of the diamonds it has produced, boosts our confidence in the future of the national diamond industry,” he added.

Rare pink diamonds command a premium price

The Lulo-mined pink diamond is larger than Australia’s biggest pink diamond found in Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) soon-to-close Argyle mine in the Kimberley region of WA.

Named the Argyle Pink Jubilee, the gemstone had an original weight of 12.76 carats when it was unearthed from Argyle in 2011.

After cutting and polishing, the Argyle Pink Jubilee diamond was trimmed down to 8 carats and was donated to the Melbourne Museum. The gemstone’s value was estimated at $US10m, according to reports at the time.

Pink diamonds are incredibly rare and only 20 weighing more than 10 carats each have been sold by auction house Christie’s in its 250-year history.

Argyle diamond mine is closing after 37 years

Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine is ending production by the end of the year after 37 years of operation.

Argyle mine produced 12.9 million carats of diamonds in the 2019 year, including white, champagne, blue, violet and pink and reds.

Lucapa Dimond Company has achieved sales this year to date of $US28m ($40.1m) from 20,397 carats at $US1,371 per carat.

The niche diamond company has the Lulo mine in Angola, southwest Africa, and the Mothae mine in Lesotho, southern Africa.


ASX share price for Lucapa Diamond Company (ASX:LOM)