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Select D colour special diamonds – (L-R) 14 carat, 19 carat, 101 carat and 28 carat diamonds. Image: Lucapa Diamond Company

Lucapa Diamond Company has reaped $US5.6 million ($7.2 million) from this year’s first sale of diamonds from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, Africa.

The parcel comprises 4676 carats of rough diamonds that were valued at nearly $US1200 ($1548) per carat – the highest average $US per carat price achieved by Mothae on the sale of any run of mine production parcel.

The sale included diamonds that weighed more than 10.8 carats, including a 101 carat D colour diamond that was recovered after the Mothae mine reopened in the last quarter of 2020.

This is the most valuable diamond recovered at Mothae to date.

Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall said following a tough 2020, where both of the company’s mines were impacted by the pandemic, its teams had shown their resilience and operations had bounced back strongly.

“The good recoveries at both mines and growing demand leading to strengthening diamond prices has seen a strong start to 2021,” he said.

“We look forward to Mothae receiving further value following implementation of the cutting and polishing partnership and to completing the expansion at Mothae this quarter.”

Lucapa and the Lesotho Government are targeting a mine expansion that would boost Mothae’s production by around 45 per cent, increasing its processing capacity from 1.1 million tonnes a year to 1.6 million tonnes a year.

The company also updated Mothae’s inferred resource in October to 39.4 million tonnes. This contains around 960,000 carats of diamonds at a grade of 2.44 carats per hundred tons and an average of estimated diamond value of $US601 per carat.