Lucapa Diamond Company aims to pinpoint a huge source of rough diamonds at its Lulo mine in Angola within the next two years, it said Monday.
The Australia-based miner has found high-quality stones at its alluvial deposit, including the 404.20-carat 4 de Fevereiro, the largest in Angolan history. The company believes these stones originated from a deep diamond source located within the Lulo site, Lucapa chairman Miles Kennedy noted at the company’s 2019 annual general meeting.
“To me, the main game in Angola for many years has been to find the kimberlite diamond pipe or pipes which, about 100 million years ago, erupted within our Lulo concession, and in doing so, shed the world’s most valuable alluvial diamonds down into the terraces we mine today,” Kennedy said. “And while kimberlite exploration can by nature be painstakingly slow, I am equally of the view that we are closer than ever to finding the mother lode at Lulo.”
Lucapa has extended its exploration license for the deposit until 2023. It is also working on the development of new technologies that have the potential to detect diamond indicators much earlier than conventional mineral analysis, Kennedy explained. This, together with an independent study the miner recently performed that targeted likely exploration areas, provides a good possibility of finding the sought-after source on the site within the next couple of years.
“There are no silver bullets in the kimberlite exploration game either,” Kennedy added. “But the patient and methodical approach adopted by our exploration team is narrowing down and confining the search areas of our quest. It may take us another couple of years, but I am more confident than ever that we can indeed find the diamond source at Lulo. And…that has the potential to be a discovery of huge wealth.”
In the second half of the year, Lucapa will shift focus to a higher-margin, underwater area of its alluvial deposit, located in the southern pit of the mine. It will also begin cutting and polishing special rough stones that it would normally sell at tender. The company will also grow its mining fleet and add a third operating shift to the plant at Lulo, which will begin operating 24/7. The project, which will increase plant throughput by nearly 50%, will cost the company $12 million.
Image: The 404.20-carat 4 de Fevereiro, the largest stone recovered from Lulo. (De Grisogono)