By Peter Kennedy
Lucara Diamond Corp. [LUC-TSX; LUCRF-OTC] said Wednesday September 18 that it has recovered yet another large diamond from its 100%-owned Karowe Mine in Botswana.
This time, the company said it has recovered a 123-carat gem quality top white Type 11 diamond from direct milling ore sourced from the EM/PK(S) geological domain in the South Lobe area of the mine.
The EM/PK(S) has also delivered several other high value diamonds, including the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, the 813-carat Constellation and the 1,758-carat Sewelo, which ranks as the largest diamond ever to be recovered in Botswana. The Sewelo sale was announced in April, 2019.
The EM/PK(S) is an important economic driver for the underground feasibility study which is currently underway and scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2019, Lucara said.
Lucara Diamond shares advanced 1.8% or $0.02 to $1.14 on Wednesday. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $1.04 and $2.39.
Lucara is a diamond producer and explorer focused on developing its portfolio of advanced stage assets in Africa. Its principal asset and current focus is the Karowe Mine, which is a single open pit mine, located on the northern fringe of the Kalahari desert in one of the world’s most prolific diamond producing areas. It came into production in 2012 and produced a total of 366,086 carats in 2018 from 2.6 million tonnes of processed ore. That marked a record throughput for the Karowe plant.
The mine plan is based on probable reserves from surface to a depth of 324 metres below surface of 19.84 million tonnes, containing 2.6 million carats, material that is expected to extend the mine life out to 2026. The company is in the process of completing a feasibility study that could expand mining underground and the lifespan to 2036 and beyond, the company has said.
“Lucara is pleased with the continued strong performance of the mine and the consistent recovery of the mine and consistent recovery of large, high quality diamonds that contribute 70% of Lucara’s total revenues,” said Lucara CEO Eira Thomas.
On August 29, 2019, Lucara closed its third diamond tender sale of the year. Despite challenging market conditions, Thomas said the tender was extremely well attended with a total of 123 companies attending and 47 companies winning one or more tender lots.
In the three completed tenders of the year, a total of 19 diamonds have sold for in excess of US$1 million, including seven that sold for over US$2 million, and one for US$8 million.
Revenue received was in line with expectations and in line with the company meeting the yearly guidance of US$170-US$200 million in revenue.
In January, 2019, the company announce its inaugural diamond sale through the 100%-owned Clara digital sales platform. Clara uses proprietary analytics together with cloud and blockchain technologies to modernize the existing diamond supply chain.
Manufacturers participate in sales on Clara by placing electronic orders specifying the polished diamond parameters they require and the price they are willing to pay. Using proprietary analytics, Clara matches individual, scanned rough diamonds to the buyers’ optimal polished requirements, creating a sale.
As additional manufacturers are on-boarded and in response to increasing variety and size of orders received, the company expects to progress into continuous sales of appropriate, qualifying goods through Clara.
Lucara said it will continue to augment its overall sales strategy for Karowe goods through a combination of Clara and is regular tender process. The aim, it said, is to achieve the highest possible price for all diamonds sold.
The company has previously credited its success in recovering big diamonds to the commissioning of its state-of-the-art XRT diamond recovery circuit in April, 2015.
On Wednesday, Lucara said a 375-carat, gem-quality diamond was also recently recovered from Karowe from the processing of historic DMS recovery tailings, generated prior to the incorporation of the XRT recovery circuits.