Letšeng recovers 113.31 carat Type II White Diamond



MASERU- Letšeng Diamonds (PTY) Ltd has recovered a second high-quality diamond in a space of five weeks. The company announced in a statement this week that it had unearthed a high quality 113.31 carat Type II white diamond on February 17, 2024. This follows the recovery of a high-quality 294.94 carats Type II white diamond on January 9, 2024.

In November 2023 Gem Diamonds discovered a 117.47-carat rough diamond at the Letšeng Mine, further solidifying the mine’s reputation for producing top-quality gemstones.  This remarkable find adds to the four instances last year where Gem Diamonds has unearthed rough diamonds surpassing 100 carats.Gem Diamonds announced the discovery of a gem-quality, type II diamond on October 29. This follows the recent findings of a 101.96-carat high-quality rough diamond on September 28, a 163.91-carat yellow diamond on June 22, and a 122-carat stone on March 5.

Letšeng Mine has long been recognized for producing high-quality rough diamonds, frequently exceeding 100 carats. However, recent years have seen a decline in such discoveries. Nevertheless, this latest recovery has matched the previous year’s total, during which the company also retrieved four diamonds in this category. This compares to six such diamonds in 2021 and 16 in 2020.

According to Diamond World, the decreasing number of special-size stones has impacted the company’s revenue, resulting in a 28% year-on-year sales decline to $71.8 million in the first half of 2023. Gem Diamonds incurred a loss of $1 million (about M18 million), in contrast to a profit of $3.8 million during the same period in 2022.

The Letšeng Mine is one of the four large-scale commercial diamond mines in Lesotho, along with Kao Mine, Mothae Mine, and Liqhobong Mine. According to a report by SMD KAO Mine, the four operating mines injected M5.1 billion to Lesotho’s economy in 2022, in the form of procurement, employees’ earnings, taxes, and levies.

The report highlights that 81% of the total expenditure was from local sources, while the remaining 19% came from foreign sources. Additionally, M2.9 billion was directly spent on local procurement. The diamond mining industry plays a crucial role in Lesotho’s economic linkages, contributing significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and overall growth.

In 2011, the report states that diamonds constituted 31% of Lesotho’s total exports. Letšeng Mine employs 1,500 people and generates 70% of Lesotho’s corporate tax revenue and 60% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The industry’s contribution to GDP grew by 30.8% from M3.9 billion in 2021 to M5.1 billion in 2022.

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