Lesotho Times

Another massive diamond find at Letšeng

Herbert Moyo

LETŠENG Diamonds continued with its impressive performance of recovering high quality diamonds, with the latest find being a 115 carat top white colour Type IIa diamond from its mine in Mokhotlong.

Gem Diamonds, which owns 70 percent of Letšeng Diamonds with the remainder held by the government, released a statement on Tuesday announcing the latest find.

“Gem Diamonds Limited is pleased to announce the recovery of a 115 carat, top white colour Type IIa diamond from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world,” the company said this week.

“This is the ninth diamond of over 100 carats recovered in 2018, already exceeding the total number of diamonds of over 100 carats recovered in 2017.”

The finds are the latest in the long line of impressive performances by the Letšeng Mine which also saw the recovery of a 910 carat diamond in in January this year.

The 910 carat diamond, which was christened the ‘Lesotho Legend,’ was sold for a staggering US$40 million (M520 million) at an auction in Antwerp in Belgium in March this year.

Letseng has also recovered a high-value 117 carat diamond and a 110 carat Type IIa diamond this year.

The robust trend continues from that of last year when a 115-carat diamond was recovered in September.

In June 2017, the mine recovered two large diamonds one a high-quality 104.73 carat, D-colour Type IIa diamond and the other a 151.52 carat Type I yellow diamond.

Before that in May 2017, the mine recovered a high-quality 80 carat, D colour Type II diamond, while in April it recovered a 114 carat, D colour Type II diamond of exceptional quality.

Meanwhile, Lucapa Diamond Company Limited on Tuesday reported diamond recoveries from its bulk sampling programme at its Mothae Mine also in Mokhotlong.

The largest of these was a 25 carat diamond. Mothae is still in the trial mining stage ahead of the commencement of full scale mining operations later this year.

In a statement to the Lesotho Times, Lucapa Diamonds Managing Director, Stephen Wetherall, said the diamonds were recovered from the bulking sampling plant which has been refurbished as the company intensifies its preparations for full scale mining which is set to commence in the second half of the year.

“Lucapa Diamond Company and the government are pleased to report the recent recovery of a 25 carat yellow gem diamond from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho,” Mr Wetherall wrote.

“The gem-quality diamond was recovered from the Neck Zone of the Mothae kimberlite and other (in excess of) 5 carat diamond recoveries from the first two days of trial processing of material from the Neck Zone include a 6 carat diamond.

“The 25 carat yellow gem diamond was recovered within the first two days of trial processing through the bulk sampling plant after recent efficiency and security modifications.

“Following sign off of the modifications, Mothae will commence processing three 50 000 tonne bulk samples of kimberlite material from the Neck, North and South East Zones, with the aim of adding to the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) resource and the mine life,” Mr Wetherall further said.

The 25 carat diamond is the largest that Mothae has recovered since the company’s “test run” in February this year which yielded a number of gems of which the largest was 6.6 carats.

In his previous communication with this publication, Mr Wetherall said the bulk sampling programme was “designed to provide additional resource and diamond data to expand the life of the mine while also generating early cash flows before full scale mining begins”.

He further stated that “the construction of the new 150 tonne per hour (90 000 tonnes per month) diamond treatment plant, including an X-Ray transmission diamond recovery technology (XRT) continues and remains on schedule for full commissioning and commercial production in the second half of 2018”.

Lucapa has a US$17 million budget for Phase 1 of full scale mining which will run from 2018 to 2021.

The company also secured an additional US$15 million (M195 million) financing loan to develop Phase 1 operations which are expected to generate gross revenue earnings of US$79, 6 million while Phase 2 which will run from 2022 to 2031 will generate gross revenue earnings of US$697 million.

Lucapa is expected to incur royalties and marketing costs of US$5, 6 million for Phase 1 and US$48, 8 million for Phase 2.

Operating costs for Phase 1 have been pegged at US$34, 1 million while those for Phase 2 have been pegged at US$307, 8 million.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls Telephone: +266 2231 5356

1 comment

  • Okay, and then what, huh? I mean, who gives a flying fuck what they find, lesotho only owns 30%, I’m pretty sure, pass rate is 50% which makes lesotho a bloody fail in my books. Reporting on this is a laugh a bloody minute, really are they proud, giving it up for nothing acting like oprah when I’m sure the average miner gets an appalling salary.

    No wonder china is flocking to lesotho, no offence china, but damn, who would pass up an opportunity to exploit such cheap labour. Lesotho has the most appalling labour practices I’ve ever known, interns work for nothing, and trust me that’s not a figure of speech, they work for no wages for years with the promise of fucking work experience, and exposure, I swear to god if I hear exposure Ima rip someone’s head off.

    When do they pay manpower back huh? When? When do they leave they leave thier parents homes? Hmm? When do they begin families, and become productive society members when they don’t have two cents to rub together? Do we not understand that humans are like cockroaches, if it’s nit warm enough, not dark enough no food around we cannot breed. But don’t worry sugar daddies are on the fucking prowl with your tax money. Forget the road they were supposed to lay when they won the tender, they are just out here looking to fuck your daughters and sons. Don’t you blame the sons and daughters, they are in those positions cos they need groceries too, they would not be selling booty if they were paid enough, or anything at all for some.

