Mining company Lucapa Diamonds and its partners on the Lulo project in Angola have announced that their diamonds will feature in an historic inaugural international tender in the country. The tender is part of the new Angolan diamond marketing laws recently been approved by President Joao Lourenco and the Council of Ministers. According to Lucapa, the policy shifts in Angola allow management to plan for the sale of such high-value stones, something the company was not able to do before because previous rules forced producers to sell their gems to middlemen below international prices.
Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo (“SML”) will showcase and sell seven large and exceptional Lulo diamonds it has in inventory through an exceptional stone tender to be held in the offices of Sodiam (Angolan state diamond marketing company) in Luanda in January 2019. The tender will mark a significant milestone for the Angolan diamond mining industry, being the first Lulo diamonds offered for sale at international tender under the new diamond marketing policy. The Lulo partners, in conjunction with Sodiam, will invite major international diamantaires and large stone manufacturers to participate in this inaugural tender. The new diamond marketing policy is among the measures Angolan President Joao Lourenco has introduced with the express aim of increasing foreign direct investment into Angola’s diamond sector.
The seven Lulo diamonds to be offered at tender include Type IIa D-color white gems of up to 114 carats and a 46 carat pink. These diamonds were held in inventory by SML in anticipation of the new marketing policy being introduced. The Lulo partners had originally expected the diamonds would be sold in the December 2018 Quarter, but they decided additional buying interest would be generated from holding the inaugural international tender in January 2019, when diamond pricing is traditionally stronger. Lucapa Managing Director Stephen Wetherall said he was delighted that the Lulo tender would be the first conducted under Angola’s new marketing policy. “Lucapa and its partners are extremely excited and proud that diamonds from our Lulo mine have been selected to start a new chapter in Angola’s diamond mining history.”
Also last week, the miner announced that the first diamonds have been recovered through its new commercial treatment plant at the high-quality Mothae mine in Lesotho, as the ramp-up to 1.1 Mtpa nameplate capacity has commenced. Weatherall said, “Lucapa is on track to become one of a few listed diamond companies globally with production from more than one operating mine. The high-quality nature of this production from Lulo and Mothae will also enable the group to further its value-enhancing downstream strategy through partnerships with global diamantaires, where discussions are well advanced.” The new Mothae plant incorporates advanced diamond recovery technology, including two XRT diamond recovery modules designed to recover large and rare Type IIa diamonds ahead of the secondary crushing circuit, thus reducing potential diamond breakage and improving the recovery of unbroken large stones. The plant will be progressively nameplate capacity following the implementation of a second plant operating shift.
Lucapa also announced the recovery of a 78-carat white diamond, the largest Special recovered through the new Mothae treatment plant following the commissioning and recovery of commercial diamonds. Lucapa Managing Director Stephen Wetherall said, “We are extremely delighted to have started our commercial diamond recoveries at Mothae on such a successful and positive note with the recovery of this 78 carat white diamond. Recovering such a diamond this early confirms our confidence in Mothae as a large diamond source.”