Lucapa Diamond Co. has updated its estimated volume of carats at the Lulo Diamond Resource in Angola, showing a 25% increase to 100,700 carats despite the depletion of ~19,000 carats from alluvial mining during 2019. The average US$ per carat value for Lulo diamonds modelled in the updated Lulo Diamond Resource has also increase 14% to US$1,620 from the previous modelled estimate of US$1,420 per carat. Overall sales of Lulo diamonds to date total ~US$168 million at an average price per carat of ~US$1,900.
The Lulo Diamond Resource was independently estimated and reconciled on a depletion and addition basis as at 31 December 2019 by external consultants, Z Star Mineral Resource Consultants (Pty) Ltd (“Z Star”) of Cape Town, South Africa. The updated Lulo Diamond Resource was estimated after accounting for: 12 months of mining depletion to 31 December 2019, during which time ~19,000 carats of high-value diamonds were recovered; the delineation of new or additional resources - and improved knowledge of existing resource areas - through an extensive ~6,100 hole auger drilling and pitting program; and diamond sales at prices above the previous resource modelled average value estimate dated 31 December 2018. The new estimate of 100,700 carats equates to more than five times Lulo’s production of ~19,000 carats in 2019, the fifth consecutive year of commercial alluvial production.
“Together with the positive diamond marketing reforms introduced in Angola in 2019, the latest increase in both in-situ resource carats and average modelled price supports the investment made by the Lulo partners to expand diamond production and cash generation from 2020,” said Lucapa Managing Director Stephen Wetherall. “The latest update also represents the highest number of carats ever in a Lulo Diamond Resource – and that is after five years of increasing alluvial mining depletion.”
“We are confident we can continue to build on the alluvial resource given the vast areas along the Cacuilo River valley which remain unexplored, coupled with the fact we are now delineating alluvial diamond zones in both the terraces and the flood plain (leziria) areas,” Mr. Wetherall added. “With that in mind, and with the recent arrival on site of two additional auger rigs, we will see a significant step up in our resource-definition drilling and pitting programs in 2020.”