By Staff Writers
Lucapa Diamond has discovered a 64 carat stone it is calling the “best quality” diamond mined to date at its Mothae mine – a high-value kimberlite diamond mine located in Mokhotlong.
This is the highest-quality diamond found at the deposit to date, Lucapa said on Tuesday.
The 64 carat type IIa gem received a D-color rating, meaning it is devoid of color and extremely rare.
The diamond was recovered at Mothae’s higher-margin southern pit.
Lucapa began production in that area in the past month, following the construction of a dam enabling it to remove water.
The company said it intended to continue processing from that portion of the site through the end of the year.
“The recovery of this exceptional 64-carat gem…represents a great start to our mining campaign in the higher-margin zones in the southern pit at Mothae,” said Lucapa CEO Stephen Wetherall.
The company began commercial production at Mothae at the start of the year.
In late May, Lucapa recovered a 126 carat diamond from the same mine, which is a joint venture between Lucapa (70 percent) and the Lesotho government (30 percent).
While Mothae has only been in production since January, the asset has already produced 13,267 carats to date — that is 20 percent more than initially forecast.
Of that amount, 229 stones weighed in at 4.8 carats or more.
Since pre-production bulk sampling began at Mothae in 2018, six stones weighing 50 carats or more have been recovered.
Lucapa credits the early success at Mothae to the new 1.1 million tonne per annum plant erected at the site.
The plant has allowed for increased recovery, and the company has also experienced “higher than planned” recovery grades from weathered material.
During the first half of the year, Lucapa brought two parcels of Mothae diamonds to market. During the most recent tender, the miner’s parcel of 7,008 carats of rough diamonds sold for US$3.5 million.
Together, the two tenders netted Lucapa US$7.3 million in total sale proceeds, representing an average price of US$588 per carat for the entire run-of-mine production.
The company plans to bring Mothae gems to three diamond tenders during the second half of 2019. NW