Lucapa Diamond has launched a $3.3 million exploration programme to locate the kimberlite source of the high-value alluvial diamonds at the Lulo project in Angola.
The new kimberlite exploration programme will be completed over the next 12 months.
As in the past, Lucapa will fund the exploration costs from a portion of its returns from Lulo alluvial mining company Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo, which it owns together with Endiama and Rosas & Petalas.
The 12-month programme is based on an extensive technical review of Lulo kimberlite exploration results to date, including those of the extensive 2018 drilling programme, which confirmed a further 70 kimberlites within the Lulo alluvial diamond field.
“The next phase of the kimberlite programme builds on the great body of exploration work completed over many years at Lulo to pin-point the source pipes hosting the world’s best alluvial diamonds,” said Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall.
“Like the diamond experts involved in our recent technical review, we remain convinced that the kimberlite source of these diamonds awaits discovery beneath our prolific alluvial diamond field.”
The key features of the next phase include an extensive stream bulk sampling programme focusing on six major tributaries feeding from high-interest areas into the Cacuilo River upstream of Mining Blocks 8 and 6, where some of the largest and most valuable alluvial diamonds have been recovered at Lulo.
There will be a follow-up delineation drilling of 16 Lulo kimberlite pipes rated most prospective to host diamonds.
This drilling, it said, will help define the structure and surface area of each pipe, including surface volcaniclastic kimberlite material for later bulk sampling.
Lulo is the world’s highest-value alluvial diamond field, producing diamond sales of $146 million to date at an average price per carat of about S$2,000.
The mine has produced 13 +100 carat alluvial diamonds, including Angola’s two biggest recorded diamonds weighing 404 carats and 227 carats.