Saturday, June 15, 2024

Even in mining, lightning can strike twice but for good reasons

Lucara Diamond Corp has done it again, this time unearthing another giant 327 carat diamond, hardly two weeks after they laid claim to a massive 472 carat light brown diamond. The mining company’s flagship Karowe mine has been a source of large gems that continue to astonish the markets.

Eira Thomas, Lucara’s chief executive, broke the news to the markets via a statement, announcing their delight in recovering a 327 carat, top white gem diamond from its 100 percent owned Karowe Diamond Mine located in Botswana. The prolific south lobe of the mine has so far unearthed eight diamonds greater than 100 carats since the beginning of the year, including the 472 carat diamond announced earlier this month.

“Lucara also wishes to announce its intention to hold an Exceptional Stone Tender in June 2018 that will include for sale the 327 and the 472 carat diamonds, alongside other qualifying diamonds that have been recovered since the start of the year. Viewings will be held in Gaborone, Botswana between June 10 and June 19 with the tender scheduled to close at 4 pm on June 19, 2018,” said Thomas in the statement.

The Karowe mine has proven to be a good bet for Lucara, a Canadian miner, which bought 70 percent of the mine in 2009 from DeBeers for just $49 million. It later acquired 100 percent ownership of the mine when it bought African Diamonds for $70.3 million in stock. Since then, Karowe mine has been a rare source of exceptional diamonds with its consistent recovery of large high value diamonds. Although it produces less than 1 percent of world’s diamonds, the mine is recovering more than 50 percent of the world’s diamonds larger than 100 carats.

The Lucara chief has previously told the media that in 2018, mining at Karowe is focused in the high value south lobe, which consistently delivers large, high quality diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats in size.

If indications are anything to go by, Lucara is in for a bumper year as it has been with the previous years. Lesedi La Rona, Lucara’s biggest diamond discovery in 2016, and also the second biggest diamond to be recovered sold for $53 million last year. Lesedi La rona, the 1,111carat gem quality, Type IIa diamond was expected to set yet another record as the most expensive rough diamond ever sold following Lucara’s sale of an 813-carat rough diamond (named the Constellation), the world’s sixth largest, for $63 million in 2016. The Constellation was extracted alongside another 374 carat gem, a chunk that broke off the Lesedi which sold for $17.5 million.

Elsewhere, another Canadian miner has found its first diamond at the Jwaneng South Project in Botswana, which is located about 100 km south of the Jwaneng diamond mine, the world’s richest. Pangolin Diamonds said in a statement that the white diamond, measuring about 1 mm, was recovered from a soil sample, which leads the exploration and development firm to believe the source is nearby.

In a case of the lightning striking twice in the same place, the exploration was led by Leon Daniels, the same geologist who discovered the kimberlite pipe that produced the giant Lesedi La Rona diamond.

Pangolin has been growing its portfolio as of late. Earlier this month, it bought a 51 percent stake in a former De Beers mine, the so called AK10 diamond asset, located in the Orapa kimberlite field, the same area where Canada’s Lucara Diamond has its Karowe mine, where Lesedi la Rona was found.


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