Gem Diamonds brought 2018 to a close much in the same way that it opened the miner's banner year - with the unearthing of a 125-carat high quality white, Type IIa diamond - recovered from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho. It was the fifteenth diamond greater than 100 carats the London-based miner recovered in 2018. The recovery, which took place on December 20, following the December 19 announcement of the recovery of high quality 101 carat and 71 carat white Type IIa diamonds, both recovered within a twenty four hour period.
Gem Diamonds started 2018 on a roll that never subsided, announcing on 15 January 2018 the landmark recovery of an exceptional quality 910 carat, D Colour Type IIa diamond - the largest diamond to be mined to date at Letšeng and claimed to be the fifth largest gem quality diamond ever recovered. The exceptional 910 carat D colour Type IIa diamond achieved a price of US$40 million on tender in Antwerp on 12 March, 2018. CEO Clifford Elphick said at the time, "Over 60% of the revenue from this diamond will flow back into the nation of Lesotho." The government of Lesotho earlier this year confirmed their intention to renew the mining lease of the high-value Letšeng mine until 2034.
Also in January, they recovered four diamonds greater than 100 carats, weighing 149, 118, 117 and 111 carats, as well as a high-quality 8.53 carat pink diamond (see our in-depth interview with Gem Diamonds CEO Clifford Elphick and Commercial Director Glenn Turner from January last year). The miner's record year of large-diamond recoveries made Gem Diamonds the best-performing diamond miner for its investors, as its share value increased by 54%.