Lucapa Diamond Company says its Mothae project is expected to see first commercial diamond recoveries by early November.
The mine, which is a joint venture between Lucapa (70 percent) and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho (30 percent), is expected to see first commercial diamond recoveries by early November. The recoveries will follow alongside production at Lucapa’s flagship Lulo alluvial diamond mine in Angola.
Production from Mothae’s treatment plant, set to incorporate two X-ray transmission diamond recovery circuits, will be ramped up to nameplate capacity during the December quarter.
Once production begins, bulk sampling operations will wrap up at Mothae, with staff shifting their focus to the commercial diamond plant.
Over 4,100 carats of diamonds have been recovered from bulk sampling within the Mothae kimberlite pipe, including specials (large diamonds over 10.8 carats) of up to 89 carats.
Lucapa says that 2,500 of Mothae’s bulk-sample diamonds were exported to Antwerp in September; going forward, the company plans to export the rest of the bulk-sample diamonds to Antwerp before the first scheduled sale in Q4.
According to Lucapa, approximately 23,400 carats of diamonds were recovered during the trial mining phase at Mothae, including specials of up to 254 carats and 96 stones weighing more than 10 carats individually. Some of the trial-mining diamonds sold for up to US$57,000 per carat.
Shortly following the commissioning news, Lucapa received an approved term sheet from the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) for a US$7-million development facility for Mothae. Lesotho Minister of Mining Keketso Sello expressed his positivity about the IDC’s support in a statement.
“The IDC’s support for the new Mothae mine, coupled with the significant investment being made by our partner Lucapa, underlines Lesotho’s reputation as having the world’s highest average $ per carat diamond production,” Sello said.
“We look forward to the new Mothae mine coming into production very soon as the next step in the continued growth of Lesotho’s diamond mining industry,” he added.
Lucapa’s share price was flat at AU$0.23 as of 11:50 a.m. PST on Thursday (October 25).
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.