Lucapa Diamond Company’s first sale from its new Mothae kimberlite plant in Lesotho, southern Africa has returned $5.3 million at a tender in Antwerp, Belgium.
The parcel of 5411 carats of rough diamonds were recovered during the ramp-up of the 1.1 million tonne per annum plant in the fourth quarter of 2018 and in the first month of commercial mining operations at Mothae in January.
The sale represented an average price per carat of $987 for the total run of mine. The highest price achieved for an individual Mothae diamond was $US36,664 ($51,354) per carat.
As previously reported by Lucapa, the efficiency of the new Mothae plant in treating the near-surface weathered material has resulted in the liberation of additional diamonds, primarily small stones below the plant’s three-millimetre bottom cut-off screen size.
The Mothae operation is a joint venture between Lucapa and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall said the JV partners were pleased with the results of the first sale of Mothae diamonds produced from the new plant.
“The solid bidding we witnessed in Antwerp for this first commercial parcel has certainly marked Mothae’s arrival on the international scene as a producer of top-quality goods, complementing those from our Lulo mine,” Wetherall said.
“The strong sales prices achieved for our quality run of mine production, in the absence of a single stand-out stone, represent a great start for Mothae which augurs well for its future as a producer of exceptional diamonds and its contribution to the Basotho nation.”
Lucapa plans to update guidance for the Mothae mine in respect to volume, grade and price in the second quarter of this year after the first quarter of commercial mining operations.