The Angolan government says miner Lucapa can now sell its large premium-value diamonds on the international market.

Up until now Angola’s 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 last year the country is seeking more foreign investment in its natural resources, including diamonds.

Angolan President Joao Lourenco has now implemented a new diamond marketing policy.

Lucapa shares gained over 4 per cent to trade at 25c on Friday morning.

Lucapa (ASX:LOM) shares over the past year.
Lucapa (ASX:LOM) shares over the past year.

In May, Lucapa plucked the biggest-ever gem-quality coloured diamond from its Lulo project in the central-west African country.

The 46-carat pink diamond (pictured above) eclipsed the 43-carat yellow gem recovered from the Angolan project in January this year and the 39-carat pink diamond found in September 2016.

But Lucapa has been holding onto the precious package in the hopes that it would be eventually allowed to sell it on the international market.

The pink diamond and other large and premium-value diamonds were excluded from recent sales of Lulo diamonds.

The most recent parcel of 2531 carats sold for $US2.5 million ($3.5 million), representing an average price per carat of $US985.

“The fact of the matter is that any diamond that is not sold in international commercial tender in Antwerp you’re not achieving the best price,” Lucapa’s head of investor relations Mark Drummond told Stockhead earlier this year.

“We’re actually achieving the best prices in the world for an alluvial diamond mine, so it’s not a bad start, but could you get more for your diamonds at international tender – the answer would be yes.”

At the time Lucapa would not reveal its plans for its “special” diamonds, but now the company has told investors it can start the sales process with assurance from the Angolan government.

“The discussions with our Angolan partners regarding the policy changes taking place in the Angolan diamond sector have reached a stage where we are now able to plan for the sale of these large premium-value Lulo diamonds held over from previous sales,” managing director Stephen Wetherall said.

“We look forward to marketing these exceptional diamonds as soon as the necessary arrangements are put in place.”

The diamonds that will be sold include six top-colour “Type IIa” Lulo white diamonds weighing between 43 and 114 carats, along with the 46-carat pink.

Lucapa Diamond Company, Lulo diamonds
Other diamonds from Lulo that will be sold at international tender.

Lucapa has also sent a parcel of 2500 carats of diamonds recovered from its Mothae mine in the Kingdom of Lesotho to Antwerp for cleaning and valuation.

The parcel includes yellow diamonds weighing 89 carats and 25 carats, other “special” diamonds of up to 28 carats as well as small light pink diamonds.

Lucapa Diamond Company, Mothae diamonds
Large Mothae “specials” in the first export parcel.