Lucara Diamond Corp. says it is retaining its tennis-sized diamond it unearthed at Karowe diamond mine in Botswana after it failed to sell at a London auction. The 1,109 carat Type IIa Lesedi La Rona diamond was hoped could be sold for $70 million, but failed to meet the reserve at Sotheby’s. The highest bid according to reports was $61 million, which was $9 million short of the reserve.
“….the Company will be retaining the exceptional 1,109 carat Type IIa Lesedi La Rona diamond as bidding did not meet the reserve price at the auction held this evening at Sotheby’s in London,” Lucara Chief Executive Officer, William Lamb said in a brief statement following the auction.
The stone which originated from the south lobe of Lucara’s Karowe Mine is the world’s second largest gem quality diamond ever recovered and the largest ever to be recovered through a modern processing facility.
The stone, which measures 65mm x 56mm x 40mm in size, was recovered by the newly installed Large Diamond Recovery (“LDR”) XRT machines at the mine.
However, the company said as part of the plan for the auction at Sotheby’s in London, it put 3 small stones up for sale (5.44 carat, 5.62 carats and 5.86 carats) raising approximately US$104, 000. “Lucara will match this amount and the total proceeds will be for charities in Botswana,” the company said.
In May, Lucara sold 812.77 carat stone for $63 million.