CEO Clifford Elphick said that “[s]ince Gem Diamonds acquired Letšeng in 2006, the mine has produced some of the world’s most remarkable diamonds, including the 603 carat Lesotho Promise, however, this exceptional top quality diamond is the largest to be mined to date and highlights the unsurpassed quality of the Letšeng mine.”
He added, “[t]his is a landmark recovery for all of Gem Diamonds’ stakeholders, including our employees, shareholders and the Government of Lesotho, our partner in the Letšeng mine.”
The diamond is believed to be the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered in the world. The gem takes its place behind other large discoveries, such as the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, found in 1905 in South Africa, and the 1,111-carat diamond uncovered in Botswana in 2011 by Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC). They are the largest and second-largest diamonds ever unearthed, respectively.
While the newest diamond is Gem Diamonds’ biggest success so far, it has had several other noteworthy finds since buying the Letšeng mine. In August 2006, the company recovered the 603-carat Lesotho Promise, which is currently ranked as one of the world’s largest white diamonds. In the years that followed, multiple other large diamonds were recovered, including the 493-carat Letšeng Legacy (2007), the 478-carat Light of Letšeng (2008) and the 550 Letšeng Star, which was recovered in 2011 and is Gem Diamonds’ third-largest diamond to date.
Letšeng is located in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho, and is renowned for its exceptional large, high-quality, Type II diamonds. Since Gem Diamonds acquired the mine, it has produced over 60 +100-carat, predominantly high-value white diamonds. Letšeng currently holds the record as the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world, and large, high-value diamonds account for 70 to 80 percent of the company’s revenue annually.
As of 3:00 p.m. PST on Monday (January 15), Gem Diamonds’ share price was up 15.63 percent, sitting at GBX 93.20. It share price has risen 31.27 percent year-to-date.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Nicole Rashotte, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.