Lucapa Diamond Company acquired the Mothae mine in Lesotho for $9 million, saying the resource that was abandoned by Lucara Diamond Corp in 2015 will complement its other operations.
“There’s only one thing better than owning one diamond mine that produces large, high-value diamonds – and that’s owning two,” said Stephen Wetherall, Lucapa’s managing director. “Mothae is a fantastic diamond asset. Similar to Lulo in Angola, the Mothae kimberlite pipe hosts large, premium-value and type-IIa diamonds.”
The deal gives Lucapa a 70 percent stake in the mine, with the Lesotho government owning the rest. The miner received a 10-year mining lease, coupled with a right to extend by another decade.
Lucara offloaded the mine in 2015, saying additional investment in its development would not create enough value for shareholders. Paragon Diamonds had agreed to buy the project, but the deal fell through because of funding issues.
Mothae, located 5 kilometers from Gem Diamonds’ high-value Letšeng mine, holds 1.06 million carats of diamond resources, Lucapa said. Trial mining between 2008 and 2012 during Lucara’s ownership yielded 23,446 carats, including 96 stones weighing more than 10 carats each. Three separate rough-diamond sales fetched up to $41,500 per carat, according to Lucapa.