    When do Basotho realize that lesotho is lesotho because of the people and not the hills, the fucking mountains and the bloody sky huh? This country experienced the worst brain drain because of the toxic work environment, the exploitation and the worst hiring practices known to man, god we should all be ashamed of the uncles who hired Smang mang cos she is fam. No experiance required.

    When our leader got harrased by South African police I wondered, is he that out of touch, has he seen how his people flock in thousands trying to flee this country for old men, How they flee police dogs, crawl under barbed wires, walk god knows how long to get to the nearest town so they can catch a hike to flee his country because the pensioners make policies based on getting the most for thier eventual pension. Outraged? How dare they? no, wake up, that’s how the average Mosotho survives, to assimilate they must become whatever they are surrounded by, so news flash, they are only Basotho in lesotho, in southafrica or wherever they blend in, speak whatever language is dominant in that town, and well act the part cos god knows their survival depends on it.

    Do we report that? Please, one broadcaster is my rebuddle, one broadcaster for a whole nation. Ooh don’t get me started on this debacle. They cover news in Maseru cos there is no manpower. No branches across the nation. Oh and whatever do we do about professor shakes on the camera, with the most unsteady hands on the planet, and what of the sound? It really is the worst thing to watch, the one fucking chanell with the worst picture and sound. You have 13 year old apple phone camera vloggers with better content, picture quality and sound on youtube than lesothos national broadcasters, they should be ashamed.

    There was a time when the chanell would go to sleep, cos there was no content, but I can tell you for free you have qualified cinematographers, directors, screen writers actors anRd you know film crew, but where is the film here? Dololo? Why we are busy paying tax money to send people on holiday in New York to watch the fucking lakers, front row seat cos, you gots to represent.

    Dut you will never know because lesotho has silenced the artists. They are the canaries in the coal mines, first to die in this toxic land. Musicians, where? You have LMRA, who clearly decided to ditch the titanic, the scheme to collect royalties and license Lesotho music is still buffering, like their recent activity updates still too buffering since 2017. Functions? They get paid six thousand to split between four people, please. Then you have international artists demanding 60 000 and more for a 30 minute set at the end of the night. No local draws no local main acts. Think about the math, how many festival does Lesotho have throughout the year? And at ten thousand a gig, what of the next 11 months with mo royalties to keep you going. Fucking think about it, you are playing their music for free on radio stations, on the one channel, so tell me, how do they shoot the next music video, how do they fund a local and international tour. Worse yet, Lesotho has laws with so many loopholes musicians cannot protect copy law, so there on the street is a knock off cd of a work that took years to create and a lifetime of experiences to write from. Lesotho’s cruelty knows no bounds, seriously fucking round of applause for fucking your people over.

    The infrastructure is in shambles, really, with 30 % left in the country and the rest of the competent labour gone! no wonder you don’t have the machinery to build this country. Let’s look at Maseru boarder for gods sake, drive in and everyone’s father is driving a taxi, there are plastic stalls till the tip of the earth, with everyone’s daddy driving a yellow taxi. Then drive up and it’s an old town, with houses facing every which way. Get to town and it’s small broad buildings eating up space. Building facing everywhere, who planned this city huh? And where the bloody hell are the roads cos the cars they are there, and all of them on this one road. It really looks like all of Lesotho is in Maseru. And the litter is everywhere. No one thought to lay new roads? Plan better towns? What streets, good lucking using GPRS.

    Who made those cars? What market did we sell out to? And why are we still importing cars when there are no fucking roads? Hmm?

    I can’t go on anymore so let me summarize it for you in a short scenario, shit faced graduates high school, applies for manpower, graduates with a masters, works two years for free, mean while he can barely maintain a relationship cos he cannot afford a car, so he sleeps around with anyone really who can look past his bank balance, he lives with mom and dad who want him gone but he can’t leave the house, he is depressed, he finally gets paid but it’s peanuts, he can’t afford to take his girl on dates, but even if he did, there are so few festivals to attend through out the year, can’t take her to restaurants cos he can’t afford to, and there are so few that survive the harsh economy, so she nags him, and now he’s mad, he gives back to work, talk shit about tom dick and harry, so the work environment is fucked, he decides fuck it I’m going to swindle the money, he robs the government, and well everyone is doing it so might as well join the ranks, now he is cocky, so he sleeps with these girls, gets HIV then aids, gets on arvs and starts all over again.

    Lesotho is not the fucking mountains, it’s not the valleys, not the hills and terrain. It’s the people and they are the most brutalized nation on the the face of the plane, they never stood a chance because no one has fucking vision. It’s not forgotten, it’s dead, someone broke the chain, and it all came tumbling down. You ruined us, you left us the carcass that is this country. Fuck the spelling, fuck the grammar, you sold us out for 30%

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