- Diamonds from Lucapa’s Mothae mine have sold for a total of $5 million in the company’s second tender of 2019.
- This brings the total proceeds generated from the two 2019 tenders of Mothae diamonds to $10.5 million.
- A third tender is being considered for the first half of 2019 following continued strong recoveries at Mothae, including the 126 carat diamond unearthed in May 2019.
- Lucapa will transition mining to the higher-margin zones at Mothae later this year once the main southern pit is dewatered.
Lucapa Diamond Company and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho have revealed the results from the second 2019 tender of diamonds from the new Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho.
A total of 7008 carats of rough diamonds were sold at tender in Antwerp, Belgium for US$3.5 million (A$5 million). The tender included prices of up to US$26,000 per carat paid for individual Mothae gems. The recently-unearthed 126-carat diamond from Mothae was not a part of the tender.
This brings the total proceeds generated from the two 2019 tenders of Mothae diamonds to US$7.3 million (A$10.5 million), which represents an average price of US$588 per carat from the run of mine production and US$729 per carat for diamonds in the +11 sieve size fraction.
Lucapa said the efficiency of the Mothae plant in treating near-surface material has resulted in the recovery of extra diamonds — primary small gems below the 3 millimetre cut-off screen size. These diamonds are in the -11 sieve size fraction and while they generate extra value, they also reduce the overall dollar-per-carat price.
Lucapa is now considering a third tender in the first half of 2019 after continued strong recoveries from Mothae, and the 126-carat gem-quality diamond unearthed earlier this month is being considered for the next tender.
Lucapa Managing Director Stephen Wetherall said the latest tender results continue to help distinguish Mothae as on of the few global mines able to consistently produce high-value diamonds.
“We continue to be encouraged by the regular recovery of Specials and sales results achieved from the supposed lower-margin areas of the Mothae kimberlite pipe,” he said.
“These results add to the excitement as our mining campaign prepares to transition to the higher-margin diamond zones in the main southern pit in H2 once the water is transferred to our main dam to ensure we have appropriate water supplies for our planned increased treatment rates during the dry months,” he
Mothae has a production capacity of 1.1 million tonnes of ore a year and is Lucapa’s second high-value mine after its Lulo project.
Along with operating the high-quality Lulo and Mothae mines, Lupaca has early-stage diamond exploration projects in Western Australia, Botswana and Angola. Preliminary programs in Botswana have already identified kimberlite drilling targets.