Lucapa finds enormous diamonds but market’s gone to the dogs
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Global diamond sales may be down, but that hasn’t dampened excitement at ASX-listed Lucapa Diamond Company about two big diamond finds.
Perth-based Lucapa (ASX:LOM), which has a portfolio of high-quality diamond project globally, last week reported big diamond finds at its flagship Lulo project in Angola.
The discoveries included two “Type lla” diamonds, weighing in at a hefty 83 and 68 carats.
Type lla are regarded as the most valued and purest type of diamonds. Carat weight is one of the major factors affecting the price of a diamond, along with cut, clarity and colour.
The diamond market has stalled this year after “a very strong recovery following an inventory build-up in 2014 and 2015”, according to diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky, who publishes the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index.
Diamond jewellery sales have been weak in the US (the world’s biggest market) while demand in China has improved without thriving, Ziminisky said in a report last month.
Sales of rough diamonds were higher, but polished diamond sales were “flat, if not down in some categories, and there are indications that excess polished inventory is building”.
Still, Lucapa will be hoping for high prices next month when it sells the two diamonds and five other 50-carat-plus stones recovered from its Mining Block 8 location at Lulo.
The seven 50 carat-plus stones will be put up for sale by Lulo’s 40 per cent owned subsidiary Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo.
Mining Block 8 has been a prolific producer of large, premium value diamonds for Lucapa.
Last year Lucapa sold Angola’s biggest recorded diamond, a monster 404 carat stone, for a cool $US16 million ($A20.2 million).
In 2016, the Lulo project produced the highest price per carat of any run-of-mine diamond production in the world.
Despite a dampening of the diamond market, Lucapa recently secured a 70 per cent stake in an advanced, high-quality Mothae kimberlite project in Lesotho.
Lesotho is in the heart of the world’s highest-value cluster of kimberlite mines. Lucapa plans to begin production there in 2018.
Lucapa has also identified drilling targets at two earlier-stage diamond projects – Orapa Area F in Botswana’s Orapa diamond field and Brooking in the West Kimberley lamproite province in Western Australia.
Lucapa’s board and management team have diamond industry experience with companies including De Beers, Rio Tinto and Gem Diamonds. The Company was included in the ASX All Ordinaries Index in March 2017.
Lucapa is also planning a dual listing on London’s AIM market.
Diamonds are a naturally-occurring mineral composed of carbon — and the world’s hardest known natural substance. They are the world’s most popular gemstones with quality primarily determined by colour, cut, clarity, and carat weight.
Given their hardness, diamonds are often used as an abrasive tool in a number of industries.
Diamonds are also used across a variety of applications including diamond windows, wear resistant parts, diamond speaker domes and low-friction micro bearings.
Over the past year, shares in Lucapa Diamond Company have traded between 24.5c and 36.5c. The shares closed at 26.5c on Friday, valuing the company at $87.5 million.