London listed Gem Diamonds says it has recovered a high quality 115 carat, D colour Type IIa diamond from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho. The announcement follows the recovery of five other diamonds of over 100 carats so far in 2017 from Letšeng, the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.
The Letšeng mine is located in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho and is renowned for its recovery of large, high quality, exceptional Type II diamonds. Since Gem Diamonds acquired the mine in 2006, Letšeng has produced over 60 +100 carat, predominantly high value, white diamonds. Amongst these diamonds recovered are the iconic 603 carat Lesotho Promise, the 550 carat Letšeng Star and the 493 carat Letšeng Legacy.
In Gem Diamond’s operational and sales performance for the Period from 1 January 2017 to 30 June 2017, it said 50 478 carats were recovered at a grade of 1.59 cpht against an expected reserve grade of 1.63 cpht mainly due to the underperformance of the Main pipe contact material and internal changes in the geology of this pipe.
Gem Diamonds’ CEO said the improvement in the greater than 100 carat diamond recoveries at Letšeng is encouraging with the US$ per carat achieved trending positively at US$1 779, up 20% from US$1 480 in H2 2016.
“The market for Letšeng’s high-quality diamonds has remained firm over the Period with the last tender of the Period achieving over US$2 200 per carat. This positive trend has continued with the most recent July tender achieving an average price of US$ 2 3852 per carat,” he said.
“ A Group-wide, externally supported cost efficiency and bench-marking review has commenced and has already identified opportunities that are being actively pursued. Further progress on this review will be reported on during Q4.”