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The Mothae kimberlite mine commercial treatment plant. Image: Lucapa Diamond Company.

Lucapa Diamond Company has expanded its plans for the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, southern Africa, following a 280 per cent resource increase.

Its indicated resource soared from 6.8 million tonnes to 9.2 million tonnes, with an estimated 280,000 carats of diamonds waiting to be recovered from the mine.

Lucapa and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho are considering expanding mine operations based on the grown resource and estimated diamond value of $US635 ($889) per carat.

The updated Mothae resource is the result of significant work undertaken to increase the resource and classification at Mothae following almost 16 months of mining and treatment through the new commercial plant, according to Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall.

“The increase in tonnes and carats, the classification of 0.2 million tonnes or 280,000 carats into indicated resource category at an estimated diamond value of $US635 per carat strongly supports an expansion in production at Mothae that the partners are considering,” he said.

In addition to the resource update Lucapa estimated a total JORC classified inferred resource of 39.4 million tonnes containing 960,000 carats of diamonds.

This news came one week after the Mothae mine returned to a 75 per cent capacity operation after being put on care and maintenance due to COVID-19 related lockdowns.

Lucapa also restarted its Lulo alluvial diamond mine in May, which recovered a 100-plus carat white diamond just a week after activities restarted at a 50 per cent capacity.