MASERU — Mothae Diamond Mine says it has so far recovered 2 101.72 carats since operations resumed last June.
The 2 101.72 carats were recovered from the 89 928 dry tonnes that were mined at the Mothae kimberlite.
The mine said the value of the diamonds that had been mined so far would only be determined after the first tender which is expected to be held during the first quarter of next year.
Mothae is a joint venture between the Canadian-listed Lucara Diamond Corporation and the government of Lesotho.
Lucara holds 75 percent stake in the mine with the government of Lesotho holding the remaining 25 percent.
In a statement released last Thursday, Lucara said it was satisfied with the results of the trial mining programme.
“These early results are very encouraging for the potential of Mothae mine.
“There are very few new diamond mines coming into production to meet the growing demand for quality diamonds,” said William Lamb, Lucara’s chief executive.
The company said it recovered a 53.53 carat stone during the first week of operation in June.
An additional 77.65 carats were recovered from 1 592 dry tonnes of the F domain kimberlite.
The total carats that have so far been recovered during the trial mining phase have been set at 2 179.38.
The mine has to date recovered nine stones with weights between 10 and 20 carats as well as diamonds weighing between two and 10 carats.
The three top stones that have been recovered so far are a 53.53 stone and two other large stones weighing in at 37.24 carats and 20.26 carats respectively.
Lucara said tests results indicate that a significant proportion of the large stones that have been recovered were found to be Type II stones which are said to be the rarest in the world.
“Mothae continues to deliver great results with the coarse nature of the diamonds being recovered.
“The recovery of the 53 carat Type II diamond from the first 3 000 processed confirms our belief that Mothae will generate some of the rarest diamonds in the world,” Lamb said.
Letšeng Diamonds remains Lesotho’s only mine that is in full production with the rest of the other mines such as Kao in the trial phase.
Kao Mine recently sold a total of 6 298 carat diamonds recovered from its kimberlite operations which achieved an average price of US$340 per carat.
Lesotho has one of the most highly concentrated kimberlitic pipes.