MASERU – Lucapa Diamond Company has announced the recovery of the first large, gem quality 126-carat diamond from the new Mothae mine in Lesotho.
The mine revealed that the 126-carat stone is the largest diamond recovered since commercial mining operations commenced in January this year and the largest gem quality diamond ever recovered from the mine.
It is the sixth 50+ carat diamond recovered since Lucapa commenced with its pre-production bulk sampling programme at Mothae in 2018.
The mine, however, noted that the value of the 126-carat stone will be communicated at a later stage after going through the boiling stage to improve its worth in the diamond market.
Lucapa Managing Director, Stephen Wetherall, said the new recovery serves as a proof of the largest stone and high value nature of Mothae Kimberlite resource.
“We are delighted to have recovered our first 100 plus carat stone so early in our commercial mining campaign at Mothae along with other rare type and fancy coloured gems and so we look forward to unlocking the true value of this mine over the next decade and beyond,” Wetherall said following the recovery.
Lucapa, the Australian company, was awarded the mining rights in April 2017 to develop the mine which has been idle since 2015. The company has completed the trial period and is now at the commercial stage. In this venture the company holds 70 percent shares, while the Government of Lesotho holds the other 30 percent.
On his part, minister of mining Keketso Sello said the recovery represents another milestone for Lesotho’s highly propitious diamond sector.
“Lesotho is very proud of its international reputation as a producer of large and high-quality diamonds. This latest recovery from our newest mine continues to demonstrate our nation’s great potential,” Sello highlighted.
Mothae mine was acquired by Lucapa Diamonds in 2017 at the cost of US$9 million (about M100 million). In order to commence their full-scale operations, the company has invested more than US$20 million for the construction of Phase One of the commercial and the bulk sampling operations.
Mothae is located in the diamond-rich Maluti Mountains within 5km of Letseng, the world’s highest US$ per carat kimberlite diamond mine.