Lucapa Diamond Company’s output rose in the third quarter, as the miner fully transitioned to the higher-grade portions of it Mothae and Lulo deposits.
The miner recovered 7,007 carats from its Mothae mine in Lesotho during the three months ending September 30, exceeding its plan by 30%, it said last week. Sales of 4,412 carats from the site, which began commercial production in December, totaled $2.1 million, at an average price of $476 per carat.
“The move to the southern pit met with early success, with recoveries including an exceptional 64-carat D-color, type IIa gem — which subsequently became the first commercially produced diamond from Mothae to achieve a sale price in excess of $1 million,” the company noted.
Output at the miner’s Lulo deposit increased 67% to 7,603 carats, as the recovered diamond grade jumped 88% over the same period last year. Sales of rough from the Angolan mine rose 49% to $6.7 million, as the company produced a larger number of higher-quality diamonds. The average price jumped 28% to $1,143 per carat.
“The decline in global rough-diamond demand throughout 2019 brought about by factors including macroeconomic uncertainty, rising inventories and liquidity in the midstream has impacted the revenues of all diamond producers and industry sentiment,” explained Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall. “However, in line with the more recent tender results reported by other producers, we were encouraged to see a distinct uplift in competitive bidding in our most recent Mothae tender, which was reflected in the prices achieved.”
During the July-to-September period, the miner recovered 432 stones weighing more than 4.8 carats and 136 over 10.8 carats. At the end of the period, Lucapa had 6,378 carats in its Mothae inventory and 4,903 carats at Lulo.
In September, Lucapa sold its first rough stone — a 36-carat, D-color diamond — into a new cutting and polishing partnership, it said. The company expects to sell the polished in the fourth quarter, generating extra profits.
Lucapa also owns the Brooking lamproite project in Australia and the Orapa exploration site in Botswana, which it has put on hold to focus on Mothae and Lulo.
Image: A selection of stones from Mothae offered at tender. (Lucapa Diamond Company)