Diamonds, Diamonds, Diamonds – Angola and Lesotho extract record-breaking diamonds

by Ina King (Potgieter)

additional funding makabingui gold project senegal During November 2017 it was announced that two high-value carat diamonds were discovered in African mines. One in Angola from the country's Lulo Diamond Mine, owned by Australian-listed Lucapa Diamond Company in partnership with Empresa Nacional de Diamantes and Rosas & Petals; and the other from Lesotho's Letšeng Mine, which is owned by London-listed Gem Diamonds.

A 129.58-carat diamond was recovered from alluvial mining block six in Lulo Mine, with another high-value diamond weighing 78.61 carats. Each of them is confirmed as Type IIa D-colour gems – which are either almost or entirely devoid of impurities. Roundabout the same time, but 2 300 km away in the landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho (surrounded by South Africa), a 202-carat Type IIa D-colour diamond was mined, discovered subsequent to the miner's move to the higher-grade K6 section of the main pipe.

Progress on these developments, as well as key contact details, are regularly updated on the Africa Mining IQ intelligence portal. Companies subscribing to Africa Mining IQ's e-mail alerts will be among the first to know about new developments, completed expansions and definitive production.

Substantial increase in diamond discovery

Lucapa Diamonds says this discovery is the eighth diamond weighing more than 100 carats that it has discovered this year (2017), and the seventh in just two-and-a-half years of commercial mining. Hot on Lucapa's heels, the rough diamond mined at Letšeng mine is the seventh diamond exceeding 100 carats discovered at the mine this year, a vast improvement on the five, three-figure carat diamonds found in 2016.

In fact, in April this year a 114-carat diamond was unearthed at Letšeng, as was an 80-carat Type IIa D-colour diamond in May. One month later in June the company mined a 151.52-carat Type I yellow rock and another high quality 104.73-carat Type IIa D-colour stone. July saw the discovery of a 126-carat Type IIa D-colour diamond and September another 115-carat rock was discovered. For Lulo Mine, on the other hand, the discoveries may not have been as quantitative, but qualitatively the project has bored massive gems, including a 404.2-carat white rock found earlier in this year.

Gem Diamonds, since its acquisition of Letšeng Mine in 2006, found four of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered. This makes the mine the world's highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

All investment opportunities for this mining project, and many others, are available on Africa Mining IQ. Africa Mining IQ organises projects in terms grassroots, pre-feasibility, feasibility, bankable, active and operational phases.

High value and large operations

Global Investment Bank RBC Capital Markets, in a note to investors, had said the 202-carat stone from Letšeng is valued between $8-million and $10-million and "expects this to lift the average realised price of Letšeng''s diamonds into year-end".

With over 1 800 projects in Africa currently listed on its online database, Africa Mining IQ database covers extensive listings on the continent's prominent minerals. A subscription to Africa Mining IQ provides members with the ability to track, target and record these mining projects with accurate, holistic information that is updated daily and accessible 24/7, 365 days a year.

Letšeng is one of the world's highest diamond mines at an average elevation of 3 100 m, and the Lulu diamond project is the world's fourth largest mining operation. Angola is ranked fourth in the world in terms of producing diamonds by value, and sixth in the world by volume.

Mining projects in Angola that are listed on Mining IQ's database currently profiles 19 projects. Minerals mined in these projects include 1 copper, 15 diamond, 2 iron ore and 1 phosphate.

In 2016 the Angolan government reduced taxes and state ownership requirements to rekindle the industry subsequent the global financial crises which forced some mines to close.

Mining projects in Lesotho that are listed on Mining IQ's database currently profiles 8 projects, all of which are diamond mining projects.

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