New diamond find for Lucapa validates Lesotho mine expansion
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Gemstone producer Lucapa Diamond Company (ASX:LOM) has recovered a 215-carat diamond from its Mothae kimberlite mine in the southern African country of Lesotho.
The gemstone has set several company records for the Mothae diamond operation including largest Type IIa D-colour white diamond, and second +200 carat diamond and fifth +100 carat diamond, since commercial diamond mining started at the mine in 2019.
“The continued recovery of large diamonds at Mothae validates the recent investment decision to expand capacity at the mine,” said managing director Stephen Wetherall.
Lucapa Diamond Company has produced 23 +100 carat diamonds, including a 113-carat diamond from its Lulo mine in Angola, and four of these are greater than 200 carats.
The ASX company in December sold a 46-carat rare rough pink diamond to the South African Diamond Corporation which cut the gem into three polished diamonds.
Similar cut pink diamonds have achieved sales prices of between $US1m and $US2m per carat, indicating a market value for the largest Lucapa cut 15.2-carat pink diamond of up to $US30.4m ($41m).
The diamond company said it plans to increase the frequency of its recovery of large and valuable diamonds from its Lulo and Mothae mines with additional direct investment.
A new marketing channel for Mothae gems will enable the company and its partner, the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, to benefit from a significant share of gem sale margins beyond the mine gate.
The Lulo alluvial mine and Mothae kimberlite mine both produce large and high value diamonds with about 75 per cent of company revenues generated from +4.8 carat gemstones.
The 1.1 million tonnes per year Mothae kimberlite mine produced around 30,000 carats in its first year of production in 2019 and five +100 carat diamonds to date.
Lucapa Diamond Company has secured funding for a 45 per cent expansion in Mothae mine’s processing capacity to 1.6 million tonnes per year that is due for completion by March.