Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Sale of Botswana’s biggest diamond likely to be delayed

High quality diamond producer, Lucara Diamonds says it is highly un-likely that it will sell its recently recovered 1,111 carats diamond before the end of this year or by the first quarter of 2016. The sales mechanisms have not yet been drafted, but the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) quoted company is more likely to sell the stone only in the third quarter of 2016 after completion of the valuation exercise.

Lucara Diamonds Chief Operations Officer, Paul Day confirmed to Sunday Standard on Friday that since the company is not in any cash flow crisis, it will not rush to sell the historic gem stone. The stone will be subjected to valuation before the auction, which is expected to be held in Botswana. The 1,111 carat gem is the largest found in more than a century and second in size only to the Cullinan diamond that was recovered in South Africa. It is the biggest diamond to be discovered in the country and the largest find in more than a century. The gem was recovered at the Karowe mine near Letlhakane which was previously owned by diamond mining giants, De Beers.

Speaking from Lucara’s offices located at the Diamond Park, Gaborone, Day said Lucara had already been inundated with inquiries from potential buyers, but said it was too early and impossible to tag a price on the precious stone at this stage. Day further noted that the precious stone was too large to fit inside the company’s own scanner, so it was to be transported to Antwerp for closer inspection.

Sunday Standard is informed that the stone has been relocated from Karowe mine to a more secure place. Lucara is said to have used an x-ray processing facility to reduce damage while recovering the world’s second largest diamond.

“Lucara has put the technology in place to recover this type of stone and those that may follow,” Day said Friday.

When Sunday Standard visited Lucara’s local offices on Friday, the executives which included Sales and Marketing Operations Manager, Steve Lincoln could not estimate the value of the stone but noted that it is likely to attract “special buyers”. In size, the stone ranks behind only the Cullinan, a 3,106-carat behemoth torn from a South African mine in 1905. The Cullinan was subsequently cut and polished into smaller gems that now form part of Britain’s crown jewels. If past prices are any guide, the new stone is worth tens of millions of dollars ÔÇô a major development for a company with a market value of less than U$8 million. Meanwhile two other “exceptional” white diamonds – an 813-carat stone and a 374-carat stone – were also found at the same mine.

“This has been an amazing week for Lucara with the recovery of the second largest and also the sixth largest gem quality diamonds ever mined,” Day noted.

Meanwhile, Lucara’s share price soared by as much as 37 percent in the global markets after the announcement of the discovery. The company is also listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange’s Venture Capital board and was trading at 1375 thebe per share by close of markets on Friday.


Read this week's paper