By Tšepo Thibankhoe

Firestone Diamonds has recovered a 54 carat intense fancy yellow, sawable diamond from its Liqhobong Mine in Butha-Buthe, the company announced on Monday.

The diamond will go on sale at the next tender which is scheduled to take place during September 2019.

“The Liqhobong mine has become known for its fancy yellow stones but this one is the largest we’ve recovered so far and is therefore quite special,” Paul Bosma, Chief Executive Officer commented on the discovery.

Bosma added that: “Although certain segments of the diamond market are currently struggling, the demand for unique natural stones remains positive.”

Liqhobong mine is partly owned by the United Kingdom-based Firestone Diamonds through a 75 percent shareholding. The Lesotho government owns the residual shares.

The mining lease that Firestone Diamonds holds is reportedly valid until June 2021, with options to renew it by two additional periods of 10 years.

The project primarily involves the development of an open-pit mine to a depth of 393m and construction of a main treatment plant.

The mine is considered to be the world’s third biggest underdeveloped kimberlite resource, based on the contained carats.

As of September 2015, it was estimated to contain probable reserves of 36.04 million tonnes of ore.

Lesotho is one of Africa’s significant new diamond producers, hosting Gem Diamonds’ Letšeng Mine, Firestone’s Liqhobong Mine, Namakwa Diamonds’ Kao Mine and Lucapa’s Mothae Mine. NW

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