ASX-listed Lucapa Diamond Company held the second tender in 2019 of diamonds from the new Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, selling a parcel of 7,008 carats of rough diamonds sold at Bonas tender house in Antwerp for a total of US$3.5 million (A$5 million). The tender included prices of up to US$26,000 per carat paid for individual Mothae gems.
Lucapa MD, Stephen Wetherall, says the latest tender results continued to underline Mothae’s status as one of a select few global mines capable of producing high-value diamonds on a consistent basis. “We continue to be encouraged by the regular recovery of Specials [+10.8 ct] and sales results achieved from the supposed lower-margin areas of the Mothae kimberlite pipe,” says Wetherall. “These results add to the excitement as our mining campaign prepares to transition to the higher margin diamond zones in the main southern pit in H2 once the water is transferred to our main dam to ensure we have appropriate water supplies for our planned increased treatment rates during the dry months.”
The latest result brings to US$7.3 million the total sale proceeds generated from the two tenders of Mothae diamonds completed in Antwerp this year. This represents an average overall price of US$588 per carat for the run of mine production and US$729 per carat for diamonds in the +11 sieve size fraction. Lucapa is considering a third tender in H1, 2019 following the continued strong recoveries from the new 1.1 Mtpa kimberlite plant, including the 126 carat gem-quality diamond recovered earlier this month and other Type IIa Specials. As set out in the ASX announcement of 27 May 2019, mining has been restricted predominantly to the lower-margin diamond zones since commercial production commenced at Mothae in January. This due to the decision to delay the scheduled dewatering of the main southern pit to preserve water required to enable the plant to operate at higher throughput rates in H2 2019. The water in the southern pit will be transferred to the main 500,000 m3 water dam in H2, 2019 when the dam wall is completed. This will in turn enable Mothae to access the higher-margin diamond zones in the southern pit.