Lucapa ramps up capacity at Mothae diamond mine

The Mothae diamond mine in Lesotho. Image: Lucapa Diamond Company

Lucapa Diamond Company has commenced commercial diamond recoveries through a newly-developed treatment plant at the Mothae kimberlite diamond mine in Lesotho, Southern Africa.

The commercial recoveries are being processed through a 1.1 million tonne per year plant, which is a key milestone in Lucapa’s development, according to managing director Stephen Wetherall.

It will be progressively ramped up to nameplate capacity once combined with a second plant.

Wetherall said Lucapa was on track to become one of a few listed diamond companies globally with production from more than one operating mine.

Production from its Lulo operation in Angola, as well as Mothae, will enable Lucapa to advance its downstream strategy through partnerships with global diamantaires.

Under the two-phase Mothae development plan, Mothae is scheduled to double its production to 2.2 million tonnes a year in 2021.

The 1.1 million tonne a year plant incorporates advanced diamond recovery technology, including two XRT diamond recovery modules that enable the recovery of large and rare type IIa diamonds ahead of the secondary crushing circuit.

It reduces potential diamond breakage while improving the recovery of large stones without being broken.

Type IIa diamonds are considered by some as the most rare and valuable diamonds.

Production from Mothae is intended to complement the Lulo mine, which hosts the highest dollar per carat alluvial diamond in the world.