4,676 carats of rough diamonds from Lucapa’s Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho have been sold in Antwerp for approximately $5.6 million.
Record setting purchase
Commanding a record price of $1,198 per carat, the parcel contained a number of valuable “specials” (rough diamonds of 10.8 carats or higher), including the 101 carat D colored crystal unearthed at the end of 2020. Some of those larger stones are predicted to be cut and polished right there in Antwerp, “the world capital of diamonds.”
This first sale of 2021 proceeded in accordance with marketing agreements made between Lucapa and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Those agreements circumvented the difficulties of staging a rough tender during the pandemic. The rough was sold directly to diamantaires in Antwerp, earning higher overall prices, with the promise of additional profit coming to Mothae following cutting and sale of the polished diamonds.
A tale of recovery
Mothae’s operations had been halted in March, 2020, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Production resumed in October, with safety measures in place. According to Lucapa’s Managing Director, Stephen Wetherall:
Following a tough 2020, where both of our mines were impacted by the pandemic, our valued teams have shown their resilience and operations have bounced back strongly. The good recoveries at both mines and growing demand leading to strengthening diamond prices has seen a strong start to 2021. We look forward to Mothae receiving further value following implementation of the cutting & polishing partnership and to completing the expansion at Mothae this quarter.
The expansion will add another secondary crusher with the goal of increasing Mothae’s processing plant to 1.8 million tons annually. This represents a potential increase in output of more than 50% per year.
Australia based Lucapa is a niche diamond producer with high-value mines in Angola and Lesotho. The Lulo alluvial mine in Angola and Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho both produce large and high-value diamonds, with more than 75% of revenue generated from the recovery of crystals weighing 4.8 carats or more.
Last year the GemBlog shared images and video of three Fancy Colored diamonds polished from a remarkable 46.7 carat pink rough diamond recovered at Lucapa’s mine in Angola. You can see them here: Lulo Pink cut into 15.2 carat Heart Shape