By Staff Writers

Lucapa Diamond Company has posted a US$1.1 million (over M16 million) net profit after tax for the first six months of the year.

The result compared with a $4.3 million loss for the first half of 2018 and came despite a challenging period for the diamond sector, Lucapa said on Tuesday.

It said diamond sales for the half were $29.4 million, including $22.1 million from the Lulo mine in Angola.

Lucapa owns 70 percent of the high-value Mothae kimberlite mine in partnership with the government which owns 30 percent.

It completed construction and commissioning of a new 1.1 metric tonnes per annum (Mtpa) Mothae diamond plant in 2018, enabling production to commence in January 2019.

Lucapa said it was poised for a stronger December half as mining at Mothae transitioned to higher margin diamond zones and Lulo expanded.

The company reported record months in August for both operations.

Mothae produced two records during August. Diamond carat production was 36 percent ahead of plan, while operating costs were 14 percent below forecasts.

“A monthly processing record of 120,736 tonnes treated was achieved, recovering a record 2911 carats, taking year to date carat production to 17,935 carats,” Lucapa said on Tuesday.

In August, The Night’s Watch reported that the parcel of 4,376 carats of Mothae diamonds sold for gross proceeds of US$1.8 million (M27.3 million).

This represented an average price per carat of US$400 (M6,000) for the run of mine production.

Lucapa said the sale result was impacted by the decision to withhold from sale the highest-valued Mothae diamond in the tender – a 36 carat D-colour stone.

It said this diamond is also being considered for cutting and polishing to capture margins from beyond the mine gate.

Mothae Mine is located in Lesotho’s diamond-rich Maluti Mountains within 5km of Letšeng Diamond Mine, the world’s highest US$ per carat kimberlite diamond mine. NW

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