Mothae has proven lucrative for the company since starting commercial production at the beginning of the year.
Africa-focused diamond miner Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM) has discovered a 64 carat stone it is calling the “best quality” diamond mined to date at its Mothae mine in Lesotho.
The 64 carat type IIa gem received a D color rating, meaning it is devoid of color and extremely rare.
In late May, Lucapa recovered a 126 carat diamond from the same mine. That is the largest gem the miner has found at the Lesotho-based project, which is a joint venture between Lucapa (70 percent) and the Lesotho government (30 percent).
Mothae has been lucrative since entering commercial production at the start of the year.
“The recovery of this exceptional 64 carat gem also represents a great start to our mining campaign in the higher margin zones in the southern pit at Mothae,” CEO Stephen Wetherall said in a statement.
The company began dewatering the southern pit at Mothae during Q2 in an effort to access the higher-margin diamond zones where the 64 carat diamond was unearthed.
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.
Lucapa shares remained steady on Tuesday (August 6), trading at AU$0.155.
Image courtesy of Lucapa Diamond.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.