Lucapa restarts Lulo operations with 50% of workforce

The Lulo alluvial mine in Angola. Image: Lucapa Diamond Company.

Lucapa Diamond Company has recommenced scaled mining operations at the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola, Africa.

The operations had been reduced to essential services throughout April after the Angola Government declared a state of emergency to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

This week a new presidential decree amended some restrictions, allowing essential industries, including mining, to return 50 per cent of their employees to work.

Lucapa plans to resume mining and treatment activities at Lulo on two-shift six-day week basis, continuing under the advised health measures to protect its workers.

This will see operations exceeding 50 per cent of nameplate capacity, positioning Lucapa to ramp up to full capacity again once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted completely.

Lucapa is also working with the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to discuss the potential restart of mining activities at the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, Africa.

“It is pleasing that after four weeks of reduced activities at the Lulo, mine production is recommencing in a scaled manner whilst ensuring the safety of employees and contractors,” Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall said.

“Lucapa and its partners continue to work with leaders in our industry on innovative solutions to ensure our mines receive the best possible value for their special product.”

Despite the Mothae mine being out of action, Lucapa inked a new cutting and polishing agreement with a high-end diamantaire last month, as the company was unable to market Mothae diamonds through its regular tender in Belgium due to coronavirus restrictions.

The company has continued to receive demand for its diamonds, with 3693 carats of diamonds sold to the new partnership for $US2 million ($3.2 million).

Lucapa is confident that mining and processing operations can be restarted quickly once the mine reopens.

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