Lucapa Diamond has begun commissioning the 1.1Mtpa treatment plant at its 70 percent-owned Mothae kimberlite diamond mine in Lesotho despite winter snowfalls in the Maloti Mountains.
It said first commercial diamond recoveries from the mine were expected early next month, complementing production from the Lulo alluvial diamond mine in Angola.
“Production from the 1.1Mtpa Mothae treatment plant, which incorporates two XRT diamond recovery circuits, will be ramped up to its nameplate capacity throughout the December quarter,” said Lucapa.
More than 4,100 carats of diamonds had been recovered from the bulk sampling of areas within the Mothae kimberlite pipe which had not previously been or had been inadequately tested during the previous trial mining phase.
The first parcel of about 2,500 of the Mothae bulk sampling diamonds were exported to Antwerp last September.
Lucapa was planning to export the remainder of the bulk sampling diamonds to Antwerp, ahead of the first scheduled sale in the fourth quarter.
About 23,400 carats of diamonds were recovered during the trial mining phase, including Specials of up to 254 carats and 96 individual stones weighing more than 10 carats.