Lucapa Diamond Company announced a $7 million upgrade and development plan for its Lulo program in Angola.
The commitment includes new Caterpillar earth-moving equipment, vehicles for alluvial diamond mining and kimberlite exploration programs and camp upgrades.
The Lulo mine has produced big rough diamonds such as a 404-carat, type-IIa, D-color stone, the largest in Angolan history. The gem was sold in its rough form for $16 million, or $39,580 per carat.
Lucapa and its partners – Angolan national diamond company Endiama and privately-held Rosas & Petalas – also signed off a new three-year kimberlite exploration program at Lulo. The plan will be submitted to the Angolan Ministry of Geology and Mines this week. Lucapa and its partners will continue to advance the Lulo kimberlite exploration program during the application period as allowed, the miner said.
Separately, Lucapa said it received preliminary approval for its application for expatriate work permits for several senior operational roles at the mine, including specialist drillers for an upcoming kimberlite drilling program. As a result, Lucapa expects the drilling program to start on the high-priority L259 kimberlite target later in the June quarter. The company initially aimed to begin in April.
The developments came as Lucapa announced the creation of Sociedade Mineira do Lulo (SML), a new company which will now hold the Lulo alluvial diamond mining license. Lucapa owns 40 percent of SML, with Endiama holding 32 percent and Rosas the remaining 28 percent